188.8.131.52 SpB for Carers
There should be very few occasions when a person with temporary caring responsibilities needs to be paid SpB.
Explanation: NSA and YA recipients can be exempted from the activity test requirements. Other people with carer responsibilities would generally qualify for a more appropriate payment such as CP, PP or another income support payment.
As with all claims for SpB, all avenues of support should be explored and exhausted before the claim is granted. The application of SpB provisions to people with caring responsibilities means they can ONLY be paid SpB IF:
- they do not qualify for CP, PP or any other income support, AND
- they have no alternative means of support, AND
- they are unable to work because of caring responsibilities - i.e. the caree (1.1.C.20) needs constant care, and there is no other care available, AND
- the person being cared for does NOT have sufficient funds to support or partially support the carer.
Policy reference: SS Guide 184.108.40.206 Qualification for SpB
Confirmation of circumstances
The person needs to provide confirmation of the circumstances leading to their claim for SpB. Evidence of the need for care should be obtained in all cases.
Example: If the caree is incapacitated the carer should provide medical evidence from the treating doctor. This should indicate the:
- nature of the incapacity, and
- extent to which the person concerned requires assistance with daily activities, and
- likely or estimated period for which care will be required.
Policy reference: SS Guide 220.127.116.11 Special payments - documentation required
Factors to consider for claims from carers
The delegate should consider the following issues when determining whether payment of SpB is appropriate to a carer:
- Is the person unable to work because of the caring responsibilities?
- Are there any possible alternative care arrangements?
- Is the person being cared for under 16 years of age?
Unable to work because of caring responsibilities
When deciding whether a person is prevented from working due to the needs of the person cared for, the guidelines are those that apply to CP on whether a person is personally providing constant care. In some cases, SpB may be paid if a person is providing necessary short-term moral and psychological support in a crisis, and no one else is able to provide that support. These cases must be closely monitored.
It is important to establish that:
- the person MUST provide constant supervision, in the caree's home, and
- they are prevented from working because of this, and
- no alternative arrangements can be made.
Policy reference: SS Guide 18.104.22.168 Assessment of CP Claim - Other Factors
Caring for children under 16 years of age
If the caree is under 16 years of age, the delegate must also consider the following issues:
- Whether the carer could qualify for PP or NSA.
Example: If a child is of school age, it is reasonable to expect the carer to seek work. If the child has not reached school age, it is reasonable to expect the carer to place the child in alternative care, such as childcare or with a relative.
- Other variables such as the person's cultural beliefs.
Explanation: A social worker may be able to assist the delegate in making a decision or in suggesting alternative options to the person.
- If one member of a couple is getting PP and their partner is also caring for the child, that partner does not automatically qualify for SpB under the 'caring for child' category.
- Whether the child has a medical condition.
If the child has a medical condition, CP may be payable. Alternatively, SpB may be paid to the partner under the 'caring for child' category if a medical certificate is obtained from the treating doctor stipulating that the child requires constant supervision from both parents.
Newly arrived residents
Carer responsibilities do NOT change the provisions that a newly arrived resident must meet, in order to qualify for SpB.
Example: A person who is subject to the NARWP for CP would usually need to demonstrate that they had experienced a substantial change in circumstances beyond control in order for the SpB NARWP not to apply.
Policy reference: SS Guide 22.214.171.124 SpB for Newly Arrived Residents