Carer’s Allowance £7 earnings limit rise lets down carers and limits choices once again

3 mins read

Wednesday 30 November 2022

Tags: disability, carers, benefits, carer's allowance

Last week the government announced that the Carer’s Allowance earnings limit will be raised to £139 a week from next April – a £7 increase.

Despite Contact, other charities and family campaigners calling for it to be raised to £200 per week (the equivalent of 21 hours at National Living Wage), the government has chosen to raise it by the bare minimum.

Disincentive to work

Una Summerson, Head of Campaigns at Contact, said: “This is hugely disappointing. Scores of parent carers have to limit their employment opportunities and are not able to make use of their skills and experience due to the ridiculously low earnings limit for Carer’s Allowance.

“The rules act as a disincentive to work and carers are unable to pay as much as they would like into their pensions.”

Limited choices

Celine works 12 hours a week in a school doing displays and photography. She would like to work more hours while her daughter Faye, who has a learning disability, is at college – but is unable to because she would lose her Carer’s Allowance.

Celine recently got a pay rise, which took her earnings over the Carer’s Allowance limit. She had to reduce her hours from 12 to 11 per week so she didn’t lose the vital benefit, so has effectively missed out on her pay rise.

She said: “It doesn’t take much to get up to the earnings threshold. It feels like the government is limiting our choices and telling us that we are only allowed minimum wage jobs. I want to work and earn more, I want to pay more into my pension, but I would be penalised for that.

“I have chosen to work in a school to fit around caring for my daughter. I love my job, but my choices were limited due to my caring responsibilities. This feels like another limit to our life choice as carers.

“It makes no sense not to encourage carers to use their skills and knowledge. Many of us would like to work, so why restrict that so drastically?”

Our campaign continues

In order to get Carer’s Allowance, earnings after allowable deductions must be no more than £132 per week (or £139 per week from April 2023). This means parent carers working more than 14 hours on the National Living Wage will find that their wages are over the Carer’s Allowance earnings limit. As a result, they will lose their entitlement to this vital benefit.

That’s why we joined forces with other disability and carers charities to call on the government to increase the Carer’s Allowance earnings limit to £199.50 per week (the value of 21 hours at the National Living Wage rate).

Despite the latest setback, we will continue to work with other charities and families to make the case for the earnings limit to be substantially raised at the next available opportunity.