Skip to content


30 July 2020

Carers deserve more: a challenge to the failure to increase Carer’s Allowance in light of COVID-19

3 mins

A claim that government Ministers acted unlawfully in failing to  increase the rate of Carers Allowance in light of the COVID-19 pandemic will proceed to a full hearing, after the Court granted permission to apply for judicial review.

The claim has been brought by a single parent whose family were badly affected by the pandemic but who did not see her financial support from the government increase, in contrast to many others in relevant groups who received additional financial support. Unpaid family carers play a vital role in keeping some of the most vulnerable people in society safe and the essential support they provide is valued  at £132 billion a year.

Carer’s Allowance is a non-contributory and non-means tested weekly benefit for those providing regular and substantial care to a severely disabled person and is currently paid at a rate of and is currently paid at a rate of just £67.25 per week for providing 35 hours or more of care.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic unpaid family carers they were already struggling. In a 2019 Report Carer’s UK found that over half of the carers who were receiving Carer’s Allowance (53%) were struggling to make ends meet. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this situation worse. Many unpaid family carers, like the Claimant, have been cut off from their existing support systems (schools, day centres, care agencies) and have had to keep their loved ones safe alone.

A recent report of Carers UK ‘Caring behind closed doors: forgotten families in the coronavirus outbreak’ (28 April 2020) found:

  1. 70% of unpaid carers surveyed are having to provide more care for their loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic. 35% are providing more as a result of local care and support services reducing or closing.
  2. 81% of carers are having to spend more money during the Covid-19 pandemic. 72% reported spending more on food; 50% reported an increase in household bills; 19% are spending more on technology to keep in touch with the person they care for; 11% are spending more on equipment for the person they care for.

Jessie Brennan, Solicitor in the Human Rights and Public Law team, said today:

We are very glad the Administrative Court has recognised the important issues at stake and allowed our case to proceed. We hope that this case will bring some financial recognition and respite to the many unpaid carers who continue to be adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and who deserve so much more that £67.50 per week. 

We expect the hearing in this case to take place in October 2020.  The Claimant is represented by Jessie Brennan and Jamie Potter of Bindmans LLP. Steve Broach of 39 Essex Street and Alice Irving of One Crown Office Row are the counsel instructed on the case.

How can we help you?

We are here to help. If you have any questions for us, please get in touch below.