Expert event - carers (15 to 19 June): Hello During... - Mencap

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Expert event - carers (15 to 19 June)

Sarah_Mencap
Sarah_MencapAdministrator

Hello

During Learning Disability Week (15 June to 19 June 2020) we were joined by Elizabeth from Carers UK to answer questions, and share stories, about caring.

This topic is now closed, but please read Elizabeth's posts for advice and information for anything to do with caring and welfare benefits.

If you want to post about caring (or anything else) please just write a brand new post - healthunlocked.com/mencap/w...

Best wishes

Sarah

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Hello everyone.

My name is Elizabeth and I’m one of the advisers at Carers UK. I’m really looking forward to joining you all next week for this ‘ask the expert’ event for carers.

I’m one of the benefits specialist advisers at Carers UK. I know how tricky and complex the benefits system can be for carers, so I’ll be really happy to answer any questions this week about benefits/financial support, and I’ll be posting some information and tips during the week.

Of course, there’s more to being a carer than just benefits, so if you have questions about another aspect of caring (i.e. assessments and support in the community), please do ask and myself or one of my colleagues will do our best to help.

I look forward to sharing the week with you all and saying hello soon.

Hi Elizabeth

I have a daughter she over 19-year-old she got severe autism and learning difficulties she not able to speak she used to go to Respite nearly 1 year but they don’t look after her properly if we choosing for her resident Care Home how can we know which resident Care Home good for her before apply resident Care home we to able to see Resident Care Home hopefully you help me I need your advice can we choose right care home for her .thank you very much

Hello

Sarbjitpahal11

Thank you for getting in touch with your questions, and I am sorry to hear that you have had a bad experience in the past with providers of your daughters care, and can completely appreciate that you would like to know more about the standard and quality of any residential cares homes that you may be considering to provide care to your daughter in the future as it is such an important decision for you all.

As Community Care is not my field of expertise, I have asked one of my colleagues for their input so I may come back to you in near future which I hope is ok.

In the mean time on the Carers UK website we have a section about finding different types of care for the person you are supporting, a good starting point could be your local council/trust as they should be able to provide you with a list of residential care homes in the area, and should also be able to advise on suitable residential care homes within your budget (if they are helping with the cost) or the budget of the person you are looking after if they are paying themselves.

You can search for residential care homes on the following websites:

•Which? Care Services Directory enables you to search online for residential care homes anywhere in the UK

•in England the Care Quality Commission is the social care regulator and has an online directory of registered residential care homes

•in Wales the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales is responsible for inspecting social care services and has an online directory of registered residential care homes

•in Scotland the Care Inspectorate regulates and inspects care services and has an online directory of registered residential care homes

•in Northern Ireland the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority is the social care regulator and has an online directory of registered residential care homes

Age UK have produced some really helpful information about how to choose a residential care home, which provides some clear pointers about what to look for and will help you to be able to make your decision: ageuk.org.uk/information-ad...

I have also noticed that there is information from Mencap which has a list of frequently asked questions about housing options for disabled people available here: mencap.org.uk/advice-and-su... this includes information about residential homes and funding which you may find useful to read.

I hope this is helpful as a starting point and if my colleague comes back with anything to add I will post a follow up answer for you.

Kind regards,

Elizabeth

Dear Elizabeth

Thanks you very much very helpful

Please if you got more information let me know thank you very much

Kind regards

Mr Pahal

Dear Mr Pahal

My colleague Priya, has come back to me with the following suggestions which build on my post yesterday to you.

She suggests Using Which Services Directory which.co.uk/later-life-care... as a starting point to search for local care homes in your area, or whichever area you choose.

When you visit the homes and before doing so you should:

1.Check with the Care Quality Commission whether the home has been investigated - this will show whether the home has a good rating and also whether there is anything she should be concerned about

2.When you visit the home - ask to speak with staff there and also some residents - this will give you an idea of what the people are like that could be potentially looking after your daughter. It will also give you the opportunity to speak with residents (if possible) to see how they like it there

3. When visiting keep an eye out in the home - what is it like? are there activities for residents? is there a communal area for people to socialise?

You should also seek advice from social services as they can also advise you on the best possible options for your daughter.

You can put forward you own suggestions for care homes for social services to consider - this is your right under S30 Care Act 2014 - this says that if a local authority is going to meet the needs of someone by providing accommodation and the adult expresses a preference for a particular accommodation - the local authority must provide or arrange for the provision of the preferred accommodation. This basically means you can put forward your suggestions for care homes and the local authority will have to consider it and not reject it straight away.

On a last note It may be worth addressing the issue with respite care – you should to make a note of what did not work there so you can mention this to any residential home you look at.

I hope this further information is useful.

Elizabeth.

Dear Elizabeth

Thank you very much this is really helpful God bless you

Thanks

Mr Pahal

You are very welcome, I am happy you are going to find it of use.

Elizabeth

Sarah_Mencap
Sarah_MencapAdministrator

Hello Elizabeth

It lovely to have you here. Thank you for joining us.

Cheers

Sarah

Hi again.

I have been having a look at the Carers Uk website. Really good, it has got me thinking.

Ok, I can’t decide if I am getting muddled. Is a carers assessment separate from the assessment my young child (with ld) had already had from the council. I remember being asked questions about me but I am not sure I realised this might have been a carers assessment. Should I have seen a document with this on that says what I need to help me as a carer (I am getting more comfortable with that word, particularly if it helps us get more support).

Also, would my partner have a separate carers assessment (we all live together and sharing the care of both our children between us).

Adam

CarersUK_AdviceTeam
CarersUK_AdviceTeamExpert
in reply to Adam1975

Hi Adam,

It can indeed be very muddling, even more so as each of the four nations uses different terminology. I am guessing you are in England but please correct me if I am wrong.

In England, a parent carer is someone over 18 who provides care to a disabled child for whom they have parental responsibility.

The Children and Families Act 2014 amends the Children Act 1989 requiring local councils to assess parent carers on the appearance of need or where an assessment is requested by the parent. This is called a parent carers needs assessment.

This assessment can be combined with one for the disabled child, and could be carried out by the same person at the same time. If it has been a while since the last visit from the council, or if your child now has a need for more help and support than before then it might be appropriate to ask for another visit and clarify what assessments are being carried out.

The local council must also be satisfied that the child and their family come within the scope of the Children's Act, ie that the child is a child in need (see below).

The local council must then assess:

•whether a parent carer has needs for support and what those needs are

•whether it is appropriate for the parent to provide, or continue to provide, care for the disabled child, in the light of the parent's needs for support, other needs and wishes

Parent carers' needs assessment must also consider:

•the wellbeing of the parent carer

•the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child cared for, and any other child for whom the parent carer has parental responsibility

Wellbeing has the same meaning as applies to adult carers of adults, as well has the assessment process you can read more about this in the Carers UK assessments factsheet available here; carersuk.org/images/Factshe...

For your partner, you are absolutely spot on as your partner is also providing care and support to your child they will be able to have a Carers Assessment. More of which you can read about here: carersuk.org/help-and-advic...

Rather than to have three assessments carried out at once, it might be better to see if the council will consider carrying them out at different times. This will mean that everyone has a chance to explain their needs and then that of your child individually. – They can of course be carried out together if you felt that would be the best way forward for you as a family.

After any assessment you should have a copy of the assessment and the outcome, so if your last one was not carried out so long ago say less than a year I would advise getting in touch with who carried it out and asking for a copy for your file.

I hope you also have a chance to visit the Contact website as it has a wealth of supoprt information available as well :contact.org.uk/

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,

Elizabeth.

Good morning everyone,

We’ll be focusing on Carer’s Allowance today. Carer’s Allowance is one of the main benefits for unpaid carers. We have information on our website about Carer’s Allowance, including details on eligibility criteria and the claims process, which can be found at: carersuk.org/help-and-advic... .

Are you unsure if you could apply for Carer’s Allowance, or have a question about how to claim? Please post your questions below and I’ll be happy to answer them.

Hello Elizabeth

I hope this is the right sort of question. I don’t get Carers Allowance, but wonder if I should. It says you have to care for 35 hours a week – this seems very hard to measure. The sort of thing I end up doing is less about personal care, it is more about supporting. Yesterday I spent most of my day making sure my daughter (adult) was occupied. We cooked meals together, went for walk, I reminded her to have a shower and take medication. Does this count as caring? She couldn’t do any of these without me there. Thanks Grace

Hello Grace,

Thank you for your question and it absolutely is the right kind of question to ask as knowing as what can count as care for Carers Allowance is not set down in legislation.

When you make a claim for Carers Allowance there are a number of criteria that have to be met more of which you can read about on our website here, including how to claim and other things to consider when making a claim for Carers Allowance:

carersuk.org/help-and-advic...

One of which, as you have identified is that you must be provided 35 hours a week of more care to person in receipt of an appropriate award of a disability benefit such as Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Attendance Allowance (AA)

What normally counts as care and support for Carers Allowance within the 35 hours of care provided provision, includes things like;

•time spent physically helping or prompting the person

•time you spend ‘keeping an eye’ on the person, eg preventing them coming to harm by walking out of the house

•time spent doing practical tasks for them, eg cooking, taking them to hospital appointments and so on (or in your case this could be time spent together cooking)

•time taken doing practical tasks, even if you don’t do them in the presence of the person you are looking after, may also count (for instance, if you look after someone who visits you regularly for the care they need, time spent preparing for the visit or cleaning up afterwards should count)

You must provide 35 hours of care for every week you claim Carer’s Allowance (the 35 hours can be at any time of the day or night). For Carer’s Allowance, a week runs from Sunday to Saturday.

It is worth also knowing that during the COVID-19 pandemic, new measures (from 30 March) allow unpaid carers to continue to claim Carer’s Allowance if they have a temporary break in caring, because they or the person they care for gets Coronavirus or if they have to isolate because of it.

The government has also confirmed that providing emotional support counts towards the Carer’s Allowance threshold of 35 hours of care a week across the UK

So, in answer to your initial enquiry, Grace it sounds if the kind of support you are providing to your daughter would fit into the ‘what counts as care’ category and should be counted as part of the 35 hours a week caring provision.

If you are not sure if you are reaching the 35 hours needed, sometimes keeping a simple daily diary of time spent supporting your daughter will be a useful rough guide as a means to measure how much care and supoprt you are providing.

I hope this helps, if you have any further questions please let me know as I am popping in and out of the forum until Friday.

Kind regards.

Elizabeth

Hello. My mum has taken on pretty much full time caring for my brother (46) during coronavirus. All his support has been cancelled and we don’t know when that will start again (or what format that will take).

So for the last 3+ months my mum has been doing everything. Could she apply for Carers Allowance in the short term?

Also, she is a pensioner – can you still applu?

Thanks Jo

CarersUK_AdviceTeam
CarersUK_AdviceTeamExpert
in reply to jow2319

Hello

Jo,

The last few months sound like they have been a difficult time for you all as a family and hopeful as lockdown eases bit by bit your brother will become more supported again. It could be worth someone getting in touch with the service providers to see if/or when they know how they are going to be operating moving forward as so many things have changed in the last couple of weeks. and are continuing to do so day by day.

In terms of your initial question, yes a claim can be made for Carers Allowance to cover a short term caring arrangement and it can also be backdated for up to three months at the time of application only, as long as it can be shown that the eligibility criteria for Carers Allowance has been met throughout the previous three month period.

There are a couple of things that need to be mentioned in your case especially if your mother is receiving her State Retirement Pension, let me explain more;

Carer Allowance is not a means tested benefit and is currently paid at a rate of £67.25 per week. You may be eligible for Carers Allowance if you meet the following conditions:

• You look after someone who gets a qualifying disability benefit (Disability Living Allowance at either the middle or highest rate for personal care needs; the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (at either rate);

• You look after that person for at least 35 hours a week

• You are aged 16 or over;

• You are not in full-time education;

• You earn £128 a week (after deductions) or less;

• You satisfy the UK residence and presence conditions (i.e. you has lived in the UK for 2 out of the last 3 years)

• You are not receiving an ‘overlapping’ benefit (such as State Retirement Pension or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance)

As you will have read, in order to receive Carers Allowance you must be caring for someone in receipt of a disability benefit, as I am not sure if your brother is receiving such a benefit I have included a link to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) which would be the appropriate disability benefit for your brother to claim. carersuk.org/help-and-advic...

You will also have reads that you must not be in receipt of a State Retirement Pension (and this is the complicated bit) as when a person reaches State Pension Age they can no longer claim and be paid the benefit Carer’s Allowance if their State Pension amount is more than Carer's Allowance. (£67.25 a week).

However a person can have or retain what is called the underlying entitlement (ULE) to Carer's Allowance.

This means that if Carer's Allowance is being paid when a person reaches State Pension age it will stop, or if new claim for Carer's Allowance is made once State retirement is on payment, a letter will sent out stating that although you meet all the conditions for the benefit, you cannot be paid it. The letter then provides a purpose of being a certificate of underlying entitlement to the benefit.

The “underlying entitlement” (ULE) of Carer’s Allowance is when a person fulfils all the criteria for Carer’s Allowance but can’t be paid the actual benefit itself, due to the overlapping benefit rules. It is not that Carer's Allowance can only be paid to people in work. This is due to the fact that Carer's Allowance and the State Pension are both known as "work replacement" entitlements. One replaces work due to having a caring role, and one replaces work due to retirement. Because of this both cannot be paid at the same time.

This ULE means that a “Carer’s Premium/Carer Element" of up to £37.50 per week can be used to increase any means tested benefits that you might get such as Pension Credit or Housing Benefit and so on. The carer’s premium/carers element is not a standalone benefit and does not pay any money directly. It just means that it can increase the amount of means tested benefits that someone may be entitled to. If this was appropriate I would suggest that a welfare benefit check was carried out. Please get back in touch if you would like to know further details about having one.

There is further information about the eligibility criteria here for Carers Allowance: carersuk.org/help-and-advic...

Currently the easiest and quickest way to make a claim for Carers Allowance is online and you can make the application here: gov.uk/carers-allowance-unit

I hope this is helpful and I am afraid it is not straight forward but please let me know if you need anymore information or more details on how to have a welfare benefit check.

On a last note you may all as a family find the Carers UK Looking After Someone Guide useful to read through, it cover a range of practical, emotional and financial help that is available to carers – for which you do not need to be receiving Carers Allowance for to be able to access:

carersuk.org/help-and-advic...

Kind regards,

Elizabeth.

Hi. Can you claim this if your child is under 18. Surely I would be looking after them anyway? I don't really consider myself to be a carer, just a parent.

CarersUK_AdviceTeam
CarersUK_AdviceTeamExpert
in reply to Adam1975

Hi Adam,

A lot of people don’t consider themselves to be carers, especially parents as we just sort of get on with it. :) I really like this definition from the charity Mind: ‘You are a carer if you provide (unpaid) support and care for someone who has an illness, disability, mental health problem or addiction. ... Being someone's carer probably only describes part of your relationship with them. You may also be a parent, partner, sister, brother, child, friend or other family member.’

The charity Contact who support families with disabled children have a section of help and support available to carers of disabled children available on their website, as well as information about local and online support that you and the rest f your family might like to access : You can read more about the work they do and services they offer here which you might find useful: contact.org.uk/

Back to your original question - A parent, guardian or carer can claim Carers Allowance for looking after a child/young person under the age of 18 with long term disabilities of health problems if the following circumstances apply:

Firstly the child/young person needs to be in receipt of an appropriate level disability benefit such as Disability Living Allowance (DLA) if they are under16 at the time of claim and have had a need for care, attention or supervision for at least three months, and be likely to need this care, attention or supervision for a further six months: carersuk.org/help-and-advic...

Or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) if they are aged 16 or over at the time of claim and have satisfied the eligibility tests of someone with a need for care, attention or supervision for at least three months and be likely to continue to satisfy the tests for at least nine months after the three month qualifying period : carersuk.org/help-and-advic...

These disability benefits are not linked to having a formal diagnosis, they are based on the fact that a child/young person has care, support, supervision and or mobility needs over and above a child/young person of a similar age of which they require help and support for.

The benefits are assessed against some formal criteria and if thinking about making a claim it is always good practice to collect and supporting medical, educational or support network evidence to submit with the claim. The links above provide further information about the eligibility criteria, claim process etc of these benefits but if you have any further questions specific your situation please let me know and I can help further while I am here.

Secondly, in order to claim Carers Allowance, as well as the person you are caring for receiving a qualifying disability benefit (as above) you must also meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

•you look after someone who gets a qualifying disability benefit

•you look after that person for at least 35 hours a week (during Covid19, providing emotional support counts toward this)

•you are aged 16 or over

•you are not in full-time education

•you don’t earn over £128 a week (554.66 a month (after allowable deductions)

•you satisfy UK presence and residence conditions

•You are not in receipt of an overlapping benefit such as State Retirement Pension or Contribution Based ESA.

There is further information about Cares Allowance and to claim available here: carersuk.org/help-and-advic...

I hope this helpful.

Kind regards,

Elizabeth

I should like to campaign for a National Care Service to run parallel with the NHS free at the point of delivery. The structures we have now are well past their sell by date. Any ideas ? Aisha

Sarah_Mencap
Sarah_MencapAdministrator
in reply to PurpleWhiteGreen

hi

Thanks for your post. I will ask my campaigns and policy colleagues to see if they have any advice or if there is any work already underway.

Best wishes

Sarah

Dear Sarah.

Awhile back I posted a very heartfelt post about getting voluntary work when you're disabled and you said you'd get back to me and I promised to stop using the words you didn't like (that'll remind you who I am!)

But you never did.

If any of your experts know anything about how to get able-bodied idiots to wrap their heads around someone disabled possibly Actually Being Able to Help Out, I'd love to know. The last 3 vol. positions I looked at with my housing officer (she's lovely!) were just before lockdown. We went together to where the positions were, just to test the water, and she told me honestly she'd felt such a high level of 'fear' was the word she used, towards the disabled people there, she didn't think there was any point in me even trying, they'd always find some reason to say 'no'.

Thing is this has been going on for 20 years now and I'm tired of having no life just because I'm an ugly bar steward, basically. Gets a bit grating!

Yours respectfully

Chris.

Sarah_Mencap
Sarah_MencapAdministrator
in reply to ulrichburke

Hello Chris

I am glad you have posted on the community again. I remember your passionate post about the attitudes you faced when trying to volunteer.

I did raise your questions with our volunteering team during volunteer week. Here is the response:

healthunlocked.com/mencap/p...

Please do get in touch with our volunteering team if you would like to see if there are any volunteering opportunities that you are interested in at Mencap . This is there contact form here - mencap.org.uk/contact/volun...

This expert event is all about being a carer, not volunteering, so please could you write a new post or message me directly.

Many thanks

Sarah

Good morning on day 2 of the Carers UK ’ask the expert’ event.

Today we’ll be focusing on what are often referred to as disability benefits, including Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA). We have more information about these at: carersuk.org/help-and-advic...

If you have a question about the benefits that you or the person you care for receive, we will be more than happy take any questions. Just post your questions below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Hello. Who can you take with you to a PIP health assessment? My friend had one cancelled during lockdown but is expecting another invite. Very worried about this. Can I go with them as support/advocate?

CarersUK_AdviceTeam
CarersUK_AdviceTeamExpert
in reply to Freddy44

Hi Freddy44

I can completely understand both your friends and your concerns, so hopefully the fact that yes your friend can take someone with them into the actual PIP face to face assessment if they’re 16 or over will be of help.

Who they can take could be anyone who makes them feel more comfortable, like a friend, relative or carer. If they (your friend) give(s) permission, they can also take part in discussions and take notes for them.

The DWP did announce that they were suspending all face to face assessments for PIP until the 19th June 2020 and currently what is happening after this date has not yet been confirmed.

(but this could change any day)

Therefore in order to be best prepared and so you can both know what to expect, you and your friend might find reading this section on the Citizens Advice website about preparing for a PIP assessment useful to go through. It covers things like getting ready for the day, what to take with you and what you can expect. You can find the page here: citizensadvice.org.uk/benef...

There is also a section about how your friend can claim travel expenses to the assessment and whit is included – but please note they will have to remember to ask for the claim form at the assessment centre reception on the day.

I hope this is helpful

.

Kind regards,

Elizabeth.

Sarah_Mencap
Sarah_MencapAdministrator

Hello Elizabeth

There is a question from Tickenham89

healthunlocked.com/mencap/p...

They ask -

Hello Elizabeth. My son is 40 and receives PIP & ESA along with a Personal Budget ( Direct Payments). He has a job with Tesco, 4 hours per week, as well. No tax is deducted. My concern is does he have to pay tax on this pool of money as I'm not sure if the first two are liable for tax.

Thank you

Hi Sarah - can you pass this to Tickenham89 please :)

Hi Tickenham89

Thank you for your question it is a one that has three different answers I am afraid.

The PIP your son receives is not counted for income tax purposes as it is considered by HMRC as a tax free disability benefit,

The ESA that you sons receives is classed by HMRC as an income replacement benefit so it is a taxable income but income tax would only need to be paid if all of your sons taxable income added together came to more than his personal tax allowance for the year which for most people of working age is currently £12,500 a year.

For the last part, if I have understood you correctly your son receives direct payments from his local authority to purchase care and support that he has been assessed as needing.

If this is the case then the direct payments given to purchase services to meet his needs are not counted as ‘income’ for any benefits he receives, and so would not affect any of his benefits. No is it counted as taxable income for HMRC purposes.

However, if your son is paying anyone else with their direct payments, then this would count as ‘earnings’ for them and might affect any benefits they receive.

Carers UK has a section on our website about Direct Payments including responsibilities to keep records and types of care that could be purchased which you may both find useful to read through, you can access it here: carersuk.org/help-and-advic...

And it is also worth knowing that HMRC have for income tax enquiries help available via different channels. You/he may find it useful to conact them directly if your sons combined taxable income is near to his taxable allowance - the contact details are here: gov.uk/government/organisat...

If I have understood the last part of your question wrongly please let me know and I can add some more information in as needed.

Hope this helps,

kind regards,

Elizabeth.

Thank you for this helpful information Elizabeth. I have two questions about today's subject -

What is Pension Credit please? My son has a small Tesco pension into which he contributes a small percentage of his monthly pay.

Also as far as I am aware he does not pay NIC so will he have any right to a State pension at retirement age?

Your willingness to help is appreciated as most of the time I don't really appreciate what is out there to support us parents who are trying to find the best way to support our special children, whatever their age.

Thank you

Hello again Tickenham,

Its great to see you have some more questions.

In answer to your first question, Pension Credit is a means-tested benefit for people who have reached 'state pension credit age' and who have income and capital below a certain amount.

Pension Credit has two parts: Guarantee Pension Credit and Savings Pension Credit.

Guarantee Pension Credit works by topping up your income to your ‘appropriate amount’ which is the amount the law says you need to live on.

Savings Pension Credit rewards people who have a second pension (or other income) or modest savings. It is paid if you or your partner are over State Pension age, but again your income and capital will affect the amount you get.

The maximum amounts per week are £13.97 for a single person or £15.62 for a couple, but not everyone who qualifies will get this much.

However you will not normally be eligible for this credit if you reach state pension age on or after 6th April 2016.

There is further information about this benefit here: carersuk.org/help-and-advic...

Pension Credit in both its forms is completely different to any private or occupational payment your son is making for his retirement through his Tesco pension.

In regard to your sons State Retirement Pension, if your son is receiving Income Based ESA he will receive class 1 National Insurance Credit automatically which go toward his state retirement pension and protecting his record even though he is not actually paying National Insurance on his Tesco income.

If your son would like to check his National insurance record - to see if he has any gaps or how many full years contributions he has accumulated so far, he can do so by registering and signing up here: gov.uk/check-national-insur...

I hope this is helpful.

Kind regards,

Elizabeth.

Hello everyone,

As the Welfare Benefits system can be such a minefield and building on from yesterday, if you are looking after or supporting someone it can be so easy to miss out on types of financial support that could be available. So I thought I would post some information about some of the Disability Benefits that are available, there is lot of things to consider so I have split them into three posts so please let me know if you have any questions.

Elizabeth

Let’s start with:

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

carersuk.org/help-and-advic...

If you are looking after a child with a health condition or disability who is under the age of 16 years then they may be entitled to Disability Living Allowance (DLA). This can help towards the extra costs of bringing up a disabled child.

DLA is not means tested so your financial circumstances will not be taken into account. DLA is also not taxable and does not reduce other benefits. In fact, it may even increase the amount of benefit you get, or help you to qualify for other benefits (such as Carer’s Allowance) and/ or tax credits.

Who can claim DLA?

For a child under the age of 16 years to qualify for DLA, they must meet all of the following criteria:

•they must need care, attention or supervision because of a physical or mental disability or health condition (and your child does not need to have an actual diagnosis)

•they must have needed this care, attention or supervision for at least three months, and be likely to need this care, attention or supervision for a further six months (you can make the claim before the three months have passed, but you will not receive any payment until they have)

•they must need substantially more care, attention or supervision than other children of the same age who do not have a disability or health condition

•they must have no immigration conditions attached to their stay in the UK subject to some exceptions (if they have immigration restrictions on their stay in the UK claiming benefits may affect their future right to remain in the UK, so seek specialist immigration advice before

•they must meet the residence and presence conditions

________________________________________

There are two components of DLA:

•care component – this can be paid at a lower, middle or higher rate - there is no lower age limit for claiming

•mobility component – this can be paid at a lower or higher rate - however the higher rate cannot be paid until the child is three years of age and the lower rate cannot be paid until the child is five years of age

For 2020/21 the weekly rates are:

Lower,Middle, Higher

Care component £23.60, £59.70 , £89.15

Lower, Higher, Mobility component £23.60, n/a, £62.25

The care component

The care component of DLA can be paid to a child who needs a lot of extra help with personal care, supervision or watching over. The help they need must be substantially more than the help needed by a child of the same age without a disability or health condition.

The lower rate care component is for children who need help in connection with their personal care for a significant portion of the day (which generally means at least an hour a day - although this does not necessarily have to be all at once).

The middle rate care component is for children that have either daytime or night-time needs (see explanation below). Special rules apply for some children undergoing renal dialysis at least twice per week.

The higher rate care component is for children who have both daytime and night-time needs (see explanation below). Your child will automatically get the higher rate if they are terminally ill.

________________________________________

To satisfy a daytime test your child must need one of the following:

•frequent (ie about three times or more) help with personal care throughout the day

•someone to check on them continually (ie frequently or regularly) throughout the day to make sure that they are safe

________________________________________

To satisfy a night-time test your child must need one of the following:

•help with personal care at least twice a night, or once a night for at least 20 minutes

•someone to check on them at least twice a night, or once a night for at least 20 minutes, to make sure that they are safe

________________________________________

Help with personal care needs include help with things like:

•dressing and undressing

•bathing and washing

•using the toilet

•getting in and out of a chair

•getting in and out of bed and sleeping

•walking

•communicating

•help with medication and treatment

•eating and drinking

•seeing (ie you need someone to see for you)

•breathing

A child is considered to need someone to check on them if they need to be checked on regularly during the day to avoid ‘substantial danger’ to themselves or others.

________________________________________

The mobility component

If your child needs help getting around they may qualify for the mobility component. You need to show that your child is unable or virtually unable to walk and/or needs substantially more guidance and supervision than a child of the same age without a disability or health condition.

The lower rate mobility component can be paid to a child from the age of five years. It is for children who can walk but who need extra guidance or supervision on unfamiliar routes outdoors.

The higher rate mobility component can be paid to a child from the age of three years. It is for children who are unable, or virtually unable to walk, or where the exertion required to walk would constitute a danger to their life or would be likely to lead to a serious deterioration in their health. Children can also qualify if they have a severe visual impairment, are both deaf and blind, or are severely mentally impaired.

________________________________________

Four factors are taken into account when deciding whether your child is virtually unable to walk. The test is whether their:

‘ability to walk out of doors is so limited, as regards to:

•the distance over which

•the speed at which

•the length of time for which or

•the manner in which

(they) can make progress on foot without severe discomfort, that (they are) virtually unable to walk.’

To qualify for the higher rate mobility component because of severe mental impairment, the child has to meet all the following criteria:

•be entitled to the higher rate care component of DLA

•suffer from a state of arrested development or incomplete physical development of the brain which results in severe mental impairment of intelligence or social functioning

•exhibit ‘disruptive behaviour’ which ‘is extreme’ and ‘regularly requires another person to intervene and physically restrain them to prevent them from causing injury to themselves or another, or damage to property’

•be so unpredictable that they require another person to watch over them whenever they are awake

How to claim DLA

England, Wales & Scotland

•call the Disability Living Allowance Helpline on 0800 121 4600 (textphone: 0800 121 4523)

•you can download a claim form here: gov.uk/government/publicati...

Northern Ireland

•call the Disability and Carers Service on 0800 587 0912 (textphone: 0800 012 1574)

•You can download a claim form here nidirect.gov.uk/articles/di...

If you ask for a claim form by phone, it should be stamped with the date of issue. This is the date from which the benefit will be paid if the claim is successful, providing you return the form within six weeks. If you are not able to complete the form by this date, please let them know and seek advice.

If you download the claim form or get one from a local advice agency the claim will start from the date the completed form is received.

Read the form and the notes that go with it before you start to complete the form. You can attach pages to the application form if you think there is not enough space to explain the help that your child needs. Remember to add your child's name and national insurance number to the extra pages.

There are special rules in places if the child/young person who you are claiming in behalf of is terminally ill,

Next is Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

If you have a long term illness or disability – physical and/or mental – and you are aged from 16 to below your state pension age, and not already getting DLA then you may be entitled to Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

PIP can be paid regardless of your income, savings or National Insurance contribution record and is a tax free benefit. You can get PIP even if you are working or studying. If you are a carer who has care needs, you can claim PIP for yourself and this will not affect your Carer’s Allowance.

Getting PIP does not reduce other benefits, it may even increase them. If you have a carer, claiming PIP may help them to qualify for certain benefits (such as Carers Allowance). PIP may also entitle you and/or your carer to further help with council tax.

There are no restrictions on how you can spend your PIP money, and you do not have to spend it on paying for the care that you need. However, your council or trust can take PIP into account when calculating how much you might need to pay for any care services.

________________________________________

Who can claim PIP?

To qualify for PIP you must meet all the following criteria:

•be aged from 16 to below your state pension age (or if you are being reassessed you were under 65 on 8th April 2013 in England, Wales & Scotland or were under 65 on 20th June 2016 in Northern Ireland)

•satisfy the daily living and/or mobility activities test

•have satisfied the tests for at least three months and be likely to continue to satisfy the tests for at least nine months after the three month qualifying period (you can make your claim before the three months have passed, but you will not receive any payment until they have)

•have no immigration conditions attached to your stay in the UK subject to some exceptions (if you have immigration restrictions on your stay in the UK claiming benefits may affect your future right to remain in the UK, so seek specialist immigration advice before claiming – you can search for immigration specialists here)

•meet the residence and presence conditions

There are two components of PIP:

•a daily living component

•a mobility component

Each component can be paid at either:

•standard rate – where your ability to carry out daily living/mobility activities is limited by your physical or mental condition.

•enhanced rate – where your ability to carry out daily living/mobility activities is severely limited by your physical or mental condition.

To be awarded the standard rate of the daily living component you have to score at least eight points from the ten activities that assess daily living (activities 1-10 - these are outlined in our PIP factsheet). To be awarded the enhanced rate of the daily living component you have to score at least 12 points from the ten activities that assess daily living.

To be awarded the standard rate of the mobility component you have to score at least eight points from the two activities that assess mobility (activities 11-12 - these are outlined in our PIP factsheet). To be awarded the enhanced rate of the mobility component you have to score at least 12 points from the two activities that assess mobility.

The Carers UK factsheet about PIP is available here: carersuk.org/help-and-advic...

For 2020/21 the weekly rates are:

Daily Living component - standard £59.70, enhanced £89.15

Mobility component- standard £23.60, enhanced £62.25

________________________________________

How to claim PIP

- this is done is stages.

Making an initial claim

The initial claim will generally be done by phone although paper claim forms are available in exceptional circumstances (form PIP1).

In England, Wales & Scotland

To start a new claim for PIP you should telephone the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on 0800 917 2222 (textphone 0800 917 7777).

In Northern Ireland

To start a new claim for PIP you should telephone the PIP Centre on 0800 012 1573 (textphone 0800 012 1574).

The phone call can be made by someone else but they will need to be with you. The phone call sets the date of the claim.

The information you will need for this phone call is:

•your full name and date of birth

•your address and telephone number

•your National Insurance number

•your bank or building society account details

•your GP or other health professional’s details

•details of any recent stays in hospitals, care home or hospices

•details of any time you’ve spent out of the country

•nationality or immigration status

•if you are terminally ill you will need to discuss your conditions during this initial claim

The DWP (PIP Centre in Northern Ireland) will then check basic eligibility conditions. If these are met an individually barcoded form is sent to you (How your disability affects you – form PIP2). If these are not met a disallowance letter is sent to you.

How your disability affects you (PIP2)

The form sent to you will ask for information about how your condition affects you. Additional evidence can be sent in with this form. On the form there is a section for ‘additional information’. In this section, carers, friends or family could also provide information. It does not have to be filled in if you feel like you have included everything in the rest of the form.

You have one month to return the completed ‘How your disability affects you’ form. Failure to return the form without good cause can result in the claim being terminated. If you are unable to complete the form within the given timescales you should contact the DWP (PIP Centre in Northern Ireland) by phone to ask for an extension. If the form has not been received and the DWP (PIP Centre in Northern Ireland) have identified that you need additional support you may be invited to a face-to-face consultation.

Completing the claim form

You could ask for help to complete the claim form from a local advice agency - you can find out about advice agencies in your area here by entering your postcode: advicelocal.uk/

•the form is long and complex so take your time to complete the claim form, and remember that you don’t have to complete it all in one go

•look at the 12 activities and work out which tests you satisfy before you fill in the form - it may be a good idea to get your carer to do the same to make sure that you don’t miss anything out

•what matters is whether you need the help, not whether you are already getting it

•if you are not sure about how much help you need, or how long things take, keep a diary for a week or so - this would be particularly useful with fluctuating conditions

•if you are applying for the ‘moving around’ activity (activity 12), do make a proper measurement of how far you can walk and how long it takes you to walk that far before you fill in the form

•evidence is important - it is a good idea to collect evidence and submit it either with the claim pack or as soon as you can afterwards - evidence might include a report from an occupational therapist or consultant, information from your doctor or a support worker, or a statement from a carer/friend/ family member

•keep a copy of your form and any evidence you send

.

Assessment

The form and any additional information are then sent to a health professional.

If there is enough information the assessment can be completed at this stage but most people will be asked to attend a face-to-face consultation.

Claimants will be encouraged to take someone along with them to the consultation.

Failure to attend the consultation without good cause can result in the claim being terminated.

The health professional then sends a report to the decision maker.

Again as with DLA there are special rules in places if the claimant is terminally ill.

Please let me know if you would like any further information about claiming PIP

Elizabeth.

And lastly for now Attendance Allowance. (AA)

Attendance Allowance is a benefit that helps with the extra costs of long-term illness or disability, which can be either physical and/or mental. It is for people over their state pension age.

Attendance Allowance isn't means-tested. This means it can be paid regardless of your income, savings or National Insurance contribution record and is a tax free benefit. If you are a carer who has care needs, you can claim Attendance Allowance for yourself and this will not affect your Carer’s Allowance. The person who is cared for may also be eligible for this benefit.

Getting Attendance Allowance does not reduce other benefits, it may even increase them. If you have a carer then claiming Attendance Allowance may help them to qualify for certain benefits (such as Carer's Allowance). Attendance Allowance may also entitle you and/ or your carer to further help with council tax.

There are no restrictions on how you can spend your Attendance Allowance, and you do not have to spend it on paying for the care that you need. However, your council or trust can take Attendance Allowance into account when calculating how much you might need to pay for any care services you receive.

Who can claim Attendance Allowance?

To qualify for Attendance Allowance you must meet all of the following criteria:

•be over your state pension age

•need help looking after yourself because you have a disability or illness

•have had the disability or illness for at least six months (you can make your claim before the six months have passed, but you will not receive any payment until they have)

•have no immigration conditions attached to your stay in the UK subject to some exceptions (if you have immigration restrictions on your stay in the UK claiming benefits may affect your future right to remain in the UK, so seek specialist immigration advice before claiming – you can search for immigration specialists here)

•meet the residence and presence conditions.

As with other disability benefits there If you are terminally ill there are simpler rules which make it easier to apply

How much is Attendance Allowance worth?

There are two weekly rates of Attendance Allowance. For 2020/21 these rates are:

Higher£89.15

Lower£59.70

You will be paid the higher rate of Attendance Allowance if you meet one of the following criteria:

•you satisfy both the daytime and night-time tests

•you are terminally ill (someone is classified as terminally ill if they are not expected to live longer than 6 months)

You will be paid the lower rate of Attendance Allowance if:

•you satisfy the daytime or night-time tests

Specific rules apply for some kidney patients undergoing renal dialysis at least 2 times per week.

Do I satisfy the tests for Attendance Allowance?

Attendance Allowance can be paid if you need help with your personal care or someone to check that you are ok. The legal term used for needing help with personal care is attention and the term used for needing someone to check on you is supervision – see below for more information.

Note: What matters is that you need either attention or supervision, not whether you are currently getting all the help that you need. So remember to think about the help you need, not just the help that you currently get.

Daytime test

To satisfy the daytime test you need to show that you reasonably need either one of the following:

•frequent help with personal care throughout the day (ie about three times or more)

•someone to check on you continually (ie frequently or regularly) throughout the day to make sure that you are safe

.

Night-time test

To satisfy the night-time test you need to show that you reasonably need either one of the following:

•help with personal care at least twice a night, or once a night for at least 20 minutes

•someone to check on you at least twice a night, or once a night for at least 20 minutes, to make sure that you are safe

.

If no-one is currently helping you with personal care you may be accepted as needing help if you have some difficulty coping.

If no-one is currently checking on you, you may still be accepted as needing supervision if you or another person may be placed in danger without it.

________________________________________

Attention - help with personal care

Personal care needs include help with things like:

•getting in and out of a chair

•bathing and washing

•dressing and undressing

•help with medication and treatment

•getting in and out of bed and sleeping

•communicating

•eating and drinking

•seeing (ie you need someone to see for you)

•breathing

•using the toilet

•walking

The help must usually be given in your presence. Here are some examples of the help you may need:

•you have arthritis which makes movement difficult - you need somebody to help you with daily activities such as getting in/out of bed, washing and dressing, and getting in/out of chairs

•you are profoundly deaf and British Sign Language is your first language - you need an interpreter when communicating without sign language, to interpret spoken announcements, and perhaps also to interpret written English

•you have a mental health problem and you need prompting to look after yourself and to do things such as taking your medication, eating, washing and dressing

•you are visually impaired and need someone to assist in situations such as selecting clothes to wear, using cooking appliances safely and preparing food

•you have a learning disability and need help with activities including managing money, writing letters and looking after your health and your hygiene

________________________________________

Supervision - needing someone to check on you

To qualify as needing supervision you must need someone to check on you regularly during the day. The checks must be to avoid a ‘substantial danger’ to yourself or others due to your disability.

For example, you may need such checks if you have memory loss, are in danger of falling, have poor awareness of potential dangers, have serious behavioural problems, lose consciousness or have seizures.

Substantial danger may include situations such as falling, leaving the gas on, self-harm, violence towards others or a serious risk to your health should you be left unsupervised. The potentially dangerous situation does not have to happen frequently, but you must need frequent checks to reduce the chance of harm.

How to claim Attendance Allowance

In England, Wales and Scotland

•contact the Attendance Allowance Helpline on 0800 731 0122 (textphone 0800 731 0317)

•you can download a claim form here: gov.uk/attendance-allowance

InNorthern Ireland

•contact Disability and Carers Service on 0800 587 0912 (textphone: 0800 012 1574)

•you can download a claim form here: nidirect.gov.uk/articles/at...

If you ask for a claim form by phone, it should be stamped with the date of issue. This is the date from which the benefit will be paid if the claim is successful, providing you return the form within six weeks. If you are not able to complete the form by this date, please let them know and seek advice.

If you download the claim form or get one from a local advice agency, the claim will start from the date the completed form is received

.

Read the form and the notes that go with it before you start to complete the form. You can attach pages to the application form if you think there is not enough space to explain the help that you need. Remember to add your name and national insurance number to the extra pages.

Completing the claim form

•the form is long and complex so take your time to complete the form, and remember that you don’t have to complete it all in one go

•list all of the help you need before completing the claim form

•be honest with yourself about how long things take you and if you can do them safely

•ask your carer, if you have one, to list all the help they give you to make sure you don’t miss anything out

•remember that what matters is whether you need the help, not whether you are already getting it

•think about the difficulties you have and what type of help you would need to make things easier

•if you have equipment or adaptations that help you with your daily life explain any help that you need to use them, and any help you need from another person in addition to the equipment and adaptations

•keep a diary for a week or so if you are unsure about how much help you need

•you do not have to need help every day – the test is ‘most of the time’ - if your needs vary from day to day, make a list of the help you need on each day of the week or month, depending on how much the pattern varies

•don’t just think about what happens on good days – get an overall picture of the help you need

•explain any falls or accidents you have had

•keep a copy of your form

•you could ask for help to complete the claim form from a local advice agency - to find out about advice agencies in your area by entering your postcode here: advicelocal.uk/

The Carers UK Attendance Allowance factsheet gives some examples of some questions that the claim form asks, which might be helpful when you are filling in the form and is available here: carersuk.org/help-and-advic...

Supporting information

You may have information about your health and the help you need from a number of different people. This might include:

•letters from your GP or consultant

•your care plan from your local council or trust – giving information about the help you need

•a report from your occupational therapist – giving information about the equipment and adaptations you need

•information from a Community Psychiatric Nurse

•appointment letters

•prescriptions lists

You can send this information with your application.

Again as always please let me know if would any extra information about how to claim this benefit.

Elizabeth.

Good morning on day 3 of the Carers UK Q&A.

Today we’ll be looking at Universal Credit. Universal Credit is a relatively new benefit that has been created to combine and replace Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Working Tax Credit.

Many people find the Universal Credit very confusing to understand, which is completely understandable because it is quite a complicated benefit with several rules. However, we are here today to help you will any questions that you may have, so please do post them below. You can also find more information at: carersuk.org/help-and-advic...

Sarah_Mencap
Sarah_MencapAdministrator

Good morning Elizabeth. I have just been sent a query from someone who wasn't able to post themselves (so I said I was happy to post for them).

Their adult daughter gets enhanced PIP and they are applying for Universal Credit. Their daughter has severe learning disabilities and finds it hard to communicate and need support all the time. They are very worried about making sure that the assessor understands their daughters difficulties. Do you have any advice about how best to support their daughter? They have asked for a home visits but have not heard back about if this is possible during the pandemic.

Thanks

Hi Sarah,

Thank you for being a go between, I hope this helps :)

Hello and thank you for your question, I can completely understand your concerns about your daughter being assessed as part of her Universal Claim process.

When someone applies for Universal Credit they are assessed to see which of the four claimant commitment groups they will be placed into. If as part of her claim your daughter has said that she is unable to work or carry out any sort of work related activity such as preparing for work then she will be going though something called the Work Capability Assessment. This is assessed using completely different criteria to PIP as the assessment is not looking at what personal care and or mobility needs you have but more about, are you able to carry out work or work related activity.

I have some information which I hope helps you not only understand the process your daughter is going through but also gives you an idea of how and what criteria she is being assessed by so you can help her prepare, you are also able to be with her while she has an assessment if it is decided that one is needed.

In your question you mention that you have requested a home visit – I am therefore guessing that you have already completed a form called a UC50 and have then received a letter inviting you for an assessment by a health care professional.

As of today this is the current situation regarding assessments but it is very likely to change soon.

The government has postponed all face-to-face medical assessments until at least 17 June 2020. Instead, they'll assess you either by:

•looking at your application form and medical evidence

•talking to you over the phone

You’ll keep getting Universal Credit until you have a medical assessment. The amount you get won’t change.

As you have requested a home visit I would expect that this will still be put on hold until the new guidance is released (which could be tomorrow) but as you have not had a reply yet and it may have now been some weeks since you requested one, it would be worth getting in touch either with the Health Care provider who is carrying out the assessment on behalf of the DWP to ask directly or your daughter asking in her Universal Credit journal if there is any news as to when this will happen.

The Citizens Advice website has a good section about claiming Universal Credit if you are sick or disabled which you might find useful to read so you can absolutely be prepared for when the time comes: citizensadvice.org.uk/benef...

When it is decided that the Work Capability Assessment is going to go ahead the medical professional is considering what extent your daughter’s illness or disability affects her ability to work.

(and only this - so the focus of her and your answers really needs to be on this) You might find this information helpful here: turn2us.org.uk/Benefit-guid...)

As mentioned you will be able to be there with her and if your daughter gives permission to the assessor you should be able to talk and contribute during the assessment. I would suggest that if you have a copy of the UC50 form that was filled in, that you both refresh yourselves as to what answers you gave as the decision should be based on what your daughter can do on a typical day, not on what she can do on good or bad days. If her condition varies from day to day it's worth keeping a diary to show the DWP how she is affected – this could be filled in prior to the assessment and could be started straight away.

If your daughter has any aids, for example if she uses a walking stick, she will be assessed as if she is using it

.

The assessment will look at the effects of any health condition or disability on her ability to carry out a range of everyday activities.

The Healthcare Professional will discuss your daughter’s medical history and activities she undertakes in a typical day. This information will be recorded but will not be a word-for-word record.

She is able bring extra information or medical information with her to assist the Healthcare Professional with their report. And as mentioned she can bring a companion for help and support who can also supply information. (or in the case of a home visit be present with her)

.

The assessment may also discuss with her parts of the UC50 form that she completed – if you still have a copy it is useful to have it to hand.

Where appropriate, she may have a physical examination which is designed to assess her function and is not the same as an examination in a diagnostic or treatment setting with a GP or Consultant.

Your daughters verbal consent will be obtained for any physical examination to proceed, should it be necessary. She will be encouraged to do as much of the examination as she feels comfortable with. She will not need to remove items of intimate clothing. A physical examination is not always required.

Once the Healthcare Professional has all the necessary information, then the face-to-face interview ends. The Healthcare Professional will then evaluate the information,

suggesting the most appropriate descriptors (phrases defined by DWP), and writing a justification of their choices, to complete the Assessment Report for DWP.

Based on the outcome of the assessment, your daughter will then be placed in one of 3 groups:

•fit for work

•limited capability for work - you can’t work now, but you can prepare to work in the future, for example by writing a CV

•limited capability for work and work related activity - you can’t work now and you’re not expected to prepare for work in the future

If following assessment you or she feels that she has been placed in the correct group you are able to request the decision is looked at again. This must be done within one month of the date of the decision this is known as asking for a Mandatory Reconsideration. There is further information about this process on the Carers UK website here: carersuk.org/help-and-advic... and hopefully you will not need to go down this route.

I hope this helps as it is understandably a worrying and stressful time for you both, please let me know if you have any further questions.

Kind regards,

Elizabeth.

Sarah_Mencap
Sarah_MencapAdministrator

Many thanks for this. I will pass it on.

Not really a question - more of an observation. We have just been through the process of applying for Universal credit and I was dreading it. I have to say it went very smoothly. It look quite a while but it didn't cause our family any issues. I found that we were listened to at all points, and people went out of their way to help us. You hear such horror stories so I thought it woudl be good to balance it out with a positive one.

Sarah_Mencap
Sarah_MencapAdministrator

Hello again. I have another query that came via email.

If you get Universal Credit can you automatically get a blue badge or do you need to be claiming a different benefit?

Blue badges come up on here quite a lot. Many people manage for years without realising that they could apply for one.

Many thanks

Sarah

Hi Sarah, No t a problem can you pass this one over too? - Thank you :)

Hi,

Unfortunately if you receive Universal Credit it does not automatically entitle you to a blue (disabled parking badge) let me explain as there as various route to eligibility.

Each local authority has their own blue badge scheme, so it is worth looking up what is needed and how you would apply in your area, the person who applies must be the person with the long term health condition or disability even if they themselves cannot drive. There is usually a fee of around £20 to pay.

gov.uk/blue-badge-scheme-in...

In general there are two main routes to eligibility:

The first being that you are automatically eligible for a Blue Badge if the applicant is :

Registered as blind

;

or, receiving the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA); or the applicant scored 8 points or more in the ‘moving around’ area of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment or scored 10 points in the ‘planning and following journeys’ area of your PIP assessment and were put in category ‘E’ - this means your stress, anxiety or other mental health issue stops you leaving the house

(It is absolutely worth checking any PIP or DLA award letters if you're not sure):

or, receiving a War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement;

or, has received a lump sum payment as part of the Armed Forces Compensation scheme (tariffs 1 to 8), and have been certified as having a permanent and substantial disability.

or if the applicant does not receive a disability benefit paid at an appropriate rate then there is a second route which involves having to fill out further sections of the application form, providing medical evidence and explaining why a blue badge is needed.

The Citizens Advice website has some helpful information available here:

citizensadvice.org.uk/benef...

I hope this is helpful,

Kind regards,

Elizabeth.

Hello CrazySquirrel,

You are absolutely right it can be so easy to always think the worst is going to happen, and it is always good to hear of peoples positive experiences as they really do help people going through the claim process, who are currently anxious and worried.

Thank you so much for sharing your experience :)

Elizabeth

A very early good morning to everyone.

Today we’ll be focusing on Pension Credit and ways you could maximise your income upon reaching state pension age.

Pension Credit is a benefit for people of pension age and aimed at supplementing the State Pension in order to bring your weekly income up to the maximum amount. If you have any questions on these areas at all, post them below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can today.

There is also information on our website at: carersuk.org/help-and-advic...

You are also welcome to ask any other questions you may have as we start to approach the end of the week.

Many thanks and I look forward to your questions.

Elizabeth :)

Hello. My friend suggested that I might be able to get pension credit but I am not at all clear what it is. Is it an extra benefit I can claim? I did read up on it a bit - it sound like it pays into my pension so I don't miss out as I am not working. My daughter is 18. Thanks

49Twister
49Twister
in reply to Growbag45

Hi you have to be in receipt of your pension to receive pension credit, I believe. I’m sure the experts will inform you better.

49Twister
49Twister
in reply to 49Twister

If your receiving Carers Allowance this covers National Insurance payments if your not working which guarantees your state pension when you reach retirement age. Sounds like you might be confusing this with pension credit. Your not alone as all benefits are confusing, hopefully the experts will pick up on this and help you out.

Thank you for your comment 49Twister, you are absolutely spot on, you have to be in receipt of your State Retirement Pension to be eligible to claim Pension Credit :)

Hello Growbag45

Thank you for your question/

Pension Credit is an extra means-tested benefit for people that can be claimed by people who have reached 'state pension credit age' and who have income and capital below a certain amount.

This is linked to the retirement age of a woman so is currently constantly changing.

Pension Credit has two parts: Guarantee Pension Credit and Savings Pension Credit.

Guarantee Pension Credit works by topping up your income to your ‘appropriate amount’ which is the amount the law says you need to live on.

Savings Pension Credit rewards people who have a second pension (or other income) or modest savings. It is paid if you or your partner are over State Pension age, but again your income and capital will affect the amount you get.

The maximum amounts per week are £13.97 for a single person or £15.62 for a couple, but not everyone who qualifies will get this much.

However you will not normally be eligible for this credit if you reach state pension age on or after 6th April 2016.

There is further information about this benefit here: carersuk.org/help-and-advic...

Pension Credit in both its forms is completely different to any private or occupational payment.

As you mention you are not working, I wonder if you are receiving a different benefit, maybe something like Universal Credit, Income Support, Carers Allowance or Income Based Job seekers Allowance? If so then you will automatically be receiving National Insurance credits towards your State Retirement Pension. This is worth looking into, as you say, you don't want to be missing out longer term.

If you would like to check your National insurance record - to see if you have any gaps or how many full years contributions you has accumulated so far, you can do so by registering and signing up here: gov.uk/check-national-insur...

I hope this is helpful.

Kind regards,

Elizabeth.

Good morning on the last day of the Carers UK ‘ask the expert’ event. We hope you’ve found this week helpful.

Today we’ll be focusing on Council Tax Reduction (or Council Tax Support) and ways to get help with energy costs. You may eligible to apply for a Council Tax Reduction from your local council, which could help cut costs by anything between 25 to 100%. We talk about this more at: carersuk.org/help-and-advic...

You might also be able to make savings by switching your energy provider or applying to trusts and schemes that could help lower your bills. We have collated lots of information about reducing fuel bills at: carersuk.org/help-and-advic...

If you have any questions or would like to know moreto do with Council Tax Reduction and ways to get help with energy costs, I will be more than happy to answer them.

Elizabeth :)

Hello again. This is a bit of a follow up to my question abour carers allowance. Do i need to get carers allowance before I can get council tax reduction? It talks about caring for 35+ hours again.thanks

Hi Grace2232,

It great to have another question from you. the short answer to your question is no, you do not need to be receiving Carers Allowance to be eligible for one of the council tax schemes but it is not straightforward as there are a number of schemes each local authority runs in relation to council tax, and the language for the schemes is quite confusing I am afraid.

The information I have provided assumes you live in England if you live in either Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland it would be wise to check directly with your local authority/council for information to there schemes as their are some variations depending on where you live. There is also information you could access here: carersuk.org/help-and-advic...

Let me start with the council tax reduction scheme is also know as council tax benefit or council tax support - it is a scheme to help people on a low income pay their council tax bills. As it is a means tested benefit it takes into account all details of any income, from other benefits, employment etc to assess eligibility.

Carers Disregard.

As council tax bills are generally based on the assumption that there are at least two adults living in the property. The bill will not increase if there are more than two people living in the property. However, if only one person or no-one lives in the property (or it is treated as such) a discount can be applied to the bill.

The following are examples of people who are ‘disregarded’ (treated as not living in the property) when it comes to calculating council tax.

Carers

To be ‘disregarded’ as a carer for council tax purposes, you must meet all the following criteria:

you must provide care for at least 35 hours a week

you must live in the same property as the person you care for

you must not be the spouse or partner of the person you care for, or their parent if you care for a child under 18

the person you care for must be getting either the middle or higher rate of the care

component of Disability Living Allowance (only the higher rate in Scotland), the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment at any rate (only the enhanced rate in Scotland), Attendance Allowance at any rate (only the higher rate in Scotland), Armed Forces Independence Payment or the highest rate of Constant Attendance Allowance

As you will have read in order to receive a carers disregard on the property council tax bill, you must be living with the person you provide care for, be providing 35 hours a week care to them, they must be receiving an appropriate disability benefit and they cannot be your, spouse, or partner or be a child under 18

You do not have to claim Carer’s Allowance to qualify for this discount, and your income and savings will not affect your eligibility. If there is more than one carer in the property, they can both be disregarded for council tax purposes as long as they all meet the conditions.

If you meet the eligibility criteria for this claim must be made to your local authority and it can be backdated to the date that you began to meet them - although you will have to supply proof of your eligibility during the backdated such as benefit award letters etc.

There are other categories of eligible disregards which I will detail below:

‘Severely mentally impaired’ people

To be disregarded on the grounds of being ‘severely mentally impaired’ the person will need to meet all of the following conditions:

have a certificate from a registered medical practitioner confirming this

be entitled to (but not necessarily claiming or in receipt of) one of a number of specified benefits which include: Disability Living Allowance (middle or higher rate care component), the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (either rate), Attendance Allowance (either rate), Constant Attendance Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance

Other people disregarded for the purposes of Council Tax include:

children under the age of 18 or aged 18 if Child Benefit is still in payment

full-time students (If the property is occupied only by students then it is exempt from council tax altogether)

long-term hospital patients or care home residents

live-in care workers

people living in a hostel which provides care or treatment because of their old age, physical or mental disability, past or present alcohol or drug dependence or past or present mental illness

Please not this list of discounts is not exhaustive. For more information on council tax discounts contact your local council.

If, after taking into account disregarded people, there is only one resident in the property who would ‘count’ for council tax a 25% discount is applied to the bill.

If, after taking into account disregarded people, there are no residents who would ‘count’ for council tax a 50% discount is applied to the bill.

Note: If a property is occupied by more than one person considered to be ‘severely mentally impaired’ it is also exempt.

Example of a 25% reduction

James spends 35 hours a week looking after his 23-year-old son Adam who has severe learning disabilities and receives the middle rate care component of Disability Living Allowance and is considered to be ‘severely mentally impaired’. James’s mother Jenny also lives in the house but does not spend 35 hours a week looking after Adam.

James can be disregarded as a carer and Adam can be disregarded as he is ‘severely mentally impaired’. Jenny cannot be disregarded. Therefore there would be one resident considered to be living in the property, and therefore a 25% discount would be applied to the Council Tax bill.

Example of a 50% discount

Fred and Julie are liable for council tax on the property in which they live. Julie’s mother, Alice, who lives with the couple is suffering from dementia and is receiving the higher rate of Attendance Allowance and is considered to be ‘severely mentally impaired’. Julie cares for her for at least 35 hours a week. Fred also cares for Alice for 35 hours a week, during weekends and before and after his paid work. The only other person in the household is Fred and Julie’s 15 year old son, Bob.

Fred and Julie can both be disregarded as carers. Alice can be disregarded as she is ‘severely mentally impaired. Bob can be disregarded as he is under 18 years old. All the residents in this property can be disregarded so a 50% discount would be applied to the Council Tax bill.

Note: It doesn’t matter whether or not Fred or Julie receives Carer’s Allowance.

I am sorry again it is complicated, this is best how to look at things:

Firstly how many adults are there living in the property (over 18's)

Secondly, are any of them eligible for a disregard (such as carer) so a discount can be applied.

Thirdly, are you eligible for any benefit help and supoprt through the Council Tax reduction/benefit support scheme.

I hope this helps,

Kind regards,

Elizabeth

Good afternoon all,

Just building on from my last post, some of you may find this extra information about one of the other council tax schemes that are available.

The disability reduction scheme

You may be able to get a reduction in council tax under the disability reduction scheme if anyone resident in the property (adult or child) is ‘substantially and permanently disabled’.

In addition, one of the following conditions has to be met:

there is an additional bathroom or kitchen in the property which is needed by the disabled person

there is a room (other than a bathroom, kitchen or toilet) needed by and mainly used by the disabled person

there is enough space in the property for the disabled person to use a wheelchair indoors

There is no general test of who is considered ‘substantially and permanently disabled’.

However, if a person is registered as disabled with their local council, this should be enough to satisfy this condition (although this does not mean that someone who is not on the register would not fit this condition). It could also help to provide supporting evidence from your GP/consultant.

Cases have clarified that if an extra room is required it means that it is additional, ie it would not be required for the relevant purpose if the person were not disabled.

A disability reduction will mean that the council tax bill is reduced to the amount payable for a home in the valuation band below yours. If you are in the lowest band already (B and A) you get a reduction of one sixth of the bill.

Example

Mina has a home which is placed in Council Tax Band C, meaning she has to pay £800 a year. She qualifies for a disability reduction because there is an additional bathroom in the home which is required by her disabled mother. This means Mina is placed in Council Tax B and as a result pays the band B amount of £500 a year.

To apply for the disability reduction scheme you would need to contact the council tax department of your local council. If you were eligible for the disability reduction scheme but did not apply, it is possible to backdate an application. You will have to make a backdated application and provide evidence of eligibility. Backdating may be limited to six years.

I hope this is helpful,

Elizabeth.

Hello everybody.

This is one final post from me to say thank you for having me in your online community and I’ve been so pleased to speak with you during the week, and I really hope the information and topics we’ve spoken about will be helpful.

I would just like to say a big thank you to Sarah for all of her help and support :)

All of the pages that I’ve linked to can be found from the main pages of our website, which is carersuk.org

If you want to get in touch with us with any other questions about caring, please do email through to myself and my colleagues on advice@carersuk.org .

Our telephone information line for carers can also provide initial information and help you find organisations that can also help. The number is 0808 808 7777 and the lines are opened Monday – Friday, 9am – 6pm.

Kind regards as always and thank you for having me..

Elizabeth :)

Sarah_Mencap
Sarah_MencapAdministrator

Many thanks to everyone who has joined in, or read, this conversation. Also a huge thank you to Elizabeth from Carers UK for such amazing posts.

This topic is now closed.

If you want to post about caring or benefits (or anything else) please just write a new post - healthunlocked.com/mencap/w...

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Best wishes

Sarah

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