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GOVERNMENT BOOST FOR CARERS

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Measures to extend the help available to carers have been passed by ...
Measures to extend the help available to carers have been passed by

Parliament to be implemented in October 2002 and April 2003.

The Regulatory Reform (Carer's Allowance) Order 2002

- extends the opportunity to claim Invalid Care Allowance (ICA) to

carers aged 65 and over

- increases entitlement to ICA for up to 8 weeks after the disabled

person dies

- changes the name of the benefit to 'Carer's Allowance', making it

clear it is for carers and their needs

Removing the upper age limit for claims to ICA means that carers age

65 or over will be able to claim ICA for the first time. Those

without a retirement pension, or on a reduced rate of retirement

pension, will be able to receive the benefit, increasing their income

by up to£42.45 a week from the end of October 2002.

It will also help carers receiving the Minimum Income Guarantee by

giving them access to the carer premium, currently£24.80 a week. An

estimated 40,000 older carers are expected to benefit over three

years.

From the end of October 2002 entitlement to ICA will continue for up

to 8 weeks after the disabled person dies, allowing carers time to

adjust and make plans for their future. An estimated 10,000 over

three years are expected to be helped by this measure.

Changing the name to 'Carer's Allowance' from April 2003 will

emphasise that the benefit is for carers and their needs, as well as

removing the negative connotations associated with the work

'Invalid'.

Notes

1. The Regulatory Reform (Carer's Allowance) Order 2002 was

approved on 29 May 2002. The legislative changes will take effect

from 28 October 2002 for the over 65 measure and the 8 week run-on,

and from 1 April 2003 for the name change.

- Advance claims from carers age 65 or over will be accepted from 28

July 2002, but entitlement will only start when the upper age limit

is abolished at the end of October.

- Claims will be subject to the same rules that apply to younger

carers. Other benefits will continue to affect payment of ICA.

2. The government's general approach to carers is outlined in

'Caring About Carers', the report of the National Carers Strategy,

published in February 1999. A great deal has already been achieved

to implement the Strategy and further work is continuing. The

package announced in autumn 2000 is worth over£500m in the first

three years alone and means that:

- over 200,000 people benefit from the£10 increase per week Carer

Premium;

- around 40,000 over three years will benefit from extending claims to

over 65s.

- carers are now able to earn£75 a week, after allowable expenses

without their allowance being withdrawn. All carers who are able to

combine working and caring could benefit by this measure.

- up to 10,000 people could benefit from allowing ICA to continue for

eight weeks after the disabled person has died.

3. The present weekly rate of ICA is £42.45

Additions: dependent adult £25.35

eldest child £ 9.65

other children £11.35

Weekly rate of Carer Premium £24.80

4. Around 400,000 people receive the benefit at a cost of£932

million annually.

5. Carers who already receive retirement pension or Bereavement

Benefits may not be able to receive ICA, but they retain

entitlement to it. This allows access to the carer premium paid

with income related benefits, such as Minimum Income Guarantee.

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