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Written Question
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Social Security Benefits
Thursday 25th February 2021

Asked by: David Linden (Scottish National Party - Glasgow East)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the economic effect of the benefit cap on people supported by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Answered by Mims Davies - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)

Universal Credit households are exempt from the benefit cap if they have monthly earnings of at least £604, which can include earnings from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. In addition, claimants with a sustained work record may be entitled to a nine-month grace period where their benefits are not capped.

Written Question
Carers: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Wednesday 24th February 2021

Asked by: Virginia Crosbie (Conservative - Ynys Môn)

Question to the HM Treasury:

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what financial support he plans to make available to people who are carers for a disabled partner and who have been denied access to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme by their employers.

Answered by Jesse Norman

The Government recognises and values the vital contribution made by carers in supporting some of the most vulnerable in society.

Carers who are not put on furlough by their employer could be eligible for a number of benefits. Unpaid carers may be able to apply for Carer’s Allowance if they meet the qualifying conditions, such as providing 35 hours of care a week. In order to ensure that carers already in receipt of Carer’s Allowance do not inadvertently stop receiving it because of changes to patterns of care during COVID-19, the Government has allowed emotional support to count towards the 35 hours of care being provided by the carer. The Government has also relaxed the rules on breaks in care. These measures recognise that carers need extra flexibility in the way they provide care during the current emergency.

The Government continues to protect the value of benefits paid to carers while also spending record amounts in real terms. Since 2010, the rate of Carer’s Allowance has increased from £53.90 to £67.25 a week, meaning about an additional £700 a year for carers. Between 2020/21 and 2025/26, real terms expenditure on Carer’s Allowance is forecast to increase by nearly a third (about £1 billion). By 2025/26, the Government is forecast to spend just over £4 billion a year on Carer’s Allowance.

Furthermore, Carer’s Allowance is not the only benefit available to carers. Carers have access to the full range of social security benefits depending on their individual circumstances. Many of these benefits have additional elements to recognise the additional contribution and responsibilities associated with caring. For example, Universal Credit includes a carer element at the rate of £162.92 per monthly assessment period.

Carers will also benefit from the Government’s wider changes to the welfare system to support individuals during the pandemic, worth £7.4bn in 2020/21 according to Office for Budget Responsibility estimates. This includes carers on Universal Credit who will benefit from the temporary increase to the standard allowance by £20 per week.

Written Question
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Social Security Benefits
Monday 22nd February 2021

Asked by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure workers eligible for furlough who have been denied payments are eligible for social security support; and if she will make a statement.

Answered by Will Quince - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)

It would not be for the Department for Work and Pensions to comment on why workers eligible for furlough have been denied payments.

Those who are out of work or who are on a low income can claim Universal Credit and/or New Style JSA or ESA, if they are entitled.

Help to Claim is available online, over the phone and face to face through local Citizens Advice offices.