Benefits for Students in Scotland Handbook
Part 1: Benefits and tax credits
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Part 1: Benefits and tax credits
Chapter 1: Carer's allowance

This chapter covers:

1. What is carer's allowance (below)

2. Who is eligible (below)

3. Amount of benefit (Cross reference)

4. Claiming carer's allowance (Cross reference)

5. Challenging a decision (Cross reference)

6. Other benefits and tax credits (Cross reference)

Basic facts

– Carer's allowance (CA) is paid to people who care for someone with a severe disability.

– Part-time students are eligible to claim.

– Full-time students cannot claim.

– CA is not means tested, but you cannot get it if you work and earn more than £116 a week.

– Getting CA qualifies you for a carer premium in your income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance, income-related employment and support allowance and housing benefit, or a carer element in universal credit.

 

1. What is carer's allowance

Carer's allowance (CA) is for people who spend at least 35 hours a week looking after a disabled person (an adult or child). The disabled person must be getting attendance allowance, the middle or highest rate of disability living allowance care component or the daily living component of personal independence payment. The amount of CA you get is not means tested and your student loan, grant or other income does not affect it. Part-time students can get CA, but full-time students are not eligible.


2. Who is eligible

You are eligible if you are a part-time studentand you satisfy the basic rules on Cross reference. You are not eligible if you are in full-time education.


Full-time education

You are in full-time education if an overall consideration of your course requirements and your performance against these suggests this. If you are on a full-time course of education, you are normally taken to be in full-time education for the purpose of carer's allowance (CA).Footnote If you think that, given your circumstances, you are not in full-time education, you may be able to argue that you are a part-time student.Footnote

You are also treated as being in full-time education if you 'attend a course' (see below) at a university, college or other educational establishment for 21 hours or more a week.Footnote These 21 hours include not just classes, lectures and seminars, but also individual study for course work. Meal breaks and unsupervised study are ignored. However, you are regarded as studying under supervision if you are doing course work, whether at home or at college, alone or in the presence of a supervisor.Footnote Unsupervised study is work beyond the requirements of the course.

If your college or university says that it expects students to spend 21 hours or more a week in supervised study and classes, the DWP usually assumes that you are in full-time education.

In practice, if you want to show that you spend fewer hours on course work than the college or university expects, you need to provide detailed evidence and be prepared to appeal. If your particular circumstances mean that you are not expected to satisfy the normal requirements of the course (eg, because you are exempt from certain subjects), you may be able to argue that your hours of study are fewer than those expected of other students on the course.Footnote


Time out from a course

'Attending' a course means being enrolled on and pursuing a course.Footnote You are treated as still being in full-time education during short and long vacations, and until the course ends or you abandon it or are dismissed from it. You are still regarded as being in full-time education during temporary interruptions.Footnote If you have taken time out to care for someone and the interruption is not temporary (eg, if you have agreed with your institution to take a whole year out of your course), you may be able to claim CA.Footnote


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 or constant attendance allowance. You are not working and earning more than £116 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

You get £62.70 a week (April 2017 rate).


4. Claiming carer's allowance

You claim carer's allowance on Form DS700, available from local Jobcentre Plus offices or by phoning the Carer's Allowance Unit on 0345 608 4321. You can also claim online at www.gov.uk. 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 ‘reconsideration’ (the law refers to it as a ‘revision’). 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
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