New earnings limit for Carers’ Allowance

November 30, 2021

The Government has announced the amount benefit rates, including Carers' Allowance, will increase to from 11th April 2022.

The new earnings limit for Carer’s Allowance has been increased by CPI. Carers UK estimates that this would be from £128 to £132 per week.

With the National Living Wage rate currently at £8.91 per hour, a carer can work for 14.36 hours per week and still retain Carer’s Allowance.  Carers UK says that although this £4 rise in the earnings limit is important, with the new National Living Wage rate at £9.50 per hour, carers working hours would have to fall below 14 hours – to 13.89 hours per week – in order to still retain Carer’s Allowance.

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said, ‘Whilst we are pleased that the earnings limit has risen, it has only done so in line with CPI and not wage inflation which we know is far higher. This will mean many carers making tough decisions to either reduce work or leave work altogether.

‘Despite the rise, carers are still losing out on working hours year on year as increases have not kept pace with the National Living Wage or average wage rises.  This is completely counter to the Government’s objective to make work pay.  What we need urgently is a system that legislates for a year-on-year rise, in line with at least 16 times the National Living Wage.

‘This would allow carers to remain in work which is so important for carer’s income and finances in the short and longer term – and many also want to work.

‘The rate of Carer’s Allowance is set to rise has been announced as 3.1% in line with CPI from £67.60 (2021/22 rates) to an estimated £69.70 per week (2022/23) – a rise of £2 per week.’

Carers UK’s State of Caring 2021 survey found that one in five carers said they may not cope financially over the next 12 months, one in four (23%) may not have enough to cover monthly expenses. 36% of carers say their finances have got worse during the pandemic and we know that as health and care services are stretched, carers have greater costs.

Helen Walker added, ‘We urgently need to see a rise in carers’ benefits that better recognises the support that carers provide. We cannot continue to value unpaid carers so little within society by keeping Carer’s Allowance as the lowest benefit of its kind.  Scotland has introduced a Carer’s Allowance Supplement which would normally be worth £231.40 every six months, but they have doubled this to £462.80 due to extra costs faced by carers in the pandemic.  Sadly, this leaves carers in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland even further behind. We’re asking the Government to do the right thing and recognise carers.’

Visit the Carers UK website to find out more about Carer's Allowance.

To coincide with Carers Rights Day, Carers UK published new research to review the impact of the pandemic on carers’ work and how much support has been offered by employers.

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