Help with care fees from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)

 

Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) welfare benefits are split into two main categories:

  • those that are means-tested, and
  • those that aren’t.

However, even some of the non-means-tested benefits are National Insurance contribution based.


Attendance Allowance

Attendance Allowance is designed to help pay for care fees but doesn’t cover your mobility needs. It can help to pay for care for the elderly – depending on a person’s needs and eligibility.

Attendance Allowance is tax-free and has two levels of payments, depending on the level of care needs you have.

Your Attendance Allowance is paid every four weeks into your bank, building society or credit union account.

Attendance Allowance rates 2018/19
  Your care need Weekly rate Payment(every four weeks)
Lower rate Frequent help or constant supervision during the day - or supervision at night. £57.30 £229.20
Higher rate Help or supervision throughout both day and night - or you’re terminally ill. £85.60 £342.40

Being eligible for Attendance Allowance

You’re eligible for Attendance Allowance if you’re aged 65 or over and:

    • have a physical disability, for example blindness or a mental disability such as a learning difficulty or dementia
    • your disability means you need help caring for yourself - or someone to supervise you
    • you’ve needed help caring for yourself for at least six months (unless you’re terminally ill), and
    • you’re not claiming Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

Over-65s who need help bathing or eating (at home or in a care home) may be eligible for Attendance Allowance. If you need around-the-clock care then you’ll receive the higher rate.

If you’re terminally ill, you’ll receive the higher rate Attendance Allowance - and there’s no qualifying period.

Other things to consider

  • You don’t need to be receiving help to be eligible for Attendance Allowance.
  • You can claim Attendance Allowance if you:
    o live in a care home
    o pay some or all of the care home fees yourself, and
    o have eligible care needs.
  • If you receive Attendance Allowance you could get:
    o more Pension Credit
    o Housing Benefit, or
    o a Council Tax Reduction.
  • If you move into care fully funded by your local authority or NHS, your Attendance Allowance normally stops after 28 days.
  • Attendance Allowance isn’t available in care homes in Scotland.
  • If you have a carer they may be able to claim Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Credit.

How to claim Attendance Allowance

You apply for Attendance Allowance by post. You can either download the Attendance Allowance claim form or request a copy from the Attendance Allowance helpline. You can call the helpline free on 0800 731 0122. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm, except on bank holidays (textphone: 0800 731 0317).

You may be asked to have an assessment to check your eligibility. If so, you’ll need to provide identification at your assessment. You can use your passport or any three of the following:

  • birth certificate 
  • full driving licence
  • life assurance policy
  • bank statements.


Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

This tax-free benefit for disabled people who need help with mobility or care costs has been replaced. It’s no longer available to new claimants.

Born on, or before, 8 April 1948

If you receive Disability Living Allowance, were born before 8 April 1948 and you still meet the qualifying criteria, you’ll continue to receive your payments.

Born after 8 April 1948

If you were born after (or on) 8 April 1948 your payments will end. You’ll receive a letter telling you when the payments will stop.

You can challenge a decision about your Disability Living Allowance claim by asking for mandatory reconsideration.

You’ll be invited to apply for a Personal Independence Payment. If you don’t get a letter about PIP and you’re 28 days, or less, away from your Disability Living Allowance payments ending, make a claim to receive PIP.

How to claim Personal Independence Payment

In England, Scotland and Wales

You can call the Disability Service Centre free on 0800 917 2222. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm except on bank holidays (textphone: 0800 917 7777). If you’re calling from abroad, you can call on +44 191 218 7766.

In Northern Ireland

There’s a difference process for those living in Northern Ireland. Instead call the Personal Independence Payment centre free on 0800 012 1573. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm except on bank holidays (textphone: 0800 012 1574).

 

Carer’s Allowance

Carer’s Allowance is a taxable, means-tested benefit. You can get this if:

  • you look after someone for at least 35 hours a week, and
  • they receive a qualifying disability benefit.

If you qualify, you’ll receive £64.60 a week (2018/19 rate).

Eligibility for Carer’s Allowance

You can be eligible for Carer’s Allowance if you’re looking after someone who receives one of the following qualifying benefits:

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

You’re eligible if you earn £120 a week or less after tax and qualifying expenses and all the following apply:

  • you’re aged at least 16
  • you care for someone for 35 hours or more a week
  • you’ve been living in England, Scotland or Wales for a minimum period of two years during the last three years
  • you live in England, Scotland or Wales - or you’re a member of the armed forces living abroad
  • you’re not studying for more than 21 hours a week nor are you in full time education, and
  • you’re not subject to any immigration controls.

Qualifying expenses that you can deduct include some of the:

  • payments you make towards personal or work place pension schemes, and
  • costs of care for your children or the person you care for, while you’re at work.

If you live in Northern Ireland the rules are different.

If you’re not eligible for Carer’s Allowance you may qualify for Carer’s Credit.

Effect on other benefits

Claiming Carer’s Allowance can affect benefits that you or the person you’re caring for already receive.

Impact on benefits received by the person you care for

If you claim Carer’s Allowance, the person you care for will stop receiving:

  • their severe disability premium
  • the extra sum for severe disability paid with Pension Credit (if received), and
  • their reduced Council Tax (you can check with their local authority to find out if they’ll be affected).

Impact on your benefits

If you claim Carer’s Allowance, the value of your other benefits may go down. However, the overall amount you receive will usually stay the same or go up.

Carer’s Allowance is taxable. This means you’ll need to tell the tax credits office if you’re receiving Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit.

The benefit cap doesn’t include any money you receive from your Carer’s Allowance.

If you’re living in Northern Ireland the rules are different

You can be eligible for Carer’s Allowance in Northern Ireland if:

You look after someone receiving one of the following:

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

You earn £116 a week (or less) after tax and qualifying expenses. These expenses can include:

  • income tax
  • some National Insurance contributions
  • half of payments you make towards workplace or personal pension schemes
  • other costs you have to pay as part of your job, and
  • money you pay someone to look after a child or the person you care for, while you’re working. (You can use up to half of the rest of your earnings after other expenses have been deducted for this. And the person you’re paying must be someone who isn’t a close relative.)

All of the following apply:

  • you’re aged at least 16
  • you care for someone for 35 hours a week - or more
  • you live in Northern Ireland - or you’re a member of the armed forces living abroad
  • you’ve been in Northern Ireland for a minimum period of two years during the last three years
  • you’re not studying for more than 21 hours a week or on holiday from a full-time course, and
  • you’re not subject to immigration control.

There are some other things to consider. These include:

  • If someone else is caring for the same person, only one of you will get Carer's Allowance.
  • If you’re caring for more than one person, you can’t combine the hours.
  • If you’re part of a couple and care for each other, you can both claim.
  • Your savings won't affect your claim.
  • The 'caring week' runs from Sunday to Saturday. However, you’ll still be eligible if you’re giving 35 hours of care or more each weekend.

How to apply – England, Scotland and Wales

You can apply for Carer’s Allowance online or by post.

To find out how to claim, you can call free on 0800 731 0297. Lines are open Monday to Thursday, 8:30am to 5pm, except on bank holidays, and on Fridays, 8:30am to 4:30pm, except on bank holidays (textphone: 0800 731 0317).

How to apply – Northern Ireland

You can apply for Carer’s Allowance in Northern Ireland online or by post.

To find out how to claim, you can call the Disability and Carers Service free on 0800 587 0912. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm, except on bank holidays (textphone: 028 9031 1092).

 

Carer’s Credit

Carer’s Credit can help with gaps in your National Insurance (NI) records. It does this by giving you NI credits if you look after someone for at least 20 hours a week. Carer’s Credit allows you to look after someone and still qualify for the state pension.

Eligibility for Carer’s Credit

To be eligible for Carer’s Credit you must be:

  • aged at least 16
  • under state pension age, and
  • looking after one or more people for at least 20 hours each week.

To be eligible, the person you’re looking after must already receive one of the following qualifying benefits:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance – the middle or top care rate
  • Personal Independence Payment – the daily living component
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment, or
  • Constant Attendance Allowance.

You may be eligible for Carer’s Credit if the person you’re caring for doesn’t receive a qualifying benefit. Just fill in the ‘Care Certificate’ part of the application form. Once you’ve done that, get a social care or healthcare professional to sign it.

Taking a break from caring

You can continue to receive Carer’s Credit if you take a break of no longer than 12 continuous weeks. This allows you to take a short holiday and to receive and recover from hospital treatment. It also covers you for when the person you look after goes into hospital.

If you have a break that’s longer than 12 weeks, you’ll need to let the Carer’s Allowance Unit know. You can call them free on 0800 731 0297. Lines are open Monday to Thursday, 8:30am to 5pm, except on bank holidays, and on Fridays, 8:30am to 4:30pm except on bank holidays (textphone: 0800 731 0317).

How to apply

Sometimes you don’t have to apply to receive Carer’s Credit. You automatically get credits if you receive Carer’s Allowance or Child Benefit for a child under the age of 12. If you’re a foster carer, you can apply for National Insurance credits instead.

You can apply by post. You can get the form by calling free on 0800 731 0297. Lines are open Monday to Thursday, 8:30am to 5pm, except on bank holidays, and Fridays, 8:30am to 4:30pm, except on bank holidays (textphone: 0800 731 0317).

 

Carers UK

Carers UK helps carers and the people they look after by providing advice and support on issues including:

  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Carer’s Credit
  • Carers’ employment rights
  • Tax credits
  • Benefits

How to get in touch with Carers UK

In England, Scotland and Wales you can call Carers UK on 0808 808 7777. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm, except on bank holidays.

In Northern Ireland you can call them on 028 9043 9843. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm, except on bank holidays.

 

State Pension

There are two types of State Pension available. Your date of birth determines which one you can claim. You’ll either receive the basic State Pension or the new State Pension.

You could also qualify for the Additional State Pension if:

  • you’re eligible for the basic State Pension, and
  • you’re 80 or older.

The basic State Pension

The basic State Pension pays a maximum of £125.95 per week (2018/19). You may need to pay income tax on your state pension payments. You have to claim your State Pension as it isn’t paid automatically.

You’re eligible for the basic State Pension if you’re:

  • a man born before 6 April 1951 or a woman born before 6 April 1953, and
  • you paid, or were credited with, enough National Insurance contributions.

How to claim the basic State Pension – England, Scotland and Wales

If you’re eligible, you can claim the basic State Pension by phone or by completing the State Pension claim form. It’s also possible to claim your state pension while living abroad.

In England, Scotland and Wales, you can call free on 0800 731 7898. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm except on bank holidays. Alternatively, you can use:

  • Textphone: 0800 731 7339
  • Welsh language: 0800 731 7936
  • Welsh textphone: 0800 731 7339

How to claim the basic State Pension – Northern Ireland

If you’re eligible, you can claim the basic State Pension:

  • online
  • by phone, or
  • by completing and posting the State Pension claim form.

It’s also possible to claim your State Pension while living abroad.

You can call the Northern Ireland Pension Centre free on 0808 100 2658. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, except on bank holidays (textphone: 0808 100 2198).

The Additional State Pension

You’ll be eligible for the Additional State Pension if you’re:

  • a man born before 6 April 1951 or a woman born before 6 April 1953, and
  • you paid, or were credited with, enough National Insurance contributions.

The Additional State Pension is paid automatically with your basic State Pension. How much you’ll receive depends upon:

  • the number of years you paid National Insurance
  • how much you earned
  • whether you contracted out of this scheme, and
  • if you made any tops ups to your basic State Pension between 12 October 2015 and 5 April 2017.

Inheriting the Additional State Pension

If your spouse or partner dies, you may be able to inherit part of their Additional State Pension.

You can call the Pension Service to find out what and how you can claim on 0800 731 7898. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm, except on bank holidays. Alternatively, you can use:

  • Textphone: 0800 731 7339
  • Welsh language: 0800 731 7936
  • Welsh textphone: 0800 731 7339

The new State Pension

The new State Pension pays a maximum of £164.35 per week (2018/19). You’ll need to claim your State Pension when you reach State Pension Age. You may have to pay income tax on your payments.

You’re eligible for the new State Pension if you’re:

  • a man born on or after 6 April 1951 or a woman born on or after 6 April 1953, and
  • you paid, or were credited with, National Insurance contributions for at least 10 years.

You can continue to work after you reach State Pension Age. You’ll still get a State Pension even if you have income from a personal or workplace pension.

The new State Pension is paid in arrears, every four weeks. It’s paid into an account of your choice. The week day you receive your payments depends upon the last two digits of your National Insurance number.

 

Last two digits of your National Insurance number Payment day of the week
00 to 19 Monday
20 to 39 Tuesday
40 to 59 Wednesday
60 to 79 Thursday
80 to 99 Friday


How to claim the new State Pension – England, Scotland and Wales

At least two months before you reach State Pension Age you’ll receive a letter telling you how to claim. Alternatively, you can call the claim line and they’ll explain what you need to do.

You can claim the new State Pension online, by phone or by completing and posting the State Pension claim form. It’s also possible to claim your State Pension while living abroad.

In England, Scotland and Wales you can call free on 0800 731 7898. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm, except on bank holidays. Alternatively, you can use:

  • Textphone: 0800 731 7339
  • Welsh language: 0800 731 7936
  • Welsh textphone: 0800 731 7339

How to claim the new State Pension – Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, you can claim the new State Pension online, by phone or with the State Pension claim form. It’s also possible to claim your State Pension while living abroad.

You can call the Northern Ireland Pension Centre free on 0808 100 2658. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, except on bank holidays (textphone 0808 100 2198).

Pension Credit

Pension Credit is a tax-free, means-tested benefit made up of two parts:

  • Guarantee Credit is a low-income top-up, which ensures a guaranteed level of income.
  • Savings Credit is an extra payment for over-65s who’ve made some provision above the state pension.
Your circumstances Guarantee Credit a week Savings Credit a week
Single people Top up to £163 Up to £13.40
Couples Top up to £248.80 Up to £14.99


If you’re eligible for Pension Credit, you may qualify for other benefits as well.

It’s paid into an account of your choice but you can’t get Pension Credit if you move abroad permanently.

Working out your income

If you apply for Pension Credit your income will be calculated to see if it falls below the guaranteed level. The calculation will include your:

  • State Pension
  • income from other pensions that you’re receiving, or could be receiving
  • most benefits, for example Carer’s Allowance
  • savings and investments over £10,000 - for these £1 is counted for every £500 or part £500, and
  • any earnings.

If you do a self-assessment tax return you have to include this information too. You have to tell the Pension Service how much Income Tax you expect to pay for the current tax year. This is because it affects the Pension Credit you’ll receive.

The calculation doesn’t include the following payments:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Christmas Bonus
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Housing Benefit, or
  • Council Tax Reduction.

The rules for claiming Pension Credit are different for people living in Northern Ireland.

Eligibility for Pension Credit – England, Scotland and Wales

To qualify for Guarantee Credit, you:

  • must live permanently in England, Scotland or Wales, and
  • either you, your spouse or your partner must have reached Pension Credit qualifying age.

To be eligible for Savings Credit, you, your spouse or your partner must be 65 or older. You’re considered to be a couple if you live with your partner.

If you, your spouse or partner reached State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016 you’ll qualify if:

  • you were receiving Savings Credit before April 2016, and
  • you’re in a couple and one of you reached the State Pension age before 6 April 2016.

If you stop being eligible for Savings Credit, you won’t be able to receive it in the future.

Eligibility for Pension Credit – Northern Ireland

To qualify for Guarantee Credit you must:

  • live permanently in Northern Ireland, and
  • either you, your spouse or your partner must have reached Pension Credit qualifying age.

To be eligible for Savings Credit, you, your spouse or your partner must be aged 65 or older. You’re considered to be a couple if you live with your partner.

If you, your spouse or partner reached State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016 you’ll qualify if:

  • you were receiving Savings Credit before April 2016, and
  • you’re in a couple and one of you reached the State Pension age before 6 April 2016.

If you stop being eligible for Savings Credit, you won’t be able to receive it in the future.

How to claim – England, Scotland and Wales

The easiest and fastest way to claim is by phone - and you can apply by post. You can also ask a friend, relative, neighbour or Citizens Advice to call the helpline to request an application form.

You can start your application up to four months before you reach Pension Credit qualifying age. If you apply after reaching the qualifying age, your payments will be backdated for three months.

You can call the Pension Credit claim line free on 0800 99 1234. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (textphone: 0800 169 0133).

How to claim – Northern Ireland

To make a claim you need to complete the Pension Credit application form. You then send it to the address on the form or your local Social Security or Jobs and Benefits office. You can get a form from the Pension Credit claim line or your local office.

You can start your application up to four months before you reach Pension Credit qualifying age. If you apply after reaching the qualifying age, your payments will be backdated for three months.

You can call the Pension Credit claim line free on 0808 100 6165. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (textphone: 0800 100 1165).

Winter Fuel Payment

Winter Fuel Payment is a tax-free, means-tested benefit to help with heating bills. It’s worth between £100 and £300.

To qualify for Winter Fuel Payment, you have to:

  • have been born on or before 5 November 1953, and
  • usually live in the UK for at least one day on or between, 17 September to 23 September 2018.

If you live in a care home or nursing home you could still be eligible.

It’s usually paid automatically into your account between November and December if you receive a State Pension or another benefits. This doesn’t apply if you receive Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit.

If you’re eligible but don’t receive a payment, you’ll have to claim. The deadline for claiming help with winter 2018/19 is 31 March 2019.

You may also qualify for Cold Weather Payment or Warm Home Discount Scheme. These are seasonal benefits that you apply for each winter.

Who doesn’t qualify for Winter Fuel Payment?

You won’t receive Winter Fuel Payment if you:

  • live in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain.
  • are in a UK hospital for more than 12 months receiving free treatment.
  • need permission to enter the UK and your granted leave states that you can’t claim public money.
  • were in prison for the whole week between 17 to 23 September 2018.
  • lived in a care home for the whole time between 25 June and 17 September 2018, and got:
    • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
    • Income Support, or
    • Pension Credit.

How much Winter Fuel Payment will I receive?

The amount of Winter Fuel Payment you’ll receive depends on your eligibility, the benefits you receive and your personal circumstances.

Circumstance Born between 24 September 1938 and 5 November 1953 Born on or before 23 September 1938
You qualify and live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify) £200 £300
You qualify and live with someone under 80 who also qualifies £100 £200
You qualify and live with someone 80 or over who also qualifies £100 £150
You qualify, live in a care home and don’t get certain benefits £100 £150


Your payment may vary from those above if you, your spouse or your partner receive one of the following benefits:

  • Pension Credit
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income Support.
Circumstance Born between 24 September 1938 and 5 November 1953 Born on or before 23 September 1938
You qualify, get one of the benefits and live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify) £200 £300
You qualify and live with someone who also gets one of the benefits £200 - only one of you will get the payment £300 - only one of you will get the payment
You qualify, live in a care home and get one of the benefits Nil Nil

How to claim Winter Fuel Payment

You can claim for Winter Fuel Payment by phone or by post.

You can call the Winter Fuel Payment Centre free on 0800 731 0160. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (textphone: 0800 731 0464).

You can call from abroad on +44 (0)191 218 7777 (textphone +44 (0)191 218 7280).

There are two claim forms:

If you pay for advice from a care funding specialist adviser, they’ll do a full state benefit review for you. This will show you what you’re entitled to claim - if anything.

You can also do your own check using a benefits calculator like the one provided by registered UK charity Turn2us.

 

Other benefits which you may qualify for

There are a number of other benefits which may help you.

Funeral Expenses Payment

Funeral Expenses Payment can help with some costs of a funeral that you’re responsible for arranging. To be eligible you must receive certain benefits or tax credits.

Council Tax Reduction

You can get Council Tax Reduction if:

  • you suffer from a physical or mental health disability, including dementia
  • you’re on a low income, or
  • you claim certain benefits.

Schemes vary by local authority.

Council Tax Exemption

You could receive Council Tax Exemption if your home is unoccupied while:

  • you’re in hospital
  • living in a care home, or
  • living in a nursing home.

You can contact your local authority to find out what help is available.

Employment and Support Allowance

If you’re ill or disabled and unable to work you may qualify for Employment and Support Allowance. There are income-based and contribution-based versions.

NHS prescriptions, dental treatment, eye tests and other NHS costs

You may qualify for help with NHS costs.

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit

You could claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit if you’re ill or disabled because of a disease or accident:

  • at work, or
  • on an approved employment training programme.

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