DWP ‘should ensure’ Carer’s Allowance payments rise in line with inflation, charities warn | Personal Finance | Finance

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Earlier today, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate of inflation soared to a 41-year high of 11.1 percent. One of the most vulnerable groups to this economic downturn are unpaid carers who often claim Carer’s Allowance. Various organisations are teaming up to place pressure on the Government to raise Carer’s Allowance payment in line with inflation.

A joint letter has been sent to Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt MP, ahead of his Autumn Budget tomorrow.

It is calling on him to take into account the plight of unpaid carers and consider further targeted support for this group.

As well as aligning Carer’s Allowance payments with the inflation rate, the coalition is pushing for the earning limit for the DWP to be hiked to 21 hours per week.

On top of this, there are calls for potential top-up payments for unpaid carers in recognition of the unique financial difficulties this group faces.

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Among the organisations who have signed an open letter calling for a payment increase for those on Carer’s Allowance are Age UK, Carer’s UK and the MS Society.

Helen Walker, the chief executive of Carers UK, explained: “Unpaid carers on low incomes and 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.

“In his Autumn Statement this Thursday, the Chancellor must ensure unpaid carers are not overlooked for targeted support from the Government yet again.

“At a minimum, he should ensure that all benefits including Carer’s Allowance are uprated in line with inflation.

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“To recognise the additional financial pressure being placed on unpaid carers, they should also receive a winter top up payment to help them navigate the difficult months ahead.”

Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s charity director, added: “Unpaid carers are the bedrock of care and support in this country and we need to do everything we can to help them.

“It’s been such a tough couple of years for them because of the pandemic and we are worried that for some, the cost-of-living crisis they are facing could be the final straw.

“At Age UK we hear from many older carers who are worn out and for whom money worries are an increasing concern, so we are delighted to join with Carers UK and others in this campaign.”

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What other support is available for carers?

Residents in Scotland who are in receipt of Carer’s Allowance are able to receive an additional benefit payment.

Carer’s Allowance Supplement is payment of £245.70, which is made twice a year, for those who claim the original DWP benefit on a certain date.

On top of this, unpaid carers who assist someone for at least 20 hours per week could be able to claim Carer’s Credit.

This support gives people vital National Insurance credits which can be used to top-up their state pension payments.

Previously speaking to Express.co.uk, a Government spokesperson said: “We recognise the valuable role of unpaid carers and we’re spending record amounts to support them financially, along with their health, wellbeing and job chances.

“Carer’s Allowance pays £800 more a year compared to 2010 and families can receive £2,000 a year through the carer’s element in Universal Credit.

“Those receiving Carer’s Allowance may also be entitled to further support through the benefits system and the £22billion worth of government action to help families with the cost of the living.”

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