The review of the carer's allowance, published in October 1998, examined the purpose of the carer's allowance and concluded that it is an income support payment and not a payment for caring. Accordingly, a payment along the lines suggested would not be appropriate in the context of the existing carer's allowance.
However, the review did propose the introduction of a non-means tested continual care payment to recognise carers providing the highest levels of care and to promote care in the community. It envisaged that such a payment would be made, irrespective of income or social welfare entitlement, to carers caring for those who are in the highest category of dependency.
In order to differentiate between the levels of care and care needs, the review considered that a needs assessment encompassing both the needs of the care recipient and the carer should be introduced, and that the continual care payment could be introduced following the introduction of such an assessment.