(Click here if you want to go straight to your further options)
The straight answer to this is ‘you probably don’t have any good options’. But there are a very few circumstances when you might still be entitled to Income Support, and the other benefit that goes with it.
|Note that I say ‘qualify for Carer’s Allowance’, not ‘get Carer’s Allowance’. This is because some people qualify for Carer’s Allowance because they satisfy conditions or of entitlement but don’t actually get paid it (normally because of something called the ‘overlapping benefit rules’). People in this situation are treated as though they were getting Carer’s Allowance.|
The only circumstances where there is any good news are the following ones:
- You are ‘regularly and substantially engaged in caring for another person’, who has claimed Attendance Allowance, or Disability Living Allowance, or Personal Independence Payment, but hasn’t yet had a decision on their claim, so you haven’t been able to claim Carer’s Allowance yet. This applies for up to 26 weeks.
- You are ‘regularly and substantially engaged in caring for another person’ who gets Attendance Allowance, or the middle or higher rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance, or either rate of the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment. You might notice that these are the same as one of the tests for Carer’s Allowance, so why not just claim Carer’s Allowance anyway? The important point here is that the other rules for Carer’s Allowance don’t apply here, so if you think you can argue that you are ‘regularly and substantially engaged in caring’ it won’t necessarily matter if you are caring for less than 35 hours per week.
- You are looking after a member of your family (your partner or one of your children) who is ‘temporarily ill’. This is only going to help you for a fairly short time but might get you through an immediate emergency.
If any of these things apply you may be entitled to Income Support, depending on your circumstances.
I'm going to give you three common scenarios here:
- ‘I am single, not in paid work, and am not planning to be in paid work (and I'm too young to get Pension Credit)’
- ‘I am single and in paid work (and I'm too young to get Pension Credit)’
- ‘I am one of a couple, and am caring for my partner (and we’re too young to get Pension Credit)’