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  • FIRST POST
    • RichyBaby
    • By RichyBaby 30th Dec 17, 8:21 PM
    • 12Posts
    • 3Thanks
    RichyBaby
    Full Time Carer / Self Employed Benefits Entitlement
    • #1
    • 30th Dec 17, 8:21 PM
    Full Time Carer / Self Employed Benefits Entitlement 30th Dec 17 at 8:21 PM
    I am confused.

    I care for my partner, who has mental health issues and various physical conditions that affect her day to day life. I also work as a self employed local PC repairer and generally can pay the bills, etc, though I only ever manage to get a holiday in December.

    Well, this December I got sick about 2 weeks before my planned holiday and the illness lasted most of the month. During this time I haven't earned enough to pay my bills and had to eat into 2 reserves of money I have saved. It is heartbreaking to find that not only was I sick during my holiday, but now I have no money to fall back on.

    Worrying that this might happen again, I went to turn2us.org and found out that I am entitled to Universal Tax Credits. During my self employed interview the interviewer made a throwaway comment that "I don't need to work at all". I was so stunned by this that I didn't question it. All I could think of was that, after all these years of struggling, there might be some kind of help / relief.

    Now I have had time to think about it and am wondering if the interviewer is right. I do care for my wife full time. We live in a council house. I have not claimed benefits since I was a teenager (now 50) and my self employed business, before I had to switch to PC repairs, made a lot of money (all of which we have burned through to supplement my income over the years).

    My wife gets the highest rate of PIP and mobility. I get nothing. No help with rent, council tax, anything. If no customers call or I can't work, we can't pay the bills.

    Is help coming, or am I just dreaming?
Page 1
    • kingfisherblue
    • By kingfisherblue 30th Dec 17, 8:43 PM
    • 7,506 Posts
    • 16,202 Thanks
    kingfisherblue
    • #2
    • 30th Dec 17, 8:43 PM
    • #2
    • 30th Dec 17, 8:43 PM
    If you claim Carer's Allowance, you can earn up to £116 per week. However, if you choose to give up your self employment due to your caring responsibilities, you can claim Income Support for both you and your wife, in addition to Carer's Allowance. A premium is added onto IS, then the amount of CA (£62.70 per week) is taken off. I'm not sure how much this works out for a couple, but as a single person I receive £45 a week IS (paid fortnightly).

    If you are on IS, you can also claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support. You might be able to claim them if you continue with your self employment if your wages are low.

    IS also entitles you to free prescriptions and help with dental and optician costs.

    My area hasn't rolled out fully to UC, so I don't know how this translates into payments for UC. If you have a carer's centre in your town, they may be able to help you. You could also try the welfare rights office or CAB. In my area, the Job Centre will do a 'better off' calculation to help you decide which is the best way forward for you.
    • Ames
    • By Ames 30th Dec 17, 8:48 PM
    • 16,749 Posts
    • 29,299 Thanks
    Ames
    • #3
    • 30th Dec 17, 8:48 PM
    • #3
    • 30th Dec 17, 8:48 PM
    You can get a rough idea from the website www.entitledto.com
    Unless I say otherwise 'you' means the general you not you specifically.
    • Alice Holt
    • By Alice Holt 30th Dec 17, 10:14 PM
    • 1,711 Posts
    • 1,871 Thanks
    Alice Holt
    • #4
    • 30th Dec 17, 10:14 PM
    • #4
    • 30th Dec 17, 10:14 PM
    Because you have caring responsibilities it is correct that you will not be required to job search full time.
    https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Benefit-guides/Universal-Credit/Claimant-Commitment-Conditionality

    "No work-related requirements
    ........You will also be placed in this group if you:
    - receive the carers element or are providing care for a severely disabled person for at least 35 hours a week ....... "

    Details on Carers Allowance and how to claim:
    https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/financial-support/help-with-benefits/carers-allowance

    The additional elements of UC that might apply:
    Carers Element;
    Housing element;
    Limited capability for work related activity element (for your wife within your joint claim).
    https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Benefit-guides/Universal-Credit/Additional-Elements-of-Universal-Credit

    I'm unsure about the interaction of Carers Allowance and the Carers Element of UC.
    It's likely your wife may need to be assessed (a WCA) to get the LCWRA element.
    https://www.rethink.org/living-with-mental-illness/money-issues-benefits-employment/universal-credit/how-much

    I would second the idea of getting a benefits check / and help through this process from your local CAB.

    Income Support is subsumed into UC - so you are not able to claim this and UC.

    Help with Council Tax should be claimed separately from your council - it is not included in UC.

    Carers UK may be a useful local support.
    Last edited by Alice Holt; 30-12-2017 at 10:17 PM.
    • WillowCat
    • By WillowCat 31st Dec 17, 12:09 PM
    • 755 Posts
    • 900 Thanks
    WillowCat
    • #5
    • 31st Dec 17, 12:09 PM
    • #5
    • 31st Dec 17, 12:09 PM
    If you do claim Universal Credit, you can continue to work if you wish. If you earn too much to claim carers allowance then you will still be entitled to the carers element in universal credit.

    Note that the online calculators are a bit flaky with the various disability elements, carers elements and self employed earnings so you may want to see CAB or similar face to face.

    I would expect you to be entitled to approximately the following:

    Joint (over 25) element £498.89
    Limited capability for work or work related activity £318.76 (this will be awarded if she passes (fails?) the work capability assessment and is awarded LCWRA. If she is only awarded limited capability for work there will be no cash award but she will not have to jobsearch).
    Carers element £151.89
    Housing costs - I'm not sure how these are calculated for council tenants but I think it will be limited to the local housing allowance very soon.

    These are all monthly figures.

    If you continue to work, then the first £192 of your monthly income after expenses is yours to keep, after that your universal credit award is reduced by 63p for every extra pound of earnings.

    If you hear horror stories of the minimum income floor being a problem for self employed people, relax, as a carer you are exempt.
    • Alice Holt
    • By Alice Holt 31st Dec 17, 12:56 PM
    • 1,711 Posts
    • 1,871 Thanks
    Alice Holt
    • #6
    • 31st Dec 17, 12:56 PM
    • #6
    • 31st Dec 17, 12:56 PM
    If you do claim Universal Credit, you can continue to work if you wish. If you earn too much to claim carers allowance then you will still be entitled to the carers element in universal credit.
    Originally posted by WillowCat
    Thanks, I wasn't sure about that bit.
    CA @c.£62pw seems preferable to the c.£151 pm of the UC careers allowance of UC.
    Particularly if able to continue some earnings of below £116 pw.

    (And I thought UC was supposed to be a simplification!)
    • RichyBaby
    • By RichyBaby 31st Dec 17, 1:45 PM
    • 12 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    RichyBaby
    • #7
    • 31st Dec 17, 1:45 PM
    • #7
    • 31st Dec 17, 1:45 PM
    Thanks so much for the great replies.

    Could you clarify this bit:
    If you continue to work, then the first £192 of your monthly income after expenses is yours to keep, after that your universal credit award is reduced by 63p for every extra pound of earnings.

    I'd like to know what counts as expenses. For example, do rent, council tax, phone bill, etc count?

    warm regards

    Richard
    • WillowCat
    • By WillowCat 31st Dec 17, 1:51 PM
    • 755 Posts
    • 900 Thanks
    WillowCat
    • #8
    • 31st Dec 17, 1:51 PM
    • #8
    • 31st Dec 17, 1:51 PM
    Thanks so much for the great replies.

    Could you clarify this bit:
    If you continue to work, then the first £192 of your monthly income after expenses is yours to keep, after that your universal credit award is reduced by 63p for every extra pound of earnings.

    I'd like to know what counts as expenses. For example, do rent, council tax, phone bill, etc count?

    warm regards

    Richard
    Originally posted by RichyBaby
    It's your self employed expenses, very similar to how you work out your taxable income. So business premises rent would be an allowable expense, but not the rent for where you live. Likewise if you have a mobile phone used exclusively for your business it would be allowable, but a personal phone would not be (or would be proportional to usage). There are however some allowances for using your home for your business that you can claim.

    This guide has the technical detail of what is a business expense for universal credit purposes.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/661668/admh4.pdf
    • WillowCat
    • By WillowCat 31st Dec 17, 1:57 PM
    • 755 Posts
    • 900 Thanks
    WillowCat
    • #9
    • 31st Dec 17, 1:57 PM
    • #9
    • 31st Dec 17, 1:57 PM
    Thanks, I wasn't sure about that bit.
    CA @c.£62pw seems preferable to the c.£151 pm of the UC careers allowance of UC.
    Particularly if able to continue some earnings of below £116 pw.

    (And I thought UC was supposed to be a simplification!)
    Originally posted by Alice Holt
    Thinking it through further, there's actually little* point in claiming carers allowance if you are claiming universal credit as the carers allowance money is deducted from the universal credit claim pound for pound. Regardless of whether you claim carers allowance or not you are still entitled to the carers element.

    * there are some national insurance considerations - off the top of my head, if you get carers allowance you get class 1 credits. If you are on universal credit you will get class 3 credits. If you ever need to make a claim for contributions based JSA or ESA yourself then you would only need 6 months in the relevant tax year of paid class 2 or 1 NI, plus 18 months class 1 credits, but class 3 credits are not allowed so you'd need 24 months of paid credits.
    • RichyBaby
    • By RichyBaby 5th Jan 18, 9:15 PM
    • 12 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    RichyBaby
    I have used the Turn2Us website and I am wondering if I would still need to fill out a tax return if I stopped being self employed.

    To remind folk, I'm a full time carer struggling to make a living and care at the same time. Turn2Us benefits calculator works out that I'm only about £30 a week better off working at my full whack. That being as it is, I've had enough struggling.

    Would I still need to do a tax return?

    warm regards

    R
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