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

A carer helping an elderly woman
The DWP says its planned overhaul of Personal Independence Payment - which could stop or restrict cash payments for many - will look at the impact on Carer's Allowance, which includes PIP in its eligibility criteria -Credit:Getty Images / Jacobs Stock Photography Ltd

Proposals for a shake-up of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) will also examine the impact on Carer's Allowance, the Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed. It is planning major changes to PIP that could see payments replaced with vouchers and grants to pay for treatment and equipment.

There is a certain degree of overlap between PIP and Carer's Allowance. If someone wants to apply for Carer's Allowance, the person they are looking after must be receiving 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.


Green Party MP Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion) asked the DWP if it would consider the impact of PIP changes on Carer's Allowance. Figures show that there are 3.5 million people claiming PIP (including 78,000 in Birmingham, the largest number of any local authority in the UK) and 991,000 people receiving Carer's Allowance (including 35,000 in Birmingham, again the highest number in the UK).

Ms Lucas asked what assessment has been made of the impact of proposed changes to Personal Independence Payment on unpaid carers and their eligibility to receive Carer's Allowance.

In a written response, Mims Davies, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, said the new consultation into PIP changes, running until July 23, will examine any knock-on effects on carers who receive the Carer's Allowance benefit, which currently pays £81.90 a week.

Ms Davies explained: "Modernising Support for Independent Living: The Health and Disability Green Paper looks at different options to reshape the current welfare system so that we can provide better-targeted support to those who need it most. 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 offered some reassurance to those concerned 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.

"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 headlines recently after tens of thousands of recipients have had to repay the benefit because they broke the rules by exceeding the amount they're allowed to earn in wages. People can't take home more than £151 a week in order to qualify for receiving Carer's Allowance.

In 2022-23, figures show that 26,700 carers were asked to repay sums relating to excess earnings. More than 800 were repaying sums between £5,000 and £20,000, and 36 were repaying more than £20,000 in Carer's Allowance.

The DWP said: "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 is now looking at the idea of contacting affected claimants by targeted text messages or emails when a potential overpayment has been flagged up through earnings data recorded by HMRC. This would encourage people to report changes at an early stage before any overpayments have built up. But no date has yet been set for introducing this alert system.

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