Advice on working part time and claiming CA and IS

For the past 5 years I have been caring for my Dad full time. Late last year I got a part time job working 10 hours per week, so well below what I am allowed to earn as a carer. I was then called in for a interview at the Job Centre in February to discuss my change in circumstances. They said because I did not let them know about my job that I had to stop receiving Income Support and possibly pay that money back but they would agree to an arrangement I could afford.

So after a Mandatory Reconsideration they have decided that I still need to pay this money. The reason I never thought about telling the Job Centre is that all letters have DWP on them and with me being a full time carer, I never need to speak to the Job Centre directly, ever and before I started this job I had a work trial and even before the work trial I made several phone calls to the Carers Allowance Department. This is all on record I am told, every step of the way right up till me signing the contract, all my phone calls are on record. I did not know that you had to make separate phone calls and at the time I thought telling the Carers Allowance Department would be enough, after all it’s all under the DWP and what really got to me was not once was I ever told or informed that if you start working…you can no longer claim Income Support. Because the job is not many hours, I would never have taken the job had I known that.

So I can’t do anything it’s Saturday. I need to wait till Monday. I have a local Carers Centre which provides support and I called them when this happened and they said the same thing, if you work and try to earn up to £123 you can’t claim Income Support. They never told me this prior either. I have this letter through and in this letter it says ‘for the purposes of Income Support you can work whilst being a carer however you are required to inform Income Support when you start working and you are required to declare your earnings. I am satisfied had you notified us about you working this over payment would not have occured’.

So can anyone tell me if this has happened because you cannot claim Income Support and Carers Allowance and work at the same time or has this happened simply because I did not phone Income Support specifically and let them know I had started work? Also the way the letter is worded it comes across like I can claim Income Support whilst being a Carer and still be allowed to work part time (earning under £123 per week). But yet I had to sign off Income Support in February. Does anyone have any advice on this at all? And when I make the phone call on Monday asking about this, does anyone have any experience paying the money back? Will they accept a small amount each week? Currently I’m paying around £6 per week for a budgeting loan. Would they consider an amount like that?

Mmmm … looking at the the Government web site , it looks pretty clear
when claiming Income Support :

Income Support: Report a change of circumstances - GOV.UK

Report a change of circumstances
> You need to report changes to your circumstances so you keep getting the right amount of Income Support.

Your claim might be stopped or reduced if you do not report a change straight away.
A change of circumstance can include:

starting or stopping work, education, training or an apprenticeship.
moving house.
people moving into or out of the place you live (for example your partner or a child).
changing your name.
changes to the benefits you or anyone else in your house gets.
changes to other money you get (for example student loans or grants, sick pay or money you get from a charity).
changes to your pension, savings, investments or property.
going into hospital or a care home or sheltered accommodation
going abroad for any length of time

Call Jobcentre Plus if you’re not sure whether you need to report a change.

You may be prosecuted or have to pay a £50 penalty if you give wrong or incomplete information, or do not report changes straight away.

How to report

You can report a change of circumstances by:

calling the Jobcentre Plus helpline for existing benefit claims.
writing to the Jobcentre Plus office that pays your Income Support - the address is on the letters you get about your Income Support.

Jobcentre Plus - existing benefit claims
Telephone: 0800 169 0310
Textphone: 0800 169 0314
Welsh Language: 0800 328 1744
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm


The Carers Allowance Unit was notified but … was the Job Centre / Income Support Unit ?

Informing one unit does NOT automatically mean all units will be informed.

Therein lies the problem ?

A deduction from the information so provided … nothing more !

I didn’t think to look at any website when I started working because it’s all meant to be the same thing, the DWP, the Job Centre, the benefits etc etc, the asking for your NI number at the start of a phone call, the security questions. I’m a full time carer, I’ve no need to go near a Job Centre so no…it never crossed my mind to phone them. I thought phoning the Carers Allowance Department would therefore let everyone in the DWP know what I’m doing.

I think on Monday, because this still isn’t clear to me. Am i being asked to pay this money back because I didn’t let them specifically know about the job or am I being asked to pay it back because as a full time carer that is allowed to earn up to £123 per week here in Scotland I can no longer claim Income Support with it. If it’s the former I will pay the money back but I’d also like to claim Income Support again and start getting that £44 per week again and things can go back to normal.

I need them to tell me what the reason for this overpayment is and if it turns out I can be a full time carer and I can earn up to £123 per week and I can claim Income Support then I’d like to claim Income Support again.

Claiming Carers Allowance and Income Support … fine.

ANY earnings from employment will affect the level of Income Support.

( The weekly earning limit is NOT applicable in these circumstances … not CA + IS + Wage. )

Crunching some numbers through any online benefits calculator would have confirmed this.

Normally , a claimant will be told by how much when they report the change in circumstances.

By not reporting the change to the IS unit , the current problem has arisen.

By deduction , an overpayment has been made , this will need to be paid back.

How much per week / month ?

Down to the judge and jury on this one … the DWP.

So I could still get some Income Support?

Contingent on income.

If solely CA , highly probable.

If earning as well , that’s when the calculator comes out.

Strangely , somewhat simplified under Universal Credit.

If not already rolled out on your manor … be careful what you wish for ?

Well I’m working 10 hours at about £83 per week so I’m about £40 better off than what I was when it was just CA and IS. That’s why I said had I known this, there was no point in taking the job, especially when you consider travel expenses. So I don’t know how that works out, I’ll have to ask because if i am allowed some Income Support, why sign me off it?

For best case scenarios , numerous online benefit calculators are to be recommended.

As for income levels when claiming income related benefits , that’s a question best asked of Government.

You mentioned travel expenses. As far as CA is concerned, I thought that travel expenses were deducted from your income figure for CA?

Travel expenses ?

Depends whether the DWP allow them to be deducted against CA ?

If employed , highly unlikely.

The following is taken from the Low Income Tax Reform Group - I’ve highlighted the relevant part in bold

Carer’s Allowance – can deductible employment expenses help you qualify?
Published on 27 May 2016
In April 2016 the new National Living Wage was introduced, which saw the minimum wage for those aged 25 or over increase from £6.70 to £7.20 per hour. While this is good news for most low paid workers, it may have an adverse effect for those claiming Carer’s Allowance. Here we explain the problem and try and provide some helpful information to those affected.

Carer’s Allowance
Carer’s Allowance is paid at a weekly rate of £62.10 to carers who help look after someone with substantial caring needs for at least 35 hours a week. The person who is cared for must receive either disability living allowance (middle or higher rate care component), the daily living component of personal independence payment, attendance allowance, armed forces independence payment or constant attendance allowance (at or above the normal maximum rate with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit or basic (full day) rate with a War Disablement Pension).
You can find out more about Carer’s Allowance on our website.
Earnings limit
There are some conditions to be met in order to get Carer’s Allowance. One of them is that your earnings after allowable deductions must be no more than £110 per week. (‘Earnings’ includes money from employment and self-employment, but money you get from private or occupational pensions is not counted.) People with fluctuating earnings may be able to average their earnings over a certain period.
Prior to April 2016, someone aged 25 or over working 16 hours on the National Minimum Wage earned £107.20 per week. However, from April 2016, this person will have earnings of £115.20 per week and is at risk of losing all of their Carer’s Allowance.
A person in this position may be tempted to cut their hours so that they still qualify. However, depending on their circumstances, cutting their hours to below 16 could mean they no longer qualify for Working Tax Credit.
Allowable deductions
If you are affected, you may be able to make deductions from your earnings to help you retain your Carer’s Allowance payments without having to cut your hours.
These include:
Income tax and National Insurance contributions (NIC)
Half of any contributions that you make into a work or personal pension.
Certain business expenses that you as an employee pay for but your employer does not reimburse. Such an expense must, as for income tax purposes, be incurred in the performance of the duties of the employment and be wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred.
Examples of expenses for which deductions may be made are
special tools and clothing
professional fees and subscriptions
telephone calls made entirely for work purposes
business mileage or other work related travel expenses and any associated subsistence costs
some costs of working from home

Business mileage.

If one was to work part time in , say , a neighbouring town … weekly bus pass , say , £ 16 … and claim CA ,
said expense would not count as being deductible.

Would be odd if said claimant travelled with friend to same job , said friend also works part time but doesn’t claim
any benefits … one gets a deductible expense , the other doesn’t ?

Self employed expense ?

One can only try.

Do a FREE SAR to DWP all department. Expect a pile of paperwork they have 40 days to comply.

So awful that the DWP are desperate to get people into work, but when it comes to Carers becoming employed, they are penalised.

Carers are treated like pariah’s, look after the poorly for next to nothing, but if you get a job to keep some social stance, we will punish you.

The World we live in is so topsy turvy. An unemployed person, with no intention of gaining employment will receive more benefits than a carer spending 70 hours a week looking after a loved one, while still fitting in a 10 hour job to keep some dignity…

Yep … pretty good summary , Stephen.

Whilst matters have festered for decades , the real " High noon " for carers occured back in 2008 … where ALL
aspects of finance and caring were laid bare for all future carers to see for themselves :

Work-related costs and Carer’s Allowance

To qualify for Carer’s Allowance you must earn less than a weekly earnings limit (£123 from 1 April 2019). However, any childcare costs or replacement care costs associated with working can be deducted from your earnings when calculating whether you qualify for Carer’s Allowance.

You’re allowed to deduct up to half your net earnings to reflect any payments you make to someone (other than a close relative) to look after your child or to look after the severely disabled person you normally care for while you’re at work. This may reduce your earnings to a level where you qualify for Carer’s Allowance.

For instance, you may earn £180 per week but have replacement care costs of £80 per week (money you pay to someone to look after the severely disabled person you normally care for while you’re at work). In this case you would still qualify for Carer’s Allowance, because your earnings after deductions would be below the weekly limit.

If you are using the calculator to look at how much better off you would be in work the calculator allows for childcare costs but not for replacement care costs when calculating whether you are below the weekly earnings limit.
If you are using the calculator to look at your current situation the calculator allows for both childcare costs and replacement care costs. You will see a question about replacement care costs on the net earnings page.


Replacement care costs ?

Minimum wage payable at least … how much would a carer need to earn per hour JUST TO COVER THESE … AND stay
within the ridiculously low weekly earnings limit ?

( DOUBLE the weekly limit … taper on CA … for starters ! )

Simply not feasible !