DWP meeting for carers allowance

Hi everyone

My wife just had a meeting with dwp and is now very stressed, I’m trying to gather information to help calm her down.

My wife claims careers allowance as my son has additional needs.

  1. Towards the end of last year my wife started working and was paid £520 a month this is ok isn’t it?
  2. She went abroad for a weekend without my son should she have informed them?
  3. If we go abroad as a family for a summer holiday do we have to inform them?


Hi Andy … welcome to an extremely quiet forum

In answer to the questions raised.

  1. Earning £ 520 per month last year and claiming Carers Allowance.

IF average out … £ 520 times 3 divide by 13 … £ 120 per week … which equalled the limit in the last tax year.

The maximum amount one could earn in order to retain Carers Allowance.

However there is a problem … an extract from the recent session on the forum with the CUK Advice Team wherein I raised
the question of AVERAGING as several other posters had reported problems :


**_Hi there, thanks for your post. It definitely can feel very complicated trying to deal with the benefit system and irregular earnings.

For Carer’s Allowance if you earn over the earnings limit of £123 PW (if you get paid weekly) or £533 pcm (if you get paid calendar monthly), you cannot be paid any Carer’s Allowance for the following week/month.

( Last tax year … ended 5 April 2019 … weekly £ 120 / monthly £ 520. )

There is no taper of payable benefit. Therefore if a person is usually under the limit but has the odd occasion over the limit, they would need to let the Carer’s Allowance Unit know in good time, and they could stop benefit for the next week/month – restarting it when they get information that once again the carer is earning under the limit.

Variable income

However if earnings fluctuate regularly the Carer’s Allowance Unit at the DWP may average them out over a recognisable cycle of work or over five weeks, but this would need to be arranged in advance with them. The Carer’s Allowance Unit use the Decision Makers Guide to help them work this out.

From the Decision Makers Guide :

Averaging of amounts

The weekly amount of a person’s income from earnings may be averaged if the income varies or the regular pattern of work means that the claimant does not work every week.

The Decision Maker should average over

  1. a complete cycle if there is a recognisable cycle of work or
    2. five weeks or
  2. another period if this means a more accurate weekly amount can be calculated.
    ( ??? … if paid regularly every month , why not quarterly … every quarter contains a 5 week period !!! )

    The averaging of the weekly amount does not change the other rules on the treatment of earnings such as the date that they are treated as paid. This means that earnings should only be averaged where the claimant is actually in receipt of a payment._** >

Therein lies the problem … are they arguing 2 and not 3 as above ???
I would email the CUK Advice Team for confirmation … advice@carersuk.org … quoting both this thread and the Benefit Session one for background :

( I have sent them a separate email … a recurring theme … needs to be clarified … if monthly paid , why not averaged out
quarterly … common sense but … let’s see what transpires … it’s the DWP we are dealing with here . )

Lets us know how you get on … it will add to our collective knowledge at forum level.

Questions 2 and 3 ?

No in both instances … provided that the criteria for claiming Carers Allowance is met … a minimum of 35 hours.

If you son accompanies you , the caring angle continues ?

What caused your wife’s anquish in the meeting with the DWP ?

Their interpretation of what has been spelt out above ???

She found him aggressive and she went in thinking she was doing everything by the book he made her feel like she was cheating the system

  1. She was earning too much and he would take her off the benefit ( she earns 520 each month starting July last year)
  2. She had to phone them whenever she went abroad and had broken the rules by not phoning them before going away for the weekend
  3. She now needs to complete an additional form and provide all her pay slips from last year in the next 2 weeks

Thanks Andy.

As i mentioned , I have already alerted the CUK Advice Team … ongoing AVERAGING issues … to expect your email.

( I do not understand the answer to question 2 given by the DWP … 35 hours caring is the crieria … even a few carers
still get time off … and … not necessary just for good behaviour ??? )

Question 3 …ties in with question 1 and …most probably , the whole issue of averaging … hence the CUK Advice Team !

( There are several ways to earn in excess of the £ 123 / £ 533 limits … and still retain Carers Allowance … marshalling …
more on that if needed. )

Phoning them when she went away for the weekend???

That’s a new one on me too!

Yes if she ever leaves the country she has to phone them!

So the form my wife signed says “I understand I must inform the department of my intention to go on holiday in advance” is this correct?

I presume a " Change of circumstances " being triggered :


**_You must report changes in circumstances if you’re claiming or have applied for Carer’s Allowance, for example if:

you change, start or leave your job.

you start earning more than £123 a week.

you stop being a carer.

you stop providing at least 35 hours of care a week.

you take a holiday or go into hospital - even if you arrange care while you’re away.

the person you care for goes into hospital or takes a holiday._**

Yep … I knew of it’s existence but … having been on various carer forums over 15 years , the first time I can recall that condition being mentioned by anyone.

I just wonder how many readers claiming CA comply with that condition ?

( Around 800,000 claim CA … less than … 100 ? * See the next bit. )

An extract from another part of this web site … CUK on taking a break :


Taking a break
You can take a break from caring for any reason for up to four weeks in every 26 weeks and still be paid Carer’s Allowance. You must have been providing 35 hours or more of care a week for at least 22 of the past 26 weeks (up to eight weeks of a stay in hospital for either you or the person you are looking after can be included in the 22 weeks. The person you have been caring for must have been in receipt of a qualifying benefit for that period.

Carer’s Allowance will continue to be paid for up to 12 weeks if you go into hospital. You must have been providing 35 hours or more of care a week for at least 14 of the past 26 weeks. The person you care for must have been in receipt of a qualifying benefit for that period.

Note that Carer’s Allowance will stop if your total breaks add up to more than 12 weeks in the past 26 weeks.

Travelling abroad
You can continue to be paid Carer’s Allowance for a temporary period whilst you are abroad if you meet all of the following conditions:

you go abroad with the person you look after.

he/she continues to receive a qualifying disability benefit (likely to be a maximum of 26 weeks).

the purpose of your trip is to look after them.

In any other circumstances you can continue to be paid Carer’s Allowance for up to four weeks as long as you have not had more than four weeks break from caring in the last 26 weeks. > You may have had up to a further eight weeks break from caring in the last 26 weeks if the reason for the break was because you or the person you care for were in hospital.

Strange … CUk are providing more information than is available on the DWP web site ???

I trust someone from CUK are monitoring this thread … it’s getting confusing !

Does that mean you have to inform DWP when your caree goes to respite? Why would you have to tell DWP if you leave your job? Both of these apply in my case, I wonder if I should tell them now!!

Can do no harm ?

Inform them , not needed.

Don’t inform them , possible repercussions.

2 horse race … I know on which one my monies will be placed ?

Although it doesn’t affect me, I’m getting fed up with this Witch Hunt against carers. Surely it’s high time they changed the rules??

Existing rules have been in effect for 20 years at least , BB.

Last major revenue … 2008 … only one concession since ?


Annual increase in CA coupled with an increase in that weekly earning limit.

Seek and ye shall find !

Carer's Allowance: Report a change in circumstances - GOV.UK

DWP : Taking a break :


If you temporarily stop providing care for someone
You can still get Carer’s Allowance if you temporarily stop providing care for someone.

This means any period when you spend less than 35 hours a week caring for the other person. For example, you could get Carer’s Allowance for up to:

12 weeks if either of you go into respite care or hospital.

4 weeks if either of you go on holiday.

( Carer and caree go on holiday together for 6 weeks … only change is a change of scenery … say a cruise … carer continues to care … and yet , falls foul of this rule ??? )

( DWP " Change of circumstances " says one thing … elsewhere , the above is available ! )

Thanks for the confusion , DWP !

( If you are still reading this , Andy … what do you make of it all ??? )

I’m confused! No one else seems to know about this and I’m sure everyone who claims carers doesn’t phone dwp before going away for a weekend.

Also if it’s about giving care surely it shouldn’t matter if she went to Italy or Brighton for the weekend?

We are camping as a family at the school on Saturday do I phone and tell them??!! :unamused:

Yes … for the satisfaction that you did everything right.

An ace up your sleeve ?

Full sp on taking a break … DWP … in my last posting.

As far as you are concerned , you only know of the change in circumstamces as per the main site … not the extra clarification
revealed in the supplementary bit.

( Is that DWP employee , who is insisting of being informed , aware of said supplementary bit ? )

Where the DWP are involved , overkill … cannot go wrong even if it creates unnecessary work.

( Carers are under siege from the DWP Purge … 80,000 odd mentioned : https://www.carersuk.org/forum/support-and-advice/carer-disability-benefits/dwp-on-the-warpath-carers-in-the-frame-sweep-nets-80-000-caught-up-please-report-on-this-thread-34576?hilit=dwp%20purge … and there is little any of us can do. )

In your link doesn’t the “4 weeks if either of you go on holiday.” mean you can still claim carers for 4 weeks even if you are not providing 35 hours car, rather than you must tell them?

When she went away for the weekend she still provided in excess of 35 hours care and if we went on holiday she would still be providing care.

Precisely but … a contradition between the two DWP sections … does not explain why the DWP want your wife to phone them
( Back to your very first post ).

DWP appear to be at fault here … on the break angle … I would concede … and then add " Oh , by the way … "

Interview coming up regarding the original question one … averaging … best to play their game … knowing that they are
being the DWP that we all know … keep them sweet as you can … it does take some doing when they are both judge and
jury when it comes to benefits.

If you do make contact with the Advice Team , their insight is paramount in relation to that question one … they are the experts … we , on the forum , do the best we can to assist fellow carers in need of help and guidance.

Thanks I’ll get in touch with them. The holiday thing still remains a mystery to me! Thanks for your time and help.

Your welcome.

Averaging … let us know how you get on.

Seemed such a simple exercise for the DWP but … apparently not ?

If they are implying that a five week month causes CA to be suspended for a month … and then say that the CA in the month was an overpayment , something is SERIOUSLY wrong here !

So we supplied the pay slips from last year and completed the form. My wife had a call from the lady making her assessment today questions about hours etc and said one of her deductions wasn’t allowed but said it didn’t matter anyway as she earned under the limit anyway. She’ll get a letter confirming payment will continue as normal shortly.

My wife asked her if she needed to inform them of holidays and she said not unless she goes without my son for over 4 weeks. So that’s as clear as mud then! :laughing: :laughing:

Thanks for all your help.