§ Maria Eagle
Retirement pension (RP) and invalid care allowance (ICA) are income maintenance benefits. The former provides income replacement for those who have96W reached pensionable age, while the latter provides a measure of financial support for those who have given up the opportunity of fill-time paid employment in order to care for a severely disabled person. It is a basic principle of the social security system that only one such benefit can be paid at any time because to pay both of them in full at the same time would amount to duplicate provision for the same need.
The Regulatory Reform (Carer's Allowance) Order 2002, made on 29 May 2002, will enable older carers with little or no retirement pension to receive invalid care allowance, while those with low incomes will benefit by gaining access to the carer premium worth £24.80 a week, paid with income-related benefits such as the minimum income guarantee. This follows the substantial increases to the carer premium and to the earnings limit for entitlement to invalid care allowance made in April 2001.
There are no plans to change these arrangements.