You may be entitled to Carer's Allowance if you care for someone who is ill or disabled in their own home. If you are paid Carer's Allowance, your other benefits may decrease or increase. In some cases the benefits of the person cared for may be affected.
Note: this leaflet gives a brief summary of Carer's Allowance and is for guidance only. It does not cover all situations, nor is it a full statement of the law. Sources of further, more detailed information are given at the end.
Who can get Carer's Allowance?
Not every carer is eligible for Carer's Allowance. This is because there are certain rules which apply to the carer, and to the person being cared for. The rules include the following.
Regarding the carer
It does not matter if you (the carer) are related to the ill or disabled person, or whether you live in the same household. For example, you could care for a relative who lives with you. Or, for example, you could care for a friend or neighbour who lives in a different home from you. However:
- You must be aged over 16.
- You must be spending at least 35 hours a week looking after the ill or disabled person. You do not need to care for the person every day - just for 35 hours or more per week.
- You must have lived in England, Scotland or Wales for two of the last three years.
- You normally live in England, Scotland or Wales.
- You must earn less than £110 a week (after taxes, care costs while you're at work and 50% of what you pay into your pension).
- You're not in full-time education or studying for 21 hours a week or more.
Note: rules are different for Northern Ireland. Information is available from the nidirect government services (see below).
Regarding the person you care for
The person you are caring for must be receiving one of the following benefits which are paid to them because they need care:
- Attendance Allowance.
- Or the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Or the care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), paid at the middle or higher rate.
- Or Constant Attendance Allowance with:
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (at, or above, the normal maximum rate).
- Or War Disablement Pension (at the basic full day rate or above).
If the person you care for is not receiving one of the above benefits, and you are spending a lot of time caring for them then they are likely to be entitled to one of these benefits and they should claim. This will give them extra money and also enable you to claim Carer's Allowance.
But note: certain benefits for the person you care for can reduce if you get Carer's Allowance.
How much is Carer's Allowance?
The standard rate of Carer's Allowance is £62.10 a week (April 2015 rate). Payment is usually made directly into a bank account, building society account, Post Office account, or National Savings account. But note:
- Carer's Allowance is a taxable benefit.
- A benefit cap limits the total amount of benefit that most people from 16-64 can be paid.
- Also, as mentioned, the person cared for may have a reduction in certain benefits if you receive Carer's Allowance.
You will normally get a National Insurance (NI) contribution added to your NI record for each week you get Carer's Allowance.
How can I claim Carer's Allowance?
You need, or someone on your behalf needs, to complete a claim form. To get a claim form:
- Contact the Carer's Allowance Unit (details below).
- Download one from GOV.UK (details below).
- If you live in Northern Ireland, you can download one from the nidirect website (details below).
What if circumstances change?
You should tell the Carer's Allowance Unit about any change of circumstances, as it may affect what you are paid.
Dr Tim Kenny
Dr Hayley Willacy