Benefits for Students in Scotland Handbook
Part 1: Benefits and tax credits
Chapter 1: Carer's allowance
2. Who is eligible
Basic rules
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Basic rules

As well as being a student who is eligible to claim, to qualify for CA you must satisfy all of the following conditions.Footnote You are aged 16 or over. You spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone. The person for whom you care gets the middle or highest rate of disability living allowance care component, the daily living component of personal independence payment, attendance allowance, constant attendance allowance or armed forces independence payment. You are not working and earning more than £123 a week. You satisfy certain rules on residence and presence in the UK and are not a 'person subject to immigration control'. See CPAG's Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook for details.


3. Amount of benefit

The amount of carer's allowance (CA) is £66.15 a week (April 2019 rate). In Scotland, you are also paid a supplement to increase your CA to the level of jobseeker's allowance. This is paid in two lump-sum payments each year.


4. Claiming carer's allowance

You claim carer's allowance on Form DS700, available from local Jobcentre Plus offices or from www.gov.uk/government/publications/carers-allowance-claim-form. You can also claim online at www.gov.uk/carers-allowance/how-to-claim. Your claim can be backdated for up to three months if you qualified during that earlier period.

Benefit is usually paid directly into a bank account.


5. Challenging a decision
If you think a decision about your carer’s allowance is wrong, you can ask the DWP to look at it again. This process is known as a ‘mandatory reconsideration’. Provided you ask within the time limit (usually one month), the DWP notifies you of the decision in a ‘mandatory reconsideration notice’. If you are still not happy when you get this notice, you can appeal to the independent First-tier Tribunal. If it was not possible to ask the DWP to reconsider the decision within a month, you can ask for a late revision (within 13 months), explaining why it is late. You can also ask the DWP to look at a decision again at any time if certain grounds are met – eg, if there has been an official error.
6. Other benefits and tax credits
The benefit cap does not apply if you get carer's allowance (CA).
The disabled person's benefit

Your entitlement to CA depends on the person for whom you care continuing to get her/his disability benefit. If her/his benefit stops, your benefit should also stop. To avoid being overpaid, make sure you tell the Carer's Allowance Unit if the disabled person's attendance allowance, disability living allowance, personal independence payment or armed forces independence payment stops being paid.

Note: although CA may mean more money for you, it may result in the person for whom you care losing some income support (IS), income-related employment and support allowance (ESA), pension credit or housing benefit (HB). If s/he lives alone, s/he may be getting a severe disability premium included in the assessment of these benefits. S/he cannot continue to get this premium if you get CA for her/him. See CPAG's Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook for details and, if in doubt, get advice before claiming.


Overlapping benefits

Although CA is not means tested, you cannot receive it at the same time as incapacity benefit, maternity allowance, severe disablement allowance, widowed parent's allowance, retirement pension, contribution-based jobseeker's allowance (JSA) or contributory ESA. If you are eligible for more than one benefit, you get whichever is worth the most.


Getting a carer premium or element

If you are a part-time student getting CA and claiming universal credit (UC), you are eligible for a carer element in your UC and you are not expected to look for work. If you are getting IS, income-based JSA, income-related ESA or HB, an extra carer premium is included in these benefits, even if your CA is not being paid because you are getting another benefit that overlaps with it.


Working tax credit
If you have a child(ren) and a partner and you get CA, you are eligible for working tax credit if your partner works at least 16 hours a week, rather than the usual 24.
Carer's allowance supplement
If you get carer's allowance on a 'qualifying date', you are entitled to a top-up payment from Social Security Scotland called a 'carer's allowance supplement'. Each payment covers a six-month period. The qualifying dates for 2019 are 15 April and 14 October, and the amount payable each time is £226.20. You must actually be receiving CA on the qualifying date - an 'underlying entitlement' is not enough. The CA supplement is disregarded for all means-tested benefits and tax credits. There is no need to make a claim for CA supplement - it should be paid automatically.
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