Carer's allowance
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Carers Allowance : 21 Hour Studying Rule

WorksopChrisWorksopChris Member Posts: 28 Connected
Assume a carer and a caree ... say both 35 , brother /  sister ... brother ,  full time time carer , sister wheelchair bound.

Only income is a standard range of benefits , no assets.

Both sign up for the same course. Brother pushes sister in her wheelchair to attend.... no student related grants.

Would the sister lose any of her standard benefits by studying ?

The brother would lose Carers Allowance if attending / studying for 21 hours or more.

Would either / or both the Equalities Act or discrimination by association kick in ?

The 21 Hour rule is subject to a thread on Carers UK , and the NUS are currently considering the position.


  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Hi WorksopChris,

    PIP/DLA are not affected by studying. If the sister is on income-related ESA and gets PIP or DLA then she can continue getting ESA whilst studying. Contributory ESA is not affected by studying. Having said this, she will need to tell the DWP, because what may be called into question is her limited capability for work, and/or her limited capability for work-related activity if she is in the support group for ESA (the group which doesn't have to do work-related activity).

    Having said that lots of disabled people do study full-time and are able to demonstrate that this doesn't mean their limited capability for work is affected.

    You are right of course about the 21 hour rule in CA. If the brother is also claiming Income Support then he would not be able to get it in full-time education (defined for this benefit, in England and Wales, as more than 16 hours of 'guided learning' a week).

    In addition student income would fall to be taken into account, if available to them, and these would reduce their income-related benefits (apart from specific grants for disabled students which are disregarded).

    As for the Equality Act, well that might kick in if the educational institution didn't make the course fully accessible for example. Discrimination by association would apply only if some sort of direct or indirect discrimination was caused to the carer because of his association with the disabled person. I think however you are probably talking about whether the benefit rules might breach discrimination law (both against the disabled person, and by association against the carer). 

    First of all you would have to identify the detriment. If the detriment is loss of benefit then the government might be likely to say you can get student income instead. But of course with loans these have to be paid back. For someone who is disabled, and someone likely to be a long-term carer, it may be that they will never be in a position to repay those - or that it is less likely, or at the very least by the time they are earning 'enough' to start repaying they will have had many years of low income behind them. I have had experience of disabled people deciding not to study because they simply do not want to have a loan hanging over them. So there may be arguments in there, but you would definitely need a lawyer to take them further.

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