If you are entitled to Carer’s Allowance as the carer of your partner, it is likely (but not certain) that your partner is already getting income based Employment and Support Allowance for you both as a couple. It’s hard to see how they could be so disabled that you need to care for them 35 hours a week but still be regarded as fit for work, although sometimes the Jobcentre Plus doesn’t agree…
If you partner is getting income based Employment and Support Allowance
- You need to make sure that the Jobcentre Plus know that you have been awarded Carer’s Allowance. This is partly because you have an obligation to tell them about changes in circumstances, but also because if you have been awarded Carer’s Allowance your joint award should be increased by £34.95 per week (this is called the carer premium).
- In theory your partner could end their claim for Employment and Support Allowance and you could claim Income Support, it is hard to see why you would want to, as the weekly amount of benefit you would be getting would be less on Income Support than on Employment and Support Allowance. The only main circumstance in which you will probably be better off moving to Income Support is if your partner claimed ESA on or after 3rd April 2017 and is in the work-related activity group, in which case they will not get any addition to the basic ESA rate. Otherwise, their weekly ESA could be increased by £29.05, £36.20, or £59.05, depending on circumstances.
- You should already be getting full Housing Benefit as a couple
- You should tell the local authority (council) that you are now getting Carer’s Allowance, as it may affect the amount of Council Tax Support you receive (depending on where you live)
If your partner is not getting income based Employment and Support Allowance
- I recommend that first you try to find out why, if you don’t already know. If there’s no good reason and they have not already been refused, it makes sense for them to claim Employment and Support Allowance rather than for you to claim Income Support, for the reasons I have just given.
- If there is some good reason why your partner cannot get Employment and Support Allowance, you have the right to claim Income Support on behalf of you both, because you are a carer. The amount you get will be reduced if you have other income (although some income is ignored)or if you have too much savings or other capital: Crucially, the Carer’s Allowance itself is counted as income. You can claim Income Support by phoning the Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688.
- If you do get awarded Income Support, this should also entitle you to full Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support as well. Bear in mind, though, being entitled to full Housing Benefit is not the same as getting all your rent paid.