UK income protection provider British Friendly has launched a new care assistance benefit for all its members.

The benefit is for both new and existing members. It means British Friendly will pay a flat amount of £125 a week in care assistance benefit when the partner or child, up to the age of 18, of a member needs full-time care of 35 hours or more a week for a continuous period of four weeks.

When a claim is paid, it will be backdated to day 1 and paid for maximum of 26 weeks over the life of the policy.

At no point is state benefit assessment needed, so clients do not need to give up work to claim.

Claims will be paid upon confirmation from a medical professional that full-time care is required so there is no ADL (activities of daily living) assessment required.

The launch of the benefit comes at a time when according to the NHS, 40% of carers look after a partner, spouse or child and 60% of working carers have to use annual or sick leave to care for a loved one while state carers allowance only provides £62.10 per week in benefit.

Iain Clark, distribution and marketing director at British Friendly, said: “We saw the opportunity to offer a new and improved version of carer’s cover where you do not need to give up work or be subjected to an ADL assessment to claim.

View from Protection Distributors Group

Commenting on the benefit launch, Emma Thomson, chair of protection distributors group, said: “There are 6.5m carers in the UK, many of whom struggle financially as a result, and we feel our industry needs to address this protection need alongside the other valuable products offered.”

Protection Distributors Group was formed earlier this year when ten major intermediary firms in the UK have joined forces in an effort to improve the protection market for consumers.

The ten founding members of the group are: Assured Futures, Drewberry, Futureproof, Highclere, LifeSearch, Lightblue, London & Country, Master Adviser, Roxburgh and Vita.

The group aims to raise the profile of protection insurance as well as liaising with appropriate industry bodies.