Carer's allowance
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Really need some help and advice , looking for a benefits advisor

sparklessparkles Member Posts: 11 Courageous
edited April 2018 in Carer's allowance


 

Hello, Could you please give me advice on my situation?

We have a severely disabled ten-year-old son and receive the following benefits.

1) Carer’s allowance (in my partner’s name – I am an unpaid carer)
2) Income support (also in my partner’s name)
3) High rate DLA , Child Tax Credits with disability element
4) Child Benefit (in my name)
5) Housing Benefit
6) some Council Tax Benefit

Between 2010 and the present date I have done about 20 spiritual readings (for a small payment) but they were very sporadic.

In April 2016 I opened an Etsy shop and continued to do 3 more readings through the shop.

A year later, in April 2017 I started doing some crafts and making and selling some greetings cards and jewellery.

It was recently brought to my attention that even as a hobbyist making a loss (I spent far more on materials than I received in sales – the sales simply allowed me to buy more supplies), I apparently need to register with HMRC. In the process of trying to find further information on the matter, someone online mentioned that if you are in receipt of Income Supportyou can’t earn more than £20 per week. I assume this is profit (I’ve been making a loss). Furthermore, upon receipt of our annual carer’s increase letter it stated that the carer could earn up to £120 per week or work up to 16 hours per week, and any partner up to 24 hours per week. As the partner of our son’s carer (his dad), I probably only work 2-3 hours per week.

I’m now really concerned that I haven’t declared my hobby to HMRC and DWP. I only ever really wanted a small hobby as break from the 24 hour care we give our son. I honestly did not realise I had to declare – the comment in the carer’s letter re £120 per week made me think I wasn’t breaking the rules, and it was only when speaking online with other people that alerted me to the fact I was potentially doing anything wrong.

I’d really like to ensure, as soon as possible, that I am working within the rules and have made full disclosure of anything that is required of me. I’d also like to know if it would be possible to continue doing my hobby. For the meantime, I have closed my Etsy shop to ensure no more sales, whilst I resolve this.

I would really appreciate any support you can give about what I need to do and how best to approach it. If you need any further information please don’t hesitate to ask.

Many thanks in advance.

Replies

  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,731 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @sparkles
    Welcome to the community, I have passed this on to the @BenefitsTrainingCo
    so I hope they will be able to support you soon.
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • sparklessparkles Member Posts: 11 Courageous
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Hello sparkles

    These sort of issues can be very difficult to untangle because different benefits have different rules. You have identified income support and carer's allowance and in your case these are likely to be the most important benefits for us to look at...
    • Income support has a no full time work rule. This means the claimant must not work 16 hours per week or more and the partner cannot work 24 hours or more. If the claimant/partner works but less than16/24 hours then the benefit can be paid but entitlement is reduced by the amount of net earnings above a certain amount. The amount for carers in income support is £20 - if you earn above this your income support starts to go down and may even stop.
    • Carer's allowance does not have an hours rule but instead has an earnings limit, currently £120 per week. It doesn't matter how many hours you work but your earnings must be no more than this amount. For example, if earnings are exactly £120.00 per week then carer's allowance is paid in full at £64.60. But if earnings are £120.01 then carer's allowance has to stop completely.
    The next thing to consider is how hours and earnings from self-employment are worked out...
    • If hours fluctuate and there is no regular pattern then hours are averaged over a five week period or a longer or shorted period if this would give a more accurate figure.
    • Earnings from self-employment are averaged over a period of one year unless you have recently become self-employed or there has been a change to the pattern. It is the net profit that should be used - this is the earnings from self-employment minus expenses, income tax, national insurance contributions and half of any contributions to a personal pension scheme.  

    And so ... if your average hours are less than 16 per week and your average earnings are no more than £20 per week then neither your income support nor your carer's allowance should be affected. 

    There is no reason why you shoudn't have an Etsy shop and/or continue your hobby. We would always recommend that you notify the DWP of any work even if it will not affect benefit because you have a duty to notify any change that could reasonably affect your entitlement. You do not have to do this in writing but it is good practice to do so.

    i hope this helps.

    David


    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • sparklessparkles Member Posts: 11 Courageous
    Hi David, I want to thank you so much for your help and advice regarding this matter, that is such a relief to know! I shall as advised be writing to the DWP explaining my situation and providing evidence of my profits and loss , orders etc. And shall also be providing the same Information to HMRC to, hopefully they will be just as helpful ?! Who would be the best department to write to at the DWP regarding this matter? Kind regards
  • sparklessparkles Member Posts: 11 Courageous
    Sorry to bother you again, can I just ask what is the point of having that you can earn up to £120 per week net amount for carers allowance when you can only earn £20 per net income support? I'm I right in thinking so in effect if you are on both those benefits, then ignore the carers allowance at £120 per week and take the income support £20 per week into account because that's the lowest amount you can't go over? I don't see the point? 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    sparkles said:
    Sorry to bother you again, can I just ask what is the point of having that you can earn up to £120 per week net amount for carers allowance when you can only earn £20 per net income support? I'm I right in thinking so in effect if you are on both those benefits, then ignore the carers allowance at £120 per week and take the income support £20 per week into account because that's the lowest amount you can't go over? I don't see the point? 
    Not everyone claims Income Support and Carers Allowance. Some people may have a partner that works which means they won't be entitled to Income Support. As you claim IS and CA then the most you can earn here without it affecting your IS is £20 per week. Anything over that and it's affects your IS £1 for £1.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • sparklessparkles Member Posts: 11 Courageous
    Ah right thank you Poppy that clears things up for me, thank you for responding :)
  • sparklessparkles Member Posts: 11 Courageous
    Hi, it's me again! Due to personal reasons I haven't yet contacted the DWP and HMRC and my shop is still closed. I have been struggling to find all receipts for purchases I have made , most online as I didn't keep them all together due to the fact I thought it was just a hobby , most of my purchases are online but it will take some time to try and go through them all as the revelvant websites are difficult to trace as well as PayPal etc, would I need to provide DWP with backdated receipts of purchases I have made and if so how far back? Or would they just start a fresh with me considering that I've never made any profit. Just a loss? 

    Also, rather than ring them up of which I find very difficult to do and worried I may be given the wrong information I would prefer to approach them in writing so that there is a trace of it if ever i had been advised wrong or a mistake had been made. Can I email them instead and maybe send what I've written above on the start of this thread?  I am sorry for all the questions as this is all very stressful and worrying even though Davids post put me at ease I may get a different answer when I contact them myself...

    i would appreciate any assistance asap if at all possible as I would love to get it all up and running again knowing that I have declared it all and there are no repercussions and being fined because I didn't know I had to declare it under that amount and making a loss.
  • sparklessparkles Member Posts: 11 Courageous
    Hello do I have to make this into a New thread I'm not sure it's showing up my questions above ?
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    There is no email address for Income Support, unfortunately. You can of course write to them but the best way to contact them regarding this is to ring them, as you first asked the question 5 months ago because any work you do should be reported to DWP, even if you're not earning more than £20 per week. Any changes must be reported.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • sparklessparkles Member Posts: 11 Courageous
    Hello thanks for your reply. Nothing's changed since 5 months ago, I've not been doing any work since that time, that was my point in writing to them otherwise it will get confusing .
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