Carer's Allowance claimants face losing payments and taking financial hit 'for decades'

Carers' experts have warned the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) earnings limit needs addressing after the general election on Thursday. An earnings limit means you do not qualify if you earn more than £151 a week.

“Too often for unpaid carers in work, the immense stresses and challenges of the role with little support can mean having to reduce working hours or come out of the workplace altogether,” says Helen Walker, the chief executive of Carers UK. “This can have a significant impact on household finances, exacerbated by the current cost of living crisis.”

“Removing unnecessary pressures and ensuring those who can, and want to, remain in paid work is essential,” Walker says. She went on: "There are clear problems in the way that it’s delivered, making even small amounts of work challenging.

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"Raising the earnings limit is something that would help more carers to stay in paid work and help avoid some devastating overpayments.” Stephen Lowe from Just Retirement says carer’s allowance was never intended to be a “wage” or payment for caring services.

“However, if the rules are stopping or limiting people from taking up employment and earnings opportunities that are available to them, then we have to question whether it is fit for purpose" Mr Lowe said ahead of the General Election on Thursday.

"That loss of income and other work benefits such as employer pension contributions is likely to have an impact on their lives for decades to come, as well as on the businesses who lose key staff," he also warned. Ms Walker said: “The last decade has seen a significant rise in the number of hours of unpaid care being provided and a reduction in social care available."

She said: "Our recent YouGov research revealed that 62% of UK adults – the equivalent of 10 million current or former unpaid carers – said they have had no choice about taking on an unpaid caring role.”