As the new financial year begins, millions of UK carers who often struggle to maintain a paid job alongside their caregiving responsibilities are set to receive a financial boost.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is implementing six income enhancements for these individuals, many of whom go unacknowledged and unsupported.
Benefit payments are set to increase by 10.1%, based on the September 2022 inflation rate, just as the £67 monthly energy rebate ends, despite household bills remaining at worryingly high levels.
It is estimated that the UK has over 10 million unpaid carers, with the majority unable to take on an additional paid job due to their caregiving obligations.
While only 1.36 million claim Carer’s Allowance, many rely on the benefits system for financial support.
Carers can also claim Universal Credit and receive the Carer’s Element top-up. However, for those already receiving Carer’s Allowance, their Universal Credit is reduced by £1 for every £1 of Carer’s Allowance received.
Below are the increased amounts carers will be eligible for in the 2023-2024 financial year:
- Carer’s Allowance: Increasing from £69.70 to £76.75 per week, effective from April 10th. This DWP benefit is available to those who care for someone for at least 35 hours per week, with earnings of £132 or less per week after taxes, National Insurance, and expenses.
- Universal Credit Carer’s Element: Increasing from £168.81 to £185.86 per month, effective from April 10th. This top-up is in addition to the Universal Credit standard allowance and any other awarded components.
- Carer Premium: Increasing from £38.85 to £42.75 per week, effective from April 10th. This additional amount is paid with legacy benefits, including Income Support, income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Housing Benefit, and income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).
- Benefit Cap Rise: Increasing from £296.35 to £326.29 per week in Greater London and from £257.69 to £283.71 per week in the rest of the UK. This cap limits the state support a household can receive, with any excess deducted from the total.
- Pension Credit Additional Amount: Increasing from £38.85 to £42.75 per week, effective from April 10th. Pension Credit is an income top-up for people of State Pension age and offers an additional amount for carers.
- £900 Cost of Living Payment: This payment will be distributed in three parts during the 2023-2024 financial year, with the first installment of £301 due between April 25 and May 17. The remaining two installments are scheduled for autumn 2023 and spring 2024, with exact dates yet to be announced.
These income enhancements demonstrate the UK government’s commitment to supporting carers in their invaluable roles.
As the cost of living continues to rise, these financial boosts aim to provide some relief to the millions of carers who often struggle to make ends meet while dedicating their time to caring for others.