Thousands of people missing out on £3,624 a year benefit payment and Christmas bonus – check if you can claim | The Sun

THOUSANDS of people are missing out on benefit payments worth more than £3,600 a year.

And claimants could also get an extra bonus on top this Christmas by making a claim.

People who have responsibility for looking after others could be able to claim Carers Allowance.

This could be someone you live with like a family member, but they don't have to be a resident in the same home, or related.

Carer's Allowance is worth up to £69.70 a week – or £3,624,40 a year

You'll need to be caring for them for at least 35 hours a week, and they need to be claiming certain benefits.

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Those who get Carer's Allowance are also entitled to a bonus over the festive season.

The extra payment in December is worth £10. You can see the full list of who's eligible for the cash help in our guide.

It's estimated that nearly half a million people are missing out on Carer's Allowance – adding up to a whopping £1.3billion.

Here we explain who can get the benefit and how to claim.

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Who is eligible for Carer's Allowance?

You could be eligible for Carer's Allowance if you care for someone for at least 35 hours a week.

To qualify, the person you care for must already get one of these benefits:

  • Personal Independence Payment – daily living component
  • Disability Living Allowance – the middle or highest care rate
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the normal maximum rate with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at the basic (full day) rate with a War Disablement Pension
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment

You don't have to be related to the person or live with them to apply.

But if you share caring responsibilities with someone else, only one of you can claim.

The type of care you provide can vary, but includes things such as helping with washing or cooking, taking the person to medical appointments or helping out with household tasks such as shopping or organising bills.

To get the benefit, you must also meet a certain set of criteria:

  • you must be 16 or over
  • you have to spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone
  • you need to have been in England, Scotland or Wales for at least two of the last three years (this does not apply if you’re a refugee or have humanitarian protection status)
  • you must normally live in England, Scotland or Wales or live abroad as a member of the armed forces (you might still be eligible if you’re moving to or already living in an EEA country or Switzerland)
  • you cannot be in full-time education
  • you must not be studying for 21 hours a week or more
  • you cannot be subject to immigration control

You will also have to meet certain earnings criteria in order to get the benefit.

How much can I earn and get Carer's Allowance?

Generally, your earnings need to be £132 or less a week after tax, National Insurance and expenses in order to qualify,

But if your earnings are sometimes more than this a week you might still be eligible if your average earnings are below the threshold.

To calculate your earnings, you need to add up any income from employment or self-employment and then deduct tax, National Insurance and expenses.

Your expenses can be quite significant and can include:

  • 50% of your pension contributions
  • Any equipment you need to do your job, such as specialist clothing
  • Travel costs between different workplaces that are not paid for by your employer
  • Business costs if you’re self-employed, for example a computer you only use for work

You may also be able to include carer fees in your expenses for the time when you are at work.

If you pay someone to look after the disabled person or your children, you can treat costs that are less than or equal to 50 per cent of your earnings as an expense.

The carer must not be your spouse, partner, parent, child or sibling.

You can find out more about what counts as earnings and what is excluded on the gov.uk website.

How do I claim Carer's Allowance?

You can apply online for Carer's Allowance on the gov.uk website.

You can also claim by post by printing the form here and returning it to the address printed on it.

What other benefits could I get?

Anyone can check if they are eligible for benefits like Carer's Allowance using a simple calculator tool.

Benefits are not just for those out of work and millions of people in work get Universal Credit to top up their income.

Entitledto's free calculator works out whether you qualify for various benefits, tax credits and Universal Credit.

If you run out of time to complete the form in one go you can save your results and come back later but you will need to sign in or register.

You can do this using Facebook, Google or by setting up an Entitledto account.

If you don't want to register, consumer group MoneySavingExpert.com and charity StepChange both have benefits tools powered by Entitledto's data that let you save your results without logging in.

Instead, you're provided with a unique code to note down and use when you want to revisit the questionnaire.

You will also find benefit calculators from Turn2Us and Policy in Practice.

Any calculator you use will give you an idea of what you could get, but you'll then have to make a claim for the benefit itself.

Can I get benefits backdated?

It is possible to get some benefits backdated if you found out you’ve missed out on claiming for them.

But it depends on which benefit you’re making a claim for, as different benefits have different rules for back payment.

For example, new claims for Universal Credit, income support and housing benefit can be backdated for a maximum of one month.

You can get child benefit, pension credit backdated for up to three months. 

But in most cases, you’ll have to provide evidence to show a good reason why you were not able to make a claim earlier.

This could be because:

  • You have a disability
  • You’re unwell 
  • The online claims system was down
  • You’re making a new claim after breaking up with your partner

You can apply to backdate your benefit payments when applying for the benefit.

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How to do this will vary depending on which benefit you’re claiming for, so it’s worth checking in for more information from the government before putting in your application.

You can request your benefits to be backdated by writing to the Department for Work and Pensions, HMRC or your local council

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