How to get benefit support when someone has an accident

Q. My partner had a serious accident last month and needs assistance. She has applied for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), but we know she can't be paid until three months after the accident. I am on Universal Credit and my commitment for the benefit is to seek work fulltime.

Friday, 25th October 2019, 3:00 pm
Updated Friday, 25th October 2019, 4:00 pm
Extra support is available to pay for caring.

My partner is not currently included in my Universal Credit claim as she lives in her own home but I am now having to help with her care needs almost every day. I can't look for work as much as I should as I need to help her, but I am worried that my claim will be sanctioned.

A. You can amend the terms of your Universal Credit (we would also advise to discuss this with your job coach too) via your Universal Credit journal to advise you now have caring responsibilities. You do not currently have to be receiving Carer’s Allowance in order to do this, your Universal Credit payments will remain the same you will simply not have to meet your current job seeking commitments to receive the benefit.

If your partner’s PIP application succeeds for the Daily Living element of PIP, whether standard or enhanced, then you can then make a claim for Carer’s Allowance. Although Carer’s Allowance is classed as income for Universal Credit being in receipt of Carer’s Allowance will add the Carer’s Addition to your Universal Credit award so overall your benefit income will increase. You can only receive the extra carer’s payment to Universal Credit when Carer’s Allowance is in payment, it will not be paid during the period when you provide care but when you do not get Carer’s Allowance.

We would also advise that if you do decide to proceed with a claim for Carer’s Allowance that your partner also has a benefit check in case it adversely affects any benefits she may be getting or be entitled to claim.

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Q. I am a lone parent with two children. I am moving house next month and I am worrying about paying for a removal van and other expenses that I know will creep up. I haven’t been able to save up as I only get Income Support and Child Tax Credit. Is there anything the Jobcentre can do to help me?

A. If you have been claiming Income Support for 6 months then you would be eligible to apply for a Budgeting Loan from the DWP Social Fund. A Budgeting Loan can be paid for removal expenses, furniture and household goods and clothes, etc.

A budgeting loan is an interest free loan from the DWP. You cannot owe more than £1,500 to the Social Fund and loans generally have to be repaid within 2 years. The lowest amount you can borrow is £100 and the most is dependent on your circumstances; £348 for single people, £464 for couples and £812 if you claim Child Benefit.