Carer’s Allowance: Rishi Sunak urged to increase benefit payment as Budget looms | Personal Finance | Finance
Unpaid carers are said to be one of the most vulnerable groups, struggling to pay for rising energy and food. The Prime Minister is being urged to raise the rate of Carer’s Allowance in a bid to mitigate the effect of the cost of living crisis.
Carer’s Allowance is one the primary benefit payments given by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
However, the Government has yet to confirm by how much the benefit payment will be raised for next year.
Currently, Carer’s Allowance is £69.70 a week if you care for someone at least 35 hours a week.
Recent research carried out by Carers UK found that 16 percent of carers are currently in debt.
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This figure increases to two in five unpaid carers in the country who are receiving Carer’s Allowance.
The Government is urged to step in to increase the rate, especially with the Autumn Budget days away.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Sunak said: “I always acted in a way to protect the most vulnerable.
“That’s because it is the right thing to do and those are the values of our compassionate party.
She explained: “We know that many carers providing round the clock care are at crisis point – bearing the brunt of exceptionally high inflation, including a rapid rise in the cost of food and energy and having to turn to food banks.
“Reducing their electricity and food consumption is just not an option for some, without putting the older or disabled person they support at risk. Carers receiving Carer’s Allowance cannot easily work or increase their hours due to the demanding nature of their caring commitments.”
Specifically, she urged the Government to consider an additional £500 payment to help carers most in need throughout the coming months.
She added: “Carers UK is also calling for carers to receive a winter top up payment of at least £500, so that they have a better chance of managing and keeping themselves and their loved ones well in the short term.
“From his time as Chancellor, Rishi Sunak knows the huge challenges our social care system faces – and so it is vital that long-term investment in social care is delivered, to enable carers to take breaks and get back into the labour market if they wish to. Having forgone any meaningful support for so long, carers are now burnt out, exhausted, and their health and livelihoods are in jeopardy.”
Thousands of carers are due a £245 boost this December which could prove a lifeline during the cost of living crisis. Carers in Scotland who are eligible for Carer’s Allowance are due a cash boost of £245 from the DWP. Carers don’t need to apply for this help as it is paid automatically to those receiving Carer’s Allowance.
A DWP spokesperson said: “We recognise the valuable role of unpaid carers and remain committed to helping them financially, along with their health, wellbeing and employment chances. Universal Credit includes a carer’s element worth more than £160 a month and since 2010 we have increased Carer’s Allowance, putting an additional £700 a year in carers’ pockets. Those in receipt of Carer’s Allowance may be entitled to other support, including benefits.
“We know that living with a long-term illness or disability can impact on living costs, which is why we are supporting six million disabled people with an extra £150 payment. This is part of the £37 billion package of support, which will see eight million low-income households receiving at least £1,200 of direct payments this year. We urge people to check they are getting all the help to which they are entitled.”