BENEFITS EXPERT: Will I still get carer’s payment when mother is in hospital?
Q. I am caring for my mother who has spinal problems. She is going into hospital and is expected to be in hospital for around six weeks.
I understand that her disability benefits will stop after four weeks, but I am wondering about my Carer's Allowance payments as I will still be visiting her every day and doing jobs at home for her.
A. You are correct in what you say, that your mother’s disability benefits will stop after four weeks of being in hospital; this is the case for Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment and Attendance Allowance, unless paid for a child or someone who is terminally ill.
Unfortunately, your Carer's Allowance will also stop at the point that the disability benefit ceases to be paid.
If you are receiving Income Support as a carer then you can continue to receive that for up to eight weeks after your Carer's Allowance ends, which would be 12 weeks in total from when your mother goes into hospital.
As Income Support is a means tested benefit, your payments would increase while your Carer's Allowance is not in payment, so you would actually receive Income Support at the same rate as Income Support and Carer's Allowance usually are as a combined payment meaning that you will not be worse off financially.
If your mother spends more than 12 weeks in hospital then you will no longer be entitled to receive Income Support as a carer and therefore the benefit will end.
Depending on your circumstances you may be entitled to both means-tested and possibly contribution based benefits but it is likely you may be required to claim Universal Credit instead.
If you receive other benefits such as Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction these too will be placed on hold as your local council will have been sent a stop notice from the DWP.
This will happen even if you resume caring duties when your mother is discharged.
At this stage her benefits will reinstate and you can then resume claiming Carer's Allowance and get Universal Credit as a carer.
We would advise you seek benefit advice concerning your options if the stay in hospital exceeds 12 weeks.