Home Finance Carer’s Allowance offers ‘minimal' £1.63 per hour for Britons caring 50 hours...

Carer’s Allowance offers ‘minimal' £1.63 per hour for Britons caring 50 hours per week

Experts are calling for “more adequate” financial support for people looking after vulnerable loved ones as the Carer’s Allowance benefit offers ‘minimal’.

Just over 1.5 million people in England are estimated to be providing more than 50 hours of care for loved ones while claiming just £81.90 per week in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Carer’s Allowance benefit.

For those providing the minimum 35 hours of care to qualify for the benefit, the hourly rate amounts to just over £2.34. However, for those who provide the most care, this drops to just £1.63 per hour at 50 hours.

To be eligible for the Carer’s Allowance, people must be earning less than £151 per week after tax, National Insurance and expenses.

Those who earn anything more are stripped of the benefit, in a move that’s been criticised most recently by Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis.

Analysing ONS and Census data, stairlift and home lift company Stannah found the North East – home to cities like Newcastle and Durham – is worst affected, with 3.4 percent of the overall population providing more than 50 hours of care each week.

This is closely followed by the North West – with the likes of Liverpool and Manchester – where 3.1 percent of the population give the highest level of unpaid care.

London and the South East rank lowest on the list, with 2.3 percent and 2.4 percent of the population, respectively, providing more than 50 hours of unpaid care.

Commenting on the findings, Kate Sheehan, occupational therapist at Stannah said: “Carers do some of the most valuable work in our country, often to the detriment of their own health.

“They enable those they love to enjoy their last years in their own homes, doing the activities they want or choose to do, whilst often managing complex health issues.

“Not only are carers physically looking after a relative, friend or neighbour, but they will often have to consider the adaptations that need to be made in a home for someone with changing physical and cognitive needs, all while trying to lead their own life.”

Ms Sheehan continued: “Whilst the financial support currently on offer to carers provides some minimal support, it is vital that they are provided with adequate financial support, which will reduce an area of stress in their lives and help to prevent caregiver burnout.”

Working with Stannah, a financial wellbeing expert at caba Lee Melling shares his advice for carers in England about their benefit entitlement. Mr Melling explained: “While the benefits system can be complicated and legislation is often changing, there is financial support available for unpaid carers.

“Depending on your personal circumstances, you might be eligible for more support than you realise, helping you manage stress and get the financial support you’re entitled to.

“From Carer’s Allowance, Universal Credit and Pension Credit to Housing Benefit and reductions in Council Tax, there are several benefits that can be claimed depending on your circumstances.”

Millions of pounds are currently going unclaimed in financial support from the Government. A new analysis by Policy in Practice found the total amount of unclaimed welfare benefits increased to £22.7billion this year, up from £19billion last year.

People who are unsure what support is available can use the Turn2us and Policy Practice benefit calculators to find out more.


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