Full list of changes unpaid carers must report to the DWP – or risk losing benefits and being taken to court | The Sun

IF you claim Carer's Allowance, there's a list of changes you need to tell the DWP about or risk payments being stopped.

Those who receive benefits often need to inform the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) if their circumstances change.

This can mean your benefits will either increase or reduce, or you may get another benefit on top of what you're receiving.

Not telling the DWP about your circumstances changing could result in you paying a hefty fine and even being taken to court.

If you, or someone in your household, claims Carer's Allowance, there are circumstances that you do need to declare.

We have the full list of things you need to tell the DWP about below.


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Though bear in mind this only counts Carer's Allowance – not telling the DWP about your circumstances changing if you're on other benefits could also get you in trouble.

If you aren't sure what you need to tell the DWP about, do get in touch with them and they'll explain.

What do I need to inform the DWP about if I get Carer's Allowance?

You need to tell the DWP:

  • If you're starting a job
  • If you're starting or ending full-time education
  • Any changes to your income
  • If you're stopping being a carer
  • If the person you care for no longer getting their disability benefit
  • If someone else who cares for the same person claiming Carer’s Allowance instead of you
  • If someone else who cares for the same person claims the carer’s element of Universal Credit
  • If there are changes to your immigration status, if you’re not a British citizen

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What if I temporarily stop providing care for someone?

You can still get Carer’s Allowance if you temporarily stop providing care.

This means any period when you spend less than 35 hours a week caring for the other person.

The person you care for must still receive their disability benefit.

You must tell DWP if you temporarily stop providing care and:

  • you or the person you care for will be in hospital, a nursing home, or respite care for more than 12 weeks
  • you stop caring for more than 28 days for any other reason

Who is eligible for Carer's Allowance?

You could be eligible for Carer's Allowance if you care for someone for at least 35 hours a week.

To qualify, the person you care for must already get one of these benefits:

  • Personal Independence Payment – daily living component
  • Disability Living Allowance – the middle or highest care rate
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the normal maximum rate with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at the basic (full day) rate with a War Disablement Pension
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment

You don't have to be related to the person or live with them to apply.

But if you share caring responsibilities with someone else, only one of you can claim.

The type of care you provide can vary, but includes things such as helping with washing or cooking, taking the person to medical appointments or helping out with household tasks such as shopping or organising bills.

To get the benefit, you must also meet a certain set of criteria:

  • you must be 16 or over
  • you have to spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone
  • you need to have been in England, Scotland or Wales for at least two of the last three years (this does not apply if you’re a refugee or have humanitarian protection status)
  • you must normally live in England, Scotland or Wales or live abroad as a member of the armed forces (you might still be eligible if you’re moving to or already living in an EEA country or Switzerland)
  • you cannot be in full-time education
  • you must not be studying for 21 hours a week or more
  • you cannot be subject to immigration control

You will also have to meet certain earnings criteria in order to get the benefit.

How much can I earn and get Carer's Allowance?

Generally, your earnings need to be £132 or less a week after tax, National Insurance and expenses in order to qualify.

But if your earnings are sometimes more than this a week you might still be eligible if your average earnings are below the threshold.

To calculate your earnings, you need to add up any income from employment or self-employment and then deduct tax, National Insurance and expenses.

Your expenses can be quite significant and can include:

  • 50% of your pension contributions
  • Any equipment you need to do your job, such as specialist clothing
  • Travel costs between different workplaces that are not paid for by your employer
  • Business costs if you’re self-employed, for example a computer you only use for work

You may also be able to include carer fees in your expenses for the time when you are at work.

If you pay someone to look after the disabled person or your children, you can treat costs that are less than or equal to 50 per cent of your earnings as an expense.

The carer must not be your spouse, partner, parent, child or sibling.

You can find out more about what counts as earnings and what is excluded on the gov.uk website.

How do I claim Carer's Allowance?

You can apply online for Carer's Allowance on the gov.uk website.

You can also claim by post by printing the form here and returning it to the address printed on it.

What other benefits could I get?

Anyone can check if they are eligible for benefits like Carer's Allowance using a simple calculator tool.

Benefits are not just for those out of work and millions of people in work get Universal Credit to top up their income.

Entitledto's free calculator works out whether you qualify for various benefits, tax credits and Universal Credit.

If you run out of time to complete the form in one go you can save your results and come back later but you will need to sign in or register.

You can do this using Facebook, Google or by setting up an Entitledto account.

If you don't want to register, consumer group MoneySavingExpert.com and charity StepChange both have benefits tools powered by Entitledto's data that let you save your results without logging in.

Instead, you're provided with a unique code to note down and use when you want to revisit the questionnaire.

You will also find benefit calculators from Turn2Us and Policy in Practice.

Any calculator you use will give you an idea of what you could get, but you'll then have to make a claim for the benefit itself.

Can I get benefits backdated?

It is possible to get some benefits backdated if you found out you’ve missed out on claiming for them.

But it depends on which benefit you’re making a claim for, as different benefits have different rules for back payment.

For example, new claims for Universal Credit, income support and housing benefit can be backdated for a maximum of one month.

You can get child benefit, pension credit backdated for up to three months. 

But in most cases, you’ll have to provide evidence to show a good reason why you were not able to make a claim earlier.

This could be because:

  • You have a disability
  • You’re unwell 
  • The online claims system was down
  • You’re making a new claim after breaking up with your partner

You can apply to backdate your benefit payments when applying for the benefit.

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How to do this will vary depending on which benefit you’re claiming for, so it’s worth checking in for more information from the government before putting in your application.

You can request your benefits to be backdated by writing to the Department for Work and Pensions, HMRC or your local council.

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