BENEFITS EXPERT: Working mum and carer gets UC but who needs more help
Q. I currently work 16 hours/week at national minimum wage, I have a child aged 11 in education and receive Universal Credit as a top up for wages and my rent.
I also look after an elderly relative and was wondering if any help is available to me. I cannot claim Carer’s Allowance due to my earnings and reducing my hours of work so I’ll be below the earnings requirement for Carer’s Allowance is not an option. Is there additional help in this situation.
A. Universal Credit dies include a Carer’s Element if you provide unpaid care for a severely disabled person. You do not have to receive Carer’s Allowance to have the additional element include in your UC calculation. The person you provide care for must be severely disabled i.e. they must be getting either middle or higher rate DLA care component, standard or enhanced Personal Independence Payments for care/daily living or low or high rate Attendance Allowance. You must also show you are providing regular and substantial caring responsibilities for the person you look after, in practice this means you spend at least 35 hours/week or more looking after the person in question. If there is more than one carer and the other carer also gets UC then the Carer’s element can only be paid to one person, it cannot be apportioned or shared.
We would also recommend you check the benefits position of the person you provide care for as claiming the addition may cause them to lose some or all of their benefits as they may be receiving the Severe Disability Premium and could thus be worse off.