Welfare Supplementary Payments for carers
If you want to speak to someone about changes to benefits, you can phone the independent welfare changes helpline for free on 0808 802 0020 or contact your local Citizens Advice.
If you’re a carer and the person you care for doesn’t get the daily living component of PIP when they move from DLA to PIP, you might no longer qualify for:
- Carer’s Allowance (CA)
- Income Support (IS)
- an extra amount of Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance or IS - called the ‘carer premium’
- an extra amount of Pension Credit - called the ‘carer addition’
Instead, you’ll get a Welfare Supplementary Payment (WSP) from the Department of Communities (DfC).
You can get a WSP if:
- you were claiming a carer benefit on the date the person you care for claimed PIP
- you and the person you care for are ‘resident and present’ in Northern Ireland -that means you and the person you care for normally live in Northern Ireland and you are both actually living here when you get your WSP
You don’t need to do anything - the payment will be made to you automatically.
If you think you’re missing out or you need help working out how WSPs affect you, you can go to your nearest Citizens Advice for help.
How you’ll be paid
You’ll be paid automatically every four weeks in arrears. This means you’ll get the first payment 4 weeks after your payment of CA, IS, carer’s premium or addition stops. There won’t be a gap in payment.
The DfC will pay the money into the account they were paying your benefit into.
How long it’s paid for
You’ll get the WSP for up to one year. It’ll stop if:
- you qualify for CA or IS again (eg the person you care for is awarded the daily living component of PIP, or you start caring for someone else)
- the person you’re caring for has appealed the decision not to award them the PIP daily living component, and has withdrawn or lost their appeal
- the person you care for has been awarded only the PIP mobility element on reassessment and this stops
- you or the person you care for goes into hospital, a care home (unless privately funded) or prison - payment will stop after 28 days
- the person you’re caring for dies - payment will stop after 8 weeks.
No WSPs will be made after 31 March 2020.
If the person you care for starts getting the daily living component of PIP, you won’t get your CA or extra amount automatically. You’ll have to apply for it again.
If your circumstances change
You need to tell the DfC if:
- you or the person you care for are away from Northern Ireland for more than 4 weeks - you’ll stop getting payments after you’ve been away for 4 weeks.
- you or the person you care for are away from Northern Ireland for more than 13 weeks for medical treatment - you’ll stop getting payments after you’ve been away for 13 weeks.
- you or the person you care for go into hospital, a care home or into prison - your WSP will stop after 28 days. It’ll start again when you come out.
You should tell the DfC if you change your address or your bank account details.
Welfare Supplementary Payments and other benefits
WSPs are not benefits, so they’re not counted as income for benefit purposes - you can claim other benefits at the same time as getting WSPs.
If you get a WSP because you aren’t getting Carer’s Allowance any more, it will count as income for tax credits and is taxable. If you get a WSP instead of a carer premium or addition, the WSP isn't normally taxable, though there are some exceptions. Your tax credits shouldn’t change.
If you’re not sure what to put on your tax credits form or your tax return, your local Citizens Advice can help.
Challenging a decision
If you disagree with the decision on your Welfare Supplementary Payment you can ask for a review by phoning or writing to the Welfare Supplementary Payments Team. You have one month from the date of your decision letter to ask for a review.
Welfare Supplementary Payments Team
Telephone: 0800 587 0971
Textphone: 0800 587 0973
If you get an overpayment
Overpayments of Welfare Supplementary Payments are recoverable - that means that if you’ve been paid too much the DfC will ask for the money back.
The DfC will write to you to tell you how much you’ve been overpaid, why the overpayment happened and how they plan to take the money back. Your local Citizens Advice can help you if you’re not sure about the overpayment or how the DfC will recover it.