Carer’s Allowance currently provides unpaid carers with £69.70 if they meet the nine eligibility requirements, including not earning over a certain amount. Unfortunately, the Lancashire resident has seen her income breach the £132 per week threshold, making her ineligible for any help from Carer’s Allowance.
Ms Kenyon lives in Accrington, Lancashire with her husband Ian who has a number of severe health conditions.
This includes secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, a brain aneurism and severe mobility problems.
Ms Kenyon has been his sole carer, and like many, struggled to get time for herself.
Prior to the pandemic Ian would spend four days per week at the local day care centre, who had staff that could support him and ensured his health was their first priority.
Through the centre Ian would enjoy meals, activities and social time as well as having a bath twice a week.
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This time meant Ms Kenyon could socialise, be with family and friends, rest and earn an income, working two days a week as support worker.
However, lockdown put a swift end to all of this as all social care support stopped and Ms Kenyon had to manage on her own.
Thankfully her employer was supportive and furloughed her, understanding that her husband needed her at home.
For two months Ms Kenyon managed on her own, hoisting and moving Ian who cannot support his own weight, cooking, cleaning and keeping him occupied.
Eventually Ms Kenyon said she needed help, through the form of a care worker who came in for 30 minutes on weekday evenings to help Ian into bed.
Now that the pandemic has passed, Ian has been offered two days a week back at his old centre, however his condition has deteriorated so much he cannot return.
Ian has spent the last two months in and out of hospital and Ms Kenyon has been able to return to work.
However, her wage has increased from £8.51 to £9.50 per hour, taking her earnings over the £132 limit and is now completely ineligible for Carer’s Allowance.
Not being able to claim her benefit has caused a great deal of stress for Ms Kenyon, who is now considering reducing her hours despite desperately needing the income.
She told Carers UK: “I keep going because that’s what I do, and I will always go the extra mile, but I am absolutely knackered.”
Her love for Ian is undeniable and she hopes to get better practical support for him so they can better enjoy their quality time together.
Carer’s Allowance has a few requirements for both the carer and their patient in order to make them eligible.
The person being cared for should be receiving one of the qualifying benefits such as PIP or Disability Living Allowance.
The carer themselves have to be aged 16 or over and spend at least 35 hours per week carrying out caring duties.
They must normally live in England, Scotland or Wales and not be in full-time education or studying for 21 or more hours per week.
They cannot be subject to immigration control and while there is technically no limit on how many hours or jobs they can have, they cannot earn more than £132 per week after tax, National Insurance and expenses.
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “We recognise the valuable role of unpaid carers and remain committed to helping them financially, along with their health, wellbeing and employment chances.
“We know there are carers who wish to combine some paid work with their caring duties, which is why, where possible, we regularly increase the earnings limit of Carer’s Allowance which is now up to £132 a week.
“We urge all unpaid carers to go to the GOV.UK website to see what extra support they may be entitled to – such as an additional £2,000 per year through the carers element of Universal Credit.”