Guidance to a new member please


I’m James totally new to the forum and hoping for some clarification.

I have a family member who is looking after my parents. They have been doing a great job and been receiving CA.

This family member has just moved home and now lives an hour away from my parents. They have confirmed that they are still going to be able to care but, that their actual hours of care will reduce because they will have two hours of travel each day. They are telling me that they can still claim this CA because their 2 hours travel each day counts towards their required minimum 35 hours a week or care.

I need to understand if that’s true. At the end of the day my primary concern is finding a good amount of support and care for my parents but, I don’t want someone to be able to receive CA if they really shouldn’t be.

Hope someone can clarify for me as I can find anything about if this type of travel is or isn’t part of those hours.

Hi @Spookme76, welcome to the forum. It is really a hard one to work out. The 35 hours is what a carer gets paid for even if they travel to do the job. It not like a full time paid carer who gets paid to travel in their wages. It is a very grey area over what hours carers can work. As a unpaid carers who do get something from dwp actually do more than 35 hours, so take that into account as dwp don’t make things clear. I would suggest speaking to the carers helpline for further information and advice. You are welcome to keep asking for any information or help as every day us carers learn new things and changes that we might not be known about.
Also contact Social services for a carers need assessment and extra support for your parents.
Good luck

If they still want to be carers why did they move??? Frankly, utterly stupid.

Who cares for your parents is ultimately your parents choice, I’m sure. I would suggest you started looking for someone else.

Hi @Spookme76

If they were doing a great job and can still provide the level of care your parents need despite their move, then I would let them carry on.

If they are travelling to and from your parents then that is using up their time, petrol etc so yes I think it should be counted towards the 35 hours.

I’d only question the arrangement if your parents are no longer happy with the level of support they are receiving.

Also, if they didn’t support your parent’s would you want/be able to give the same level of support or do you know of someone else who could?

It’s a very small amount of money Carers Allowance… approx £87 a week. If you were to let them go and try to find alternate care, you would have to pay an agency at least £20 an hour… in London that rises to about £30 an hour. So if you aren’t paying them and they are only claiming CA to look after your parents 35 hours a week, you are still getting a real bargin.

However entitlement to CA means that you are not “required to look for work” by DWP, unless the rules have changed recently?

They’ve in a way putting people on UC which is slowly taking money off you for doing a job.

Hi Spookme. Thanks for joining Carers UK and posting in Carers Connect.

In addition to the helpful responses from other members, I’ve passed on your post to Carers UK’s helpline and will post the response from one of our advisers in this topic in the coming days.

Wishing you well


Hi @Spookme76. One of our helpline advisers has provided the following response to your question. I hope you find this helpful.

Hello James

Welcome to the forum and thank you for raising this question. The difficulty here is that how the hours caring are fulfilled is not defined in the legislation. As you know, the 35 hours care and support requirement is considered on a weekly basis and the carers benefit week runs from the start of Sunday to the end of the following Saturday. The hours of caring must total 35 during the week and the carer cannot average hours out over a number of weeks.

Although frustratingly there is an absence of clear guidance, we know that generally, the care assistance or supervision should arise out of the disabled person’s needs and for example, can include domestic tasks even if carried out without that person’s presence. The decision maker at the DWP will consider whether the carer performs duties or oversees activities that the disabled person needs help with, due to their disability but for example, case law also says that the time spent in preparation and clearing up following a visit by a severely disabled person can also count. In this particular case it was stressed that each case depends on its own facts and that caring “does not merely start when the severely disabled person arrives at the door of the carer’s house”.

Collecting the person, you care for from the place they usually live and returning them may count, however it’s possible that the time taken for a carer to travel to and from the place that care is provided might be considered too remote if the DWP took the view that those journeys were not in themselves considered assistance to the disabled person.

I am afraid I cannot be certain what the DWP view would be or if challenged, what would be the view of an independent tribunal. On the matter of fulfilling the caring hours there is necessarily a certain amount of trust. The Decision Makers Guidance is not law but guides the decision makers at the DWP and states, “The claimant’s statement that the required number of hours are spent in caring should be accepted without further enquiry unless there is good reason to doubt it.”

It’s so valuable and reassuring for the family that this person is providing such good care and is also prepared to travel each day to support your parents but of course, they will want to be sure they are fulfilling the eligibility conditions for Carer’s Allowance. If the carer was concerned, they could telephone the Carer’s Allowance Unit to confirm the position they would take in their situation.

It’s also worth checking what additional support is available to your parents to complement the care your family member is offering. This for example might include help from their local authority following a needs assessment. You can read more about this on our website here along with other sources of support highlighted in our factsheet which you can download here.

I am sorry not to be able to give a clear answer but hope this is of some help.

As a rough guide, if your parents have under £46,000 between them, the care Social Services provide would be subsidised or free following a Needs Assessment.