DWP confirms PIP shake-up will also look at eligibility for Carer's Allowance

A proposed shake-up of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) will also take into account the impact on Carer's Allowance, the Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed
A proposed shake-up of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) will also take into account the impact on Carer's Allowance, the Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed -Credit:Getty

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed that it will consider the impact on Carer's Allowance as part of its proposed overhaul of Personal Independence Payment (PIP). The DWP is currently planning significant changes to PIP in the coming months which could see payments replaced with vouchers and grants for treatment and equipment.

Yet while this could mean major disruption for the 3.5million people claiming the disability benefit, any proposed changes could also have a knock on effect to their caregivers eligibility for Carer's Allowance too. At present, there is a certain degree of overlap between PIP and Carer's Allowance, as eligibility for the latter allowance requires the person they are looking after to be in receipt of a disability benefit such as PIP in order to prove that they need care.

In addition, some people on PIP are also able to claim Carer's Allowance on top because they look after a partner or child who also has disabilities. But if PIP payments are stopped, reduced or restricted to specific cases because of the proposed reforms, it could affect someone's eligibility for Carer's Allowance and, as a result, the financial support they receive from the Government.

READ MORE: DWP-funded trial in Greater Manchester backs hundreds of disabled adults in employment

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas raised her concerns about the changes with the DWP
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas raised her concerns about the changes with the DWP -Credit:Getty

Figures show that there are currently 3.5 million people claiming PIP and 991,000 people receiving Carer's Allowance, reports Birmingham Live.

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion) asked the DWP if it would consider the impact of PIP changes on Carer's Allowance in response to the current reform proposals. Ms Lucas queried the assessment of the impact of proposed changes to Personal Independence Payment on unpaid carers and their eligibility for Carer's Allowance.

In a written reply, Mims Davies, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, stated that the new consultation into PIP changes, which will run until 23 July, will consider any potential effects on carers who receive the Carer's Allowance benefit, currently set at £81.90 per week.

Ms Davies elaborated: "Modernising Support for Independent Living: The Health and Disability Green Paper examines various options to reshape the current welfare system so we can provide better-targeted support to those most in need. We are considering these options through our 12-week consultation which was published on Monday 29 April and will close on Monday 22 July at 11:59pm. Any possible impacts on unpaid carers and their eligibility to receive Carer's Allowance will be considered as necessary."

She provided some comfort to those worried about the effect of the changes on their benefit payments, adding: "There will be no immediate changes to PIP, or to health assessments. All scheduled PIP assessments and payments will proceed as normal, and claimants should continue to engage as usual and provide any necessary information or updates regarding their circumstances."

A carer helping an elderly woman
Proposed changes to Personal Independence Payments could have a knock on effect on eligibility for Carer's Allowance -Credit:Getty Images / Jacobs Stock Photography Ltd

"We encourage everyone to respond to the consultation which can be found here so that we are able to hear from as many disabled people, people with health conditions, their representatives, and local stakeholders as possible on these important issues."

Carer's Allowance has been in the news recently after it emerged that tens of thousands of recipients were being asked to pay back the benefit because they had breached the rule around how much a carer is allowed to earn. To qualify for the allowance, one must not earn more than £151 per week.

Data for 2022-23 indicates that 26,700 carers were instructed to repay sums related to overearnings. Over 800 individuals are repaying amounts between £5,000 and £20,000, while 36 are repaying in excess of £20,000 relating to Carer's Allowance.

According to the DWP: "We are committed to fairness in the welfare system, with safeguards in place for managing repayments, while protecting the public purse. Claimants have a responsibility to inform DWP of any changes in their circumstances that could impact their award, and it is right that we recover taxpayers' money when this has not occurred."

It's now considering implementing a targeted alert system by sending text messages or emails to claimants who might have received an overpayment as indicated by HMRC earnings data. This would push individuals to report changes promptly before any significant overpayments accrue.

However, no date has been proposed for the roll-out of this alert system yet.