Getting help through financial benefits

 

 

††

 

†† DISC

†† Oxford Dementia Centre

†† Institute of Public Care

†† Roosevelt Drive

†† Oxford OX3 7XR

†† Tel: 0845 120 4048

†† www.disc.org.uk

†† email: info@disc.org.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This fact sheet offers advice about specific benefits that may be available to carers and to the person cared for.It does not deal with the broad range of state benefits that are available to pensioners, to people with a long-term illness or other forms of state assistance. If you wish to know who to contact regarding these matters then we can help you.

You may also find the following fact sheets useful

 

        What is dementia?

        Making your home dementia friendly

        Treatment and therapy for people with dementia

        Having an assessment

        Paying for services at home

        Making the decision about future plans for care

 

Applying for assistance

 

If you have not applied for specific benefits before, completing the forms requires time and energy. Some forms for example are long, complicated and repetitious, eg, making an application for Disability Living Allowance and require evidence from other people such as a GP. The following organisations may prove helpful in completing forms or giving advice.

 

        Citizens Advice Bureau

        Age Concern

        Benefit Enquiry Line - Tel 0800 882200.If you have hearing problems 0800 - 243355

        Carers Allowance Unit 01253 856123.For mini com, use 01772 899489

 

Contact DISC to find where your nearest local benefit advice centres are.

Acting on someoneís behalf

If the person for whom you care, cannot fully manage their own money, you may need to


 

  • Become a Social Security Appointee. Making you personally responsible for ensuring that social security monies are applied in the persons interest.You can collect the benefit or pensions on their behalf and spend it on their behalf. Contact the Department of Work and Pensions to become an Appointee.Telephone 020 771271 between 9-00a.m and 5-00p.m Monday to Friday.
  • Apply for Enduring Power of Attorney. This means that even after the person has become mentally incapable of managing their own affairs the person appointed as Attorney can manage their affairs on their behalf. Telephone Customer Service Advice Line 0845 330 2963.

 

With all the benefits described below, entitlement may change if the carer goes into hospital or no longer continues caring or if the cared for person goes into hospital, a care home or goes abroad. Further advice can be obtained from the Department of Work and Pensions. Contact us if you need address, phone number, etc.

 

Attendance Allowance

What is it?

 

Attendance Allowance is for people who need help with personal care because of an illness or disability.

 

Key features of attendance allowance

 

  • This benefit is for people aged 65 and over. If you are aged under 65 the benefit that you may be able to claim is Disabled Living Allowance.
  • Attendance Allowance is a non-means tested benefit. It is not affected by the amount of income or capital you have.
  • It is tax-free and can be paid on top of any other benefits, including means tested-benefits.
  • If the person you care for is receiving any means-tested benefits, by claiming attendance allowance, those benefits may be increased.
  • The person for whom you are caring, can be living on their own or with you.

 

How much would I receive?

 

There are two rates for receiving Attendance Allowance. For someone needing help only during the day the amount you receive is currently £39.35. If you need help both during the day and night you receive £58.80. The money can be spent on whatever you think the cared for person would most benefit from. For example, someone to help with the housework, gardening, costs or additional heating, a holiday fund, taxis to visit a friend or go to the shops.

 

What needs are necessary to claim Attendance Allowance?

 

The person your care for would need constant supervision either because of severe mental incapacity or physical disability.Examples of appropriate need would include

 

  • During the day; help with basic care such as; using the toilet, washing, dressing, eating or drinking, social and leisure activities.

Or

Continuous supervision throughout the day to avoid danger to themselves or others - this may include wandering or agitation

 

  • During the night; prolonged (20 minutes or more) or repeated (more than once) help, eg, to go to the toilet

Or

The carer is awake for a prolonged period or at frequent intervals, to watch over the cared for person to avoid danger to the person or someone else.

 

There must also be evidence that the above situations have been ongoing for at least six months unless you can show that the cared for persons condition is not going to improve. In this case you may be able to claim attendance allowance as early as two months after the onset date of the person needing extra support.

 

If the person is terminally ill they do not have to wait for the six month rule for attendance allowance and will not have to show a need for care, as the highest rate would be awarded anyway.

 

If the person is terminally ill which means suffering from a progressive disease where death would reasonably be expected within a six-month period. The GP will have a form that is specially for this situation,DS.1500, to be completed when an application is being made for Attendance Allowance on the grounds of terminal illness.

 

What is involved in filling in the form?

 

Claims for Attendance Allowance are made on a self - assessment form.Someone who knows the person, ie doctor, relative or carer is asked to say what the person's physical or mental difficulties are necessitating regular and ongoing help.

 

The rest of the form needs to be filled in by you on behalf of the person you care for.It is important to fill it in as accurately and as fully as possible, as the success or otherwise of the claim will depend on what has been written.It is important that you, as the carer, go through the form to make sure it reflects the true level of support the person needs.

Disabled Living Allowance (DLA)

 

What is it?

 

DLA is a social security benefit that the person you care for may be able to claim if they have long term health problems, mental or physical, that affects their everyday activities.

 

It is paid to someone with a disability before the age of 65 and is not means tested. However, if you were already in receipt of DLA when under the age of 65, then it continues to be paid after that age as long as the cared for person continues to meet the criteria.

 

 

How much would I receive?

 

DLA is made up of two parts (1) Care Component and (2) Mobility Component

The person you care for can be awarded one or both components of DLA.

Care Component is divided into three bands. The amounts are:

Higher Rate = £58-80

Middle Rate = £39-35

Lower Rate= £15-15

 

 

The mobility component is divided into two bands

 

Higher rate- £41-05

Lower rate - £15-15

 

What needs are necessary to claim DLA?

 

For the care component

 

  • The higher rate requires that people need day and night care or that they are terminally ill.
  • The middle rate requires that people need help day OR night.
  • For the lower rate people need assistance with their basic bodily functions for a significant part of the day, people over 16 have to show that physical or mental impairments mean that they are unable to prepare a cooked meal for themselves when the ingredients are provided.It is a hypothetical test that looks at peoples abilities to carry out all the necessary activities of

††††† planning a meal - chopping, lifting etc.

 

The person cared for needs constant supervision either because of severe mental incapacity or physical disability.For example:

 

      During the day they have needed help with basic care - using the toilet,††† washing, dressing or eating,

Or

Continuous supervision throughout the day to avoid danger to themselves or others - this may include wandering or agitation.

 

  • During the night prolonged (20 minutes or more) or repeated (more than once) help for example to go to the toilet

Or

The carer is awake for a prolonged period or at frequent intervals, to watch over the cared for person to avoid danger to the person or someone else

 

There must also have been evidence that the above situations have been ongoing for at least three months and that this is expected to continue for at least a further six months. In this case you may be able to claim DLA straight away.

 

If the person is terminally ill they do not have to wait six months and will not have to show a need for care, as the highest rate care will be awarded anyway.

 

The level of care needed for the middle and higher rates is the same as the two levels of Attendance Allowance. In addition, the person must have had the level of disability for three months before a claim can be made. If the person is terminally ill they do not have to wait for the six month rule for DLA and will not have to show a need for care, as the highest rate for care would be awarded anyway.

 

Terminally ill means suffering from a progressive disease where death would reasonably be expected within a six-month period. The GP surgery should have a form that is especially for this situation. It is the DS.1500 and is to be completed when an application is being made for DLA on the grounds of terminal illness.

 

 

For the mobility component

 

For higher rate mobility - one of the following must apply: -

 

1)     The person is unable or virtually unable to walk (the DWP will want to know about the speed, length of time, distance and manner of the individuals waking ability when walking outdoors).If someone is caused severe discomfort by walking then the above criteria should be completely disregarded)

OR

2)     The exertion of walking may cause danger to health or life, eg, the person has a heart condition, chronic bronchitis or asthma and walking could bring on an attack

OR

3)     Is both deaf and blind and needs help outdoors

OR

4)     Is a double amputee or born with no feet or legs

OR

5)     Gets the high-test rate of DLA care component and is severely mentally impaired and has extremely disruptive or dangerous behavioural problems

 

If applying for the higher rate mobility component the Department of Work and Pensions may seek medical evidence from the cared for persons GP, or ask them to undergo a medical examination.

 

For lower rate mobility

 

The person you care for would have problems walking and would have to satisfy one of the criteria listed above for Lower rate mobility

Or

The person would be mentally disabled and in need of guidance and supervision for most of the time when walking outside or walking on unfamiliar routes.

 

 

What is involved when filling in the form?

 

The form is a self-assessment form.Someone who knows the person well, eg, carer, relative, GP is asked what the person claiming is suffering from.The rest of the form is completed by, or on behalf of the person.It is advisable to contact a local organisation that specialises in filling these forms in such as Citizens Advice Bureau, Carers Centre, Age Concern or Alzheimer's worker.

 

To order a claim pack, contact the Department of Work and Pensions on 0800 - 882200.This is also a help line for enquiries from carers and people with disabilities.

 

 

Carers Allowance

 

What is it?

 

This was called Invalid Care Allowance until April 2003. It is a weekly benefit paid to a carer for the care they give to a disabled person.The person cared for can be your husband or wife, partner, parent, neighbour, relative or friend.

 

You must be aged at least 16 to qualify.There is no upper age limit.Carers aged 65 and over can claim Carers Allowance provided they meet the conditions outlined below.If you are over 65- Carers Allowance for people over 65 will only benefit carers on lower income and those carers with no Retirement Pension or reduced rate of Retirement Pension.Carers Allowance overlaps with Retirement Pension so you will not receive Carers Allowance if you have a Retirement Pension, which is worth more than Carers Allowance.

 

What needs or benefits the person you care for must have in order for you to claim Carer's Allowance?

 

You may be able to get Carer's Allowance if

 

The person you are caring for is in receipt of Attendance Allowance (higher rate only)

 

Or

 

The middle or higher rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance

 

You are caring for 35 hours or more a week (you donít have to be caring every day of the week)

 

You cannot claim Carer's Allowance if you are working and earning more than an average of £79 a week.This is earnings after the following had been deducted

 

  • Income Tax
  • Some National Insurance contributions
  • Half of any money you pay towards a personal or occupational pension
  • Costs of providing child care
  • Costs of paying someone to look after the person you normally care for (not a close relative)
  • Some other expenses

 

You cannot claim Carer's Allowance if you are studying full time.

 

If I can claim Carer's Allowance how much would it pay a week?

 

Please note the amount listed is a guide only, as everyoneís circumstances are individual.

£44.35 a week

The person I care for is in receipt of Disabled Living Allowance, but does not get Care Component.

 

You will not be eligible for Carer's Allowance if this is the case.

 

If you think the persons needs have changed or that the decision to award care component was unfair you can ask for the Department of Works and Pensions to look at the decision again.Ask your local citizens advice bureau,welfare rights or carers centre for help with this.Some organisations specialise in helping people to appeal against decisions.

 

What if the person I care for does not live with me?

 

If the person you care for does not live with you they may be entitled to extra Income Support called the Severe Disability Premium.This is an extra £42.95 a week but can only be paid if the carer does not receive Carer's Allowance.

 

I was claiming Carer's Allowance Before 28th October 2002.

 

Before 28th of October 2002, carers aged 65 and over did not qualify for Carer's Allowance.This restriction was removed from 28th of October 2002.

If the person you are caring for dies, and you were claiming Carer's Allowance it will continue to be paid for a further 8 weeks.

 

Will Carer's Allowance Affect other benefits that I am claiming?

 

Carer's Allowance cannot be received by anyone who is on another benefit which is "worth more" such as Incapacity Benefit.

 

If you are in receipt of an "overlapping" benefit, you will be credited with Class 1 Contributions if you claim carerís allowance, even if you are not paid it because of the overlapping benefit rule.

 

What if my partner receives an addition for me on another benefit?

 

If your partner receives an addition for you on another benefit such as Retirement Pension or Incapacity Benefit you will be paid Carers Allowance instead of the addition.

 

Does Carers Premium affect other benefits?

 

Carers Allowance qualifies you for a Carers Premium of £25.10 a week

 

This will increase your Income Support, Income-Based Job Seekers Allowance, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit.

 

The Carers Premium will also allow you to earn £25.00 per week before the means tested benefits are reduced.

 

If you receive any of these benefits you should inform the Department of Works and Pensions and local council office that you are now in receipt of Carers Allowance and ask them to award the carer premium from the date it was awarded.

 

I can't get Carer's Allowance because of an overlapping benefit, what happens to my Carer's Premium?

 

If the only reason you do not claim Carer's Allowance is that you receive an overlapping benefit such as Retirement Pension, Incapacity Benefit, Bereavement Benefits, you need to claim Carer's Allowance even though you will not receive it, to establish your entitlement to claim Carer's Premium.

 

Will claiming Carers Allowance count towards pension contributions?

 

From April 2002 the Second State Pension (S2P) replaced the State earnings-related pension scheme (SERPS). Certain disabled people, carers and people with low incomes will be credited for Second State Pension.

 

What if the claim is turned down?

 

Ask for a written explanation from the DWP you can do this by phone or in writing.

 

If you are still unhappy with the decision you can appeal to an independent tribunal

 

Or

 

You can ask the department of works and pensions to reconsider your claim, with the option to appeal to a Tribunal if you still disagree with their decision.

 

If you want to appeal to an independent Tribunal you must put this in writing within one month of the original decision on your claim, or within one month of the reconsideration decision of your claim.

 

 

 

 

We are constantly looking to improve our information.It helps if you let us know whether the information in this fact sheet was/was not useful and if there are other fact sheets that you would have found helpful that we have not yet provided.

 

While the information contained in these fact sheets is believed to be correct DISC does not accept liability for any error/s it may contain.