Home Responses Carers UK reaction to DWP research and Work and Pensions Select Committee recommendations on Carer’s Allowance

Carers UK reaction to DWP research and Work and Pensions Select Committee recommendations on Carer’s Allowance

by Kirsty Kirsty

Today, the Department for Work and Pensions has published its research on the Experiences of Claiming and receiving Carer’s Allowance, which was completed in 2021. The Work and Pensions Select Committee also published its letter to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Mel Stride MP, which included a number of recommendations for the Department on the back of two evidence sessions on Carer’s Allowance held on 6 March and 24 April 2024. 

Helen Walker, Chief Executive at Carers UK said: 

“We are really pleased to see the Department of Work and Pensions’ research on Carer’s Allowance finally in the public domain so we can begin to have constructive discussions with decision-makers and officials about the future of Carer’s Allowance. However, it has taken three years for this research to be published and during this time the benefit has remained unchanged, despite many calls from Carers UK and other stakeholders on the need for a substantial review. 

“Carer’s Allowance is the lowest benefit of its kind at just £81.90 per week, this is clearly evidenced in the research, which highlights that the majority of claimants live in low-income households. The lower level of qualifications of the claimants further highlights the need to change the eligibility criteria for Carer’s Allowance to enable unpaid carers to gain qualifications whilst providing vital care, which could build their confidence and prepare them for paid work if their caring role comes to an end. 

“Coming on the same day, the letter from the Work and Pensions Select Committee to the Secretary of State makes clear that significant changes are required to the design of Carer’s Allowance to ensure it works well at supporting unpaid carers in a variety of situations. 

“We are delighted that the Committee has made repeated recommendations on benchmarking the level of Carer’s Allowance against living costs to ensure unpaid carers do not experience financial hardship, pegging the earnings limit to National Living Wage increases, introducing a taper rate for earnings, and improving communication with claimants at risk of overpayments. 

“All of these recommendations by the Committee taken together could help to reduce the size and volume of overpayments experienced by unpaid carers as well as improving the financial security and removing barriers to staying in paid work for unpaid carers.                                                                                        

“The Select Committee has asked for a Ministerial response by 17 June 2024. We hope that the Government will take this opportunity to consider the recommendations and make the changes we so desperately need. 

“Carers UK has continued to campaign on this issue bringing carers voices and experiences to decision makers.” 

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