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Pensioners: Carer’s Premium

Volume 488: debated on Monday 23 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many claimants above state pension age currently receive a premium for being a carer; what the cost to the Exchequer is expected to be over the next 12 months of such payments; if he will estimate the cost of making a payment equal to the current carers premium to the pensioner carers of recipients of attendance allowance or the pensioner recipients of the care component of disability living allowance; and if he will make a statement. (250398)

[holding answer 22 January 2009]: Pension credit ensures a guaranteed minimum income for all people aged 60 and over. People who are entitled to carer’s allowance—whether or not carer’s allowance is in payment—may benefit from the additional amount for carers in pension credit. The pension credit standard minimum guarantee of £124.05 for single pensioners (£189.35 for couples) is increased by £27.75 where the additional amount for carers is payable—if both members of a couple are entitled to carer’s allowance the additional amount is doubled.

Approximately 240,000 pension credit claimants had an additional amount for carers in May 2008.

In addition, approximately 20,000 claimants of housing benefit and/or council tax benefit aged 60 or over were in receipt of a carers’ premium in May 2004, the latest available data.

It is estimated that, all else remaining unchanged, the current additional amounts for carers increase the costs of income related benefits by some £300 million in 2009-10.

Information necessary to estimate the cost of making a payment equal to the current carers premium to the pensioner carers of recipients of attendance allowance or the pensioner recipients of the care component of disability living allowance is not available.

Sources:

Pension Credit claimants: DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study

HB and CTB claimants: Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Management Information System, Annual 1 per cent. sample, taken in May 2004.

Modelling based on the Policy Simulation Model.