The person concerned is currently in receipt of retirement pension at the maximum personal rate. She applied for carer's allowance in April 1999. Under social welfare regulations, carer's allowance and retirement pension are not payable concurrently. Accordingly, the person concerned continues to receive payment of retirement pension. However, her entitlement to secondary benefits will be examined further.
As a general rule, only one social welfare payment is payable at any one time to an individual. The review of the carer's allowance, which was published in October 1998, examined the issue of paying carer's allowance in conjunction with another social welfare payment but concluded that the present practice should continue. The review noted that the allowance as it stands is an income support payment and not a payment for caring.
However, the review raised the issue of a "continual care" payment to recognise all carers who were providing the highest levels of care. One of the key priorities identified in the Government's review of its Action Programme for the Millennium is to establish a pilot system of needs assessment for carers and people needing care to be operated by the health boards. This matter is under consideration by the Minister for Health and Children.
The introduction of a continual care payment will be considered further in the light of the outcome of this examination.