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Benefits guidance - FAQs

On this page, we summarise some of the common questions carers are often asking us about benefits during this time. For more detailed information about specific changes to benefits, assessments and other support, see our A-Z of changes

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At this time, does providing emotional support count towards the 35 hours threshold needed for receiving Carer's Allowance?

The government has confirmed that providing emotional support counts towards the Carer’s Allowance threshold of 35 hours of care. This:

  • applies to carers who live in a different household from the disabled person and whose only contact with them is now going to be in the form of emotional support via the telephone and social media
  • applies to new claims as well as for those already receiving Carer's Allowance.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, new measures, which came into effect from 30 March 2020, have enabled unpaid carers to continue to claim Carer’s Allowance if they have a temporary break in caring, because they or the person they care for gets coronavirus or if they have to self-isolate because of it. The relaxation of these rules for claiming Carer's Allowance has been extended until August 2021.

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I’m due for an assessment for my welfare benefits. Will my benefits be affected?

During the pandemic, you are not required to attend an assessment for a disability benefit face to face. This also applies to health checks for Universal Credit. You can read the latest guidance on the website.

In the light of COVID-19, the standard rate in Universal Credit and Tax Credits has been increased by £20 a week for one year from 6 April, meaning you will be up to £1,040 better off if you are claiming. If you're claiming Universal Credit, the rules around minimum income, will also be relaxed for the duration of the outbreak. For further details, see the latest news on the website and our Universal Credit page

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I was due to have my disability benefit reviewed – what happens now?

The government confirmed that reviews and reassessments for disability benefits would be suspended for three months (from 24 March). This measure was designed to be temporary and to reassure those claiming disability benefits, that they would continue during this time. If you have any concerns about your benefits and their review periods, contact the Disability Service Centre for help and support:

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What does the government’s new Coronavirus Act mean for me as a carer?

The government has introduced some changes to the Care Act (2014) on a temporary basis and only to be applied when absolutely essential. They are designed to help local authorities if their workforce is significantly reduced or the demand on social care increases to the point where they are forced to alter or prioritise their services.

For carers, this still means that local authorities must respond to requests for care and support, but if your local authority has decided to “switch on” these easements, detailed assessments may not be carried out as before. If you’re asking for a Needs Assessment for the person you care for or a Carer's Assessment for yourself, we would suggest asking if there are any delays or additional information you need to be aware of, and discussing any concerns you have.

All assessments and reviews must be followed up and completed in full once the easements end. People will not currently have to undergo a financial assessment but may be charged retrospectively for any care and support received during this period.

For more details, refer to the government’s guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to the Care Act 2014.

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