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How long should one wait for an answer from Carers Allowance?

KessarianKessarian Posts: 3Member Listener
edited December 2018 in Carer's allowance
I was self employed before I moved in with my mother and started caring for her in January. I was advised to apply for Carers allowance as she would loose an element of Pension credit as I was living with her.I continued to be self employed but working one week in 6, during which time my mother went into temporary respite. I was asked to supply accounts relating to self employment, which I did and carers allowance was (eventually) approved. However in July this stopped, when I contacted them was told they needed more information on self employment, I supplied accounts up to July, which is what they asked for. Since then I have heard nothing, I have phoned repeatedly but got no clarity. The last time I phoned I was told the case was with a 'higher decision maker' and they would get back to me. But they never do, is it normal to wait this long? Maybe the mess of Universal Credit has created a back log but it is frustrating not to be able to communicate with the 'higher decision maker', the ones who answer the phone try to be helpful but they don't seem to know the back story so we keep starting again...and it never resolves. I don't understand what the problem is, as far as I can see I qualify to receive this as I don't earn more than £116 a week from self employment but my income does verry from one month to another. How long should I wait? Should I complain? Just seems interminable! My mother did indeed loose some of her pension credit so as a house hold we are worse off than if I had not applied.

Replies

  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Posts: 2,679Member Pioneering
    Kessarian,
    It sounds as if you were given good advice initially. Your mother will have lost the severe disability premium, which is quite a big bit of pension credit. She's lost that just because you're living with her (ie, she'd have lost it whether or not you applied for carer's allowance), so claiming carer's allowance (CA) is one way to make up the difference. 

    What's happened here is a suspension of benefit, where it was awarded but then stopped whilst the DWP seek more information. You can't appeal a suspension, but you can complain. July to December is far too long and you definitely should have had an outcome by now.

    Complaints can take time in themselves so you might want to go to your MP for help. Intervention from your MP can sometimes get results much more quickly!

    You may have already thought about this, but it's possible you might also be entitled to some universal credit itself if you applied. That would take into account your profit from self-employment, and your CA once it is back in payment. You'd have to report your profit every month though, so it is quite a lot of work for what may not be a huge amount of money, although one advantage of UC is that it could pay more in months when you earned less.

    Also for info, the carer's allowance earnings limit is currently £120 a week and is going up to £123 from April 2019.

    You can start your DWP complaint by following their complaints procedure. Getting help from an MP's constituency surgery might well get results more quickly, but if necessary, I would go through the whole procedure & make it clear what outcome you want (the CA with backdating, and I'd suggest a bit of compensation because you and your mother have lost out financially all this time, and you've gone to a lot of trouble to try to sort it out already).

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • KessarianKessarian Posts: 3Member Listener
    Thanks Will that sounds like good advice. I think I will make one more phone call and ask to speak to a manager (which seemed to result in a speedy resolution for another member of this group) and if that does not work make a complaint. 
    On another related matter, in case this is useful for anyone else, I had an interesting experience with the Financial Assessment team in relation to Contribution to Care payments. My mother, who is severely disabled, has 4 care visits a day and after assessment has been paying contributions towards her care (again only since I moved in). Recently she had another assessment to assess how much she should pay towards respite care. The next day the assessor phoned me and said that as I was living here and my mother had lost the severe disability payment she did not need to pay contribution to her care. No-one else had picked up on this (although they know my address is the same as my mothers), it just shows how random these decisions can be and how much depends on the helpfulness or knowledge of the person one speaks to, the moral being do your research and keep keeping on! I'm very grateful to that assessor as my mother did not have enough income for her outgoings and I would not have known this.
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