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If you’re eligible for the Carers Element of Universal Credit, you could receive up to an additional £42.89 a week (or £185.86 a month). Here, we’ve explained how to apply for the Carers Element of Universal Credit, along with what it is and whether you’re eligible.
Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit to support people with living costs who are either unemployed, unable to work or on a low income. This benefit is made up of a standard allowance and several additional elements that you could also be eligible for, with one of these being the Carers Element.
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If you provide at least 35 hours of care a week for a disabled person who claims certain disability benefits, you could be eligible for the Carers Element of Universal Credit. This is an extra amount you’ll receive in addition to your regular Universal Credit payment.
While your earnings don’t prevent you from claiming the Carer Element, it’s still part of Universal Credit which is means-tested, meaning your savings (above £16,000) and income could affect the overall amount of Universal Credit you’re entitled to.
Only one Carer Element is allowed per claimant. If multiple people care for the same person, they can decide between them who will get this Carer Element.
To be eligible for the Carers Element of Universal Credit, you need to claim Universal Credit and be providing at least 35 hours of care a week to somebody who receives one of the following benefits:
The person you care for doesn’t need to live with you. You also don’t need to claim Carer’s Allowance to qualify for the Carers Element of Universal Credit.
To apply for the Carers Element of Universal Credit, you’ll need to provide the following information to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP):
You can call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644 and provide them with this information. This helpline is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm.
For the 2023/2024 financial year, the Carers Element of Universal Credit is worth £185.86 a month. This increased by 10.1% from £168.81 in April 2023.
This amount will be paid on top of your Universal Credit payment and will go into the same account. It usually takes five weeks to receive your first Universal Credit payment and is normally paid every month.
We’ve summarised how much you could get in the table below. We also have a guide explaining all of the different Universal Credit rates.
|How Much Extra Universal Credit You Could Get||2023/2024 Rate||2022/2023 Rate||Increase|
If you make a joint claim, you and your partner can receive separate Carers Elements if you’re both classed as eligible. However, to both be eligible, you can’t be caring for the same person.
If you receive the Carers Element of Universal Credit, the person you care for will lose their entitlement to the Severe Disability Premium (if they were already getting this).
Meanwhile, if you already receive Carer’s Allowance, you should automatically get a Carer Premium or Carers Element added to your Universal Credit payment.
Some benefits are referred to as ‘legacy benefits’, and these are being gradually replaced by Universal Credit. These are:
Receiving one of these legacy benefits and also meeting the criteria for Carer’s Allowance could make you eligible for a Carer Premium or Carers Element.
Some benefits could affect how much Universal Credit you’re able to receive, such as Statutory Sick Pay and New Style Employment and Support Allowance, However, disability benefits such as Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Attendance Allowance won’t affect how much Universal Credit you can get.
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You won’t automatically get the Carers Element of Universal Credit. Instead, if you’re eligible, you’ll need to apply for this. If your application is successful, this element will be added to your maximum amount of Universal Credit.
You can get the Carers Element of Universal Credit backdated, but this has to be agreed to in the first place.
Written by our team of experts and designed to help families fund later life care in England.