It is a basic principle of the social security system that only one benefit at a time can be paid for the same purpose. Both Carer’s Allowance and State Pension are designed to provide a degree of replacement for income lost or foregone; Carer’s Allowance where the duties of caring for a severely disabled person prevent the prospect of full-time work and the earnings it would yield; and State Pension to provide a replacement income in retirement.
The overlapping benefits rules, which prevent both benefits being paid, were established to reflect the general principle that flat-rate benefits designed to help with income maintenance e.g. Carer’s Allowance and State Pension, should not be added together and paid in full, even though a person may qualify for both.
Where Carer’s Allowance cannot be paid, the person will keep underlying entitlement to the benefit, which means if they are on a low income, they may be entitled to any advantages arising from that, e.g. the additional amount for carers in Pension Credit, worth up to £36.00 a week and, in some cases, Housing Benefit.