What is Carer’s Allowance?
Carer’s Allowance is a benefit for people who care for someone with a disability in the person’s own home. The standard rate is £62.70 per week, regardless of if you care for more than one person. The person you care for does not have to be a relative, and you don’t have to live with them. You must care for at least one person for at least 35 hours every week. The person you care for must be receiving one of the following benefits, at these rates:
- the daily living component of PIP (Personal Independence Payment)
- the middle or highest care rate of DLA (Disability Living Allowance)
- Attendance Allowance
- the normal maximum rate or above of Constant Attendance Allowance with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- the basic full day rate of Constant Attendance Allowance with a War Disablement Pension
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
Can I claim Carer’s Allowance?
If you are a carer and meet the criteria above, you may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance. However, your eligibility also depends on further factors. First of all, you must be 16 years old or over and living in England, Scotland, or Wales. You must have been in one of these countries for at least 2 out of the last 3 years. The only exceptions are refugees, or members of the armed forces living abroad. You cannot be in full-time education, and if you are studying it must be for less than 21 hours a week. Your earnings and any other benefits you receive will also affect your eligibility. If somebody else cares for the same person as well, only one of you can claim Carer’s Allowance.
Can I claim Carer’s Allowance if I work?
You can claim Carer’s Allowance whether or not you are in paid work. However, you cannot earn more than £116 per week. This total is after deductions for income tax, National Insurance, and half of any pension contributions. If your earnings in one week go over £116, you will not receive your payment for that week. Carer’s Allowance is taxable, which means it counts as income if you are applying for Tax Credits. If you already get Child Tax Credits or Working Tax Credits, you must report your Carer’s Allowance claim. You can do this by calling 0843 178 3408. Your savings don’t affect your claim, and you don’t have to be paying National Insurance contributions to be eligible.
What other benefits can I claim with Carer’s Allowance?
For every week that you get Carer’s Allowance, you will automatically receive National Insurance credits. These will count towards your State Pension. If Carer’s Allowance is the only benefit you are claiming, there are a few others you can also apply for. These include Council Tax reductions, Income Support for low incomes, and Pension Credit if you are above working age. If you cannot work yourself due to a medical condition or disability, you might be able to claim income-based Employment and Support Allowance. You can still receive Personal Independence Payments or Attendance Allowance. Besides these, there are rules limiting the other benefits you can claim.
Certain benefits cannot overlap, so you can only claim one of them. These include Incapacity Benefit, State Pension, Maternity Allowance, Widows’ Benefits, Bereavement Support Payments, and contribution-based ESA or Jobseeker’s Allowance. If you get £62.70 or more per week from these, then you cannot get Carer’s Allowance as well. If you are eligible for a different benefit, you may receive this instead. You will get a top-up to bring it up to £62.70 a week if it is less than this amount. You might be able to claim a Carer Premium of £34.95 per week on top of any of these benefits. Use a benefits calculator to check what you are entitled to before you make any claims.
Can I claim Carer’s Allowance for myself?
Carer’s Allowance is for carers who look after people other than themselves. For this reason, you cannot claim Carer’s Allowance for caring for yourself. If you need financial support for your care due to chronic illness or disability, you can apply for other benefits. Disability Living Allowance is now only available for children under 16. Adults from 16 to 64 years old can apply for PIP instead. You could receive between £22 and £141.10 per week, depending on how your condition affects you. Those over 65 can apply for Attendance Allowance. You could get from £55.65 to £83.10 a week to cover your personal support costs if you need to pay somebody to help look after you.
If you are of working age, you could apply for employment support such as ESA. This provides financial support if you are too ill to work, or personal support to help you work. If you already receive Income Support or income-based JSA, you may be eligible for a Disability Premium. There are also Severe Disability Premiums and the Enhanced Disability Premium. These all depend on your circumstances. Contact your Jobcentre Plus to find out if you are eligible for any Premiums. If you do have a carer who puts in a claim for Carer’s Allowance, this will affect your own benefits. You might no longer receive Severe Disability Premiums and any reductions to your Council Tax.
How do I claim Carer’s Allowance?
If you decide to make a claim for Carer’s Allowance, you can apply for it online at any time. If your entitlement predates your claim, you can ask to backdate payments for up to three months. You can do this when you apply, and you don’t need to provide a reason for claiming late. If you have a partner, they might have to attend an interview with a personal adviser regarding your Carer’s Allowance claim. Before you apply, make sure you have all of this information you will need ready:
- your National Insurance number (and your partner’s, if you have one)
- your bank details (unless you receive your State Pension)
- the details of your employment and your most recent payslip if you are working
- your P45 if you recently left work
- the details of your course if you are studying
- the details of the person you care for (their name, date of birth, address, and National Insurance number or Disability Living Allowance reference)
Once you start receiving Carer’s Allowance, payments will go directly into your bank, building society, or Post Office account. If you do not have one of these accounts, the DWP will issue a Simple Payment card you can use to collect the benefit at a PayPoint outlet. You can choose to receive payments weekly in advance or every four weeks in arrears. You may also qualify for a Christmas Bonus of £10 every year. This will be paid automatically, so you don’t have to claim it.
Changes to Carer’s Allowance
You will need to report any changes in your circumstances, including getting a job, temporarily stopping care, or quitting being a carer. Call 0843 178 4191 to report any changes which may affect your entitlement. You can still get Carer’s Allowance for up to 12 weeks if either you or the person you are caring for goes into hospital. If either of you goes on holiday, you can still receive it for up to 4 weeks. If the person you care for is in the hospital for over 28 days, their qualifying benefit usually stops. This means that your Carer’s Allowance will also stop. You can continue to receive Carer’s Allowance payments for 8 weeks if the person you are caring for passes away.