HC Deb 18 March 2002 vol 382 cc147-8W
Mr. Drew

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to review a person's loss of invalid care allowance when they become of pensionable age. [34425]

Maria Eagle

Invalid care allowance and retirement pension are both benefits intended to maintain income. Rules exist to prevent the duplicate payment of more than one benefit intended for the same basic purpose. Where a person already entitled to invalid care allowance reaches pension age and becomes entitled to retirement pension, the payment of retirement pension, a contributory benefit, takes precedence and either extinguishes or reduces the payment of invalid care allowance. Underlying entitlement to ICA is retained, which provides low income carers with access to the carer premium paid with the minimum income guarantee.

Invalid care allowance has always been subject to these rules. We have no plans at present to change this. However, in light of the National Carers Strategy, the Government have introduced a draft order proposing to remove the ICA age restriction, thus allowing carers aged 65 and over access to ICA and therefore the carer premium. The proposal will provide the opportunity for low income carers in this group to boost their income on top of the minimum income guarantee.