Can I claim carer’s allowance if I’m on other benefits?

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Q. My wife and I are in receipt of our state pensions and a small amount from Pension Credit.

My wife has been awarded Attendance Allowance of £83.10 per week due to a recent diagnosis for Parkinson’s. Am I able to make a claim for Carer’s Allowance so that I can look after her?

A. You are not able to receive both a State Pension and Carer’s Allowance at the same time as they are considered overlapping benefits; so you can only receive the higher of the two payments, which is usually your State Pension.

You can, however, still make an application for Carer’s Allowance and be turned down for the benefit – but you would still be treated as a carer with an ‘underlying entitlement’ to Carer’s Allowance.

The underlying entitlement is sufficient for you to receive a Carer’s Addition in your Pension Credit award, which would increase your payments by £34.95 per week.

Q. I have been on the sick from work for two weeks and my doctor has just given me a new sick note for another four weeks.

Should I make a claim for Employment and Support Allowance now or just continue, as I am on Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)?

A. Employment and Support Allowance generally starts at £73.10 per week for single people, whereas SSP is paid at £89.35 per week.

SSP can be paid for up to 28 weeks in total and any working tax credit that you receive can also be paid for up to 28 weeks while you are sick from work. 
If you are planning to stay in this job, you would continue to be paid SSP for the full 28 weeks, and you could then make a claim for Employment and Support Allowance from the Government if you are still not able to return to work.

Any working tax credit would stop at this point (you would just receive the four week run on at the end of your claim).

If you end your employment then you would be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance immediately, but your working tax credit would end (other than the four-week run-on).

Q. My husband has been receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) of £73.10 per week for the past year while I have been working.

My job has now ended and I want to be added to his claim, but I don’t know how to do that. I haven’t been able to get through to Jobcentre Plus on the phone.

A. Your husband would need to complete a JSA3 form to assess the income that you have as a couple and to see if you can be added to his claim. As a couple you should receive £114.85 per week.
Your husband’s claim is likely to have started as a Contributions Based JSA claim, which means that it can be paid alongside your own earnings.

However, these claims only last for six months, and it should then be assessed as an income-based claim.

This would mean that your wages would reduce the amount of JSA that is payable to your husband.

Usually the first £10 of your wage is ignored, but anything above that would reduce the JSA.

It may be that your husband’s JSA is not being assessed correctly, as he should not still be receiving £73.10 per week.