1. Home
  2. Library
  3. Carers Benefits and Basic Income

Carers Benefits and Basic Income

Author: Citizen K

Citizen K explores the strange paradoxes of the UK's benefit system and argues for a system of basic income to remove idiotic and damaging traps and disincentives.

At the moment, I am a carer, so I claim Carers Allowance, worth £62 and 10 pence a week. Sounds simple, doesn't it?

No, it isn't simple at all: the rules are bizarrely convoluted and force me into some actions that are highly complex.

Firstly, as I have an occupational pension, I pay tax both on that and also on my Carers Allowance.

Secondly, I work part-time, and earn significantly more than the £110 maximum earnings limit. Actually I earn two to three times the limit. So the only way to continue to get my carers allowance is to pay a large sum into my pension plan every week: because half of all pension savings can be deducted from earnings along with tax and national insurance contributions.

Rather oddly, my pension is deducted at source, and the Chancellor then tops up all my pension contributions with 25% in assumed income tax relief.

I also lease my car, rather than own it outright, because I need my car for work, so that counts as a work expense, which is also deductible from my earnings.

Do you see where we are going here?

So, if my job didn't involve the use of a car (for example if I only needed to car to commute to work, rather than for work) I would lose my Carers Allowance.

What is the logic of that?

People are being forced to organise their lives to work around the crazy benefit system and the rules do not even seem to benefit those in greatest need.

Most benefits are paid to people in work, or to pensioners, not just to the destitute, and those benefits all come with silly rules attached that, for example, make it impossible for a pensioner on a state pension in receipt of Housing Benefit to get a wee job as a Lollypop Lady or domestic cleaner.

A basic income could eliminate many, if not all, of these injustices, and potentially increase the number of people currently on benefits who could now afford to work, thereby improving happiness, productivity, growing the economy, and increasing tax revenues.


The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.

Carers Benefits and Basic Income © Citizen K 2017.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.

Library

A Social Movement for Basic Income

A Social Movement for Basic Income

Bill Jordan describes how the idea of basic income inspired a pre-War social movement and wonders whether the same might emerge today.

Let's Scrap the DWP

Let's Scrap the DWP

Simon Duffy and John Dalrymple make the case for Basic Income Security - a system to integrate and reform the current tax and benefit systems.

A Student Nurse and the DWP

A Student Nurse and the DWP

Rebecca Allen explains what happens when a student nurse falls ill and needs assistance from the benefit system in the UK.

Disability Related Costs of Living

Disability Related Costs of Living

Micheline Mason and Mary Harrison explain why their disability benefits are vital.

The Reality of Disability Benefits

The Reality of Disability Benefits

One man's experience of disability benefits.