Benefits cap on carers unlawful, High Court hears

2 December 2015

Following last week’s spending review, a High Court decision has ruled that the benefits cap is discriminatory and unlawful against those who provide full-time care to relatives such as a parent, grandparent or disabled child aged 18 or over, and entitled to Carers Allowance.

The judgment fell in the same week the government announced its plans to enforce further cutabcks in the welfare system. In this time the court judgement was able to explain why the £500-a-week cap is deemed unlawful and mistreating to fulltime carers with disabled relatives. discriminates against disabled people in the way it treats full-time carers of disabled adult relatives.

To qualify for Carer’s Allowance, carers must be providing full time care – upwards of 35 hours a week – to a severely disabled person who receives Disability Living Allowance (DLA). The Secretary of State has provided an exemption from the cap to those who receive DLA – but not to their carers. Two categories of carer only are exempt: carers for children or spouses. Any carer who provides care to another adult, such as a parent or grandparent, or a disabled child aged 18 or over, is caught by the cap, leaving them without enough money for essential living costs and in the case of one of the Claimants in this case, resulting in homelessness.

The Government is considering its position following the High Court’s decision. Alternatively, claimants subject to the benefits cap are advised to apply for a discretionally housing payment from their local authority.

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