Our Benefits Expert answers your questions

Our Benefits Expert might be able to help with your questions.
Our Benefits Expert might be able to help with your questions.

In this week’s column, our Benefits Expert answers your questions about appealing a decision and carer’s allowance payments.

Q. My Disability Living Allowance was reassessed recently and I was told that I would have to go onto Personal Independence Payment.

I completed the forms and went for an assessment, but they decided that I was not entitled to be paid anymore.

I am appealing this decision as my health has only got worse since I was last assessed.

I was advised to make an application for Attendance Allowance while my appeal is going through, but would that affect my chances of success?

A. You could make an application for Attendance Allowance which would be treated as an entirely new claim and would be assessed on its own merits.

The criteria for Attendance Allowance is different to Personal Independence Payment although it looks at some similar activities such as getting dressed, getting washed and dealing with your medication.

There is no mobility component to Attendance Allowance which can often make Personal Independence Payment the preferred benefit for people.

If your Personal Independence Payment appeal is successful then that would take effect and you would receive any shortfall of payments that you had missed out on.

If your appeal is not successful then you will be able to continue claiming Attendance Allowance.

Q. I am caring for my mother who has spinal problems.

She is going into hospital and is expected to be in hospital for around six weeks.

I understand that her disability benefits will stop after four weeks, but I am wondering about my Carer’s Allowance payments as I will still be visiting her every day and doing jobs at home for her.

A. You are correct that your mother’s disability benefits will stop after four weeks of being in hospital; this is the case for Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment and Attendance Allowance, unless paid for a child or someone who is terminally ill.

Unfortunately, your Carer’s Allowance will also stop at the point that the disability benefit ceases to be paid.

If you are receiving Income Support as a Carer then you can continue to receive that for up to eight weeks after your Carer’s Allowance ends, which would be 12 weeks in total from when your mother goes into hospital.

As Income Support is a means-tested benefit, your payments would increase while your Carer’s Allowance is not in payment, so you would actually receive Income Support at the same rate as Income Support and Carer’s Allowance usually are as a combined payment meaning that you will not be worse off financially.