Carer’s Allowance is a benefit for people who regularly spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone with substantial caring needs.
What is Carer’s Allowance?
Carer’s Allowance is a benefit for people who regularly spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone with substantial caring needs. You don’t have to be related to that person or be living with them.
The person you’re caring for must be getting a qualifying benefit (Attendance Allowance, the Disability Living Allowance care component at the middle or highest rate, either rate of the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), or Armed Forces Independence Payment).
You can still qualify for Carer’s Allowance even if you have never been employed or paid National Insurance contributions.
Carer’s Allowance is not means tested, which means it isn’t affected by your income or savings. It is taxable.
You can get Carer’s Allowance even if you, the carer, are disabled and getting Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
Carer’s Allowance is not intended to be a wage for caring, or a payment for the services of caring.
If you claim Carer’s Allowance, it can sometimes reduce the amount of means-tested benefits that the person you look after can claim.
Do I qualify for Carer's Allowance?
You must be spending 35 hours or more a week caring for someone who receives a ‘qualifying benefit’. The qualifying benefits are:
- Attendance Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance care component at the middle or highest rate
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP) daily living component (either rate)
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
You must also:
- be 16 or over at the time of your claim
- have been living in England, Scotland or Wales for 2 of the last 3 years (and your immigration status doesn't prevent you claiming)
- be ‘habitually resident’ in the UK
- not be in full-time education (ie not be on an educational course of 21 hours or more supervised study a week)
- not earn more than £120 a week, if you are in paid employment
The rules for Carer's Allowance in Northern Ireland are different.
How much is Carer’s Allowance?
The weekly rate is £64.60.
Do other benefits affect Carer’s Allowance?
You can’t be paid Carer’s Allowance if you are getting the same amount or more from any of the following benefits:
- contributory Employment and Support Allowance
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Incapacity Benefit
- Maternity Allowance
- State Pension
- Widow’s Benefits or Widowed Parent’s Allowance
- contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
These benefits ‘overlap’, so you can only get the higher of the two benefits. If you can’t be paid Carer’s Allowance due to the overlapping benefits rule, you should still make a claim if you are eligible, because this will help with other benefits (see 'Why should I claim Carer’s Allowance' below).
How is Carer’s Allowance paid?
Carer’s Allowance is either paid in advance on a weekly basis or in arrears every 4 weeks.
Carer’s Allowance can be backdated for up to 3 months from the date that the person you care for started to get their qualifying benefit.
Your money will be paid into your bank or building society account.
Why should I claim Carer’s Allowance?
Claiming Carer’s Allowance may allow you to claim extra on other benefits you receive.
For example, if you qualify for Carer’s Allowance, you can get a £36-a-week ‘carer premium’ included in any income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit or Housing Benefit you may receive.
You may also qualify for a carer premium if you are entitled to Carer’s Allowance, but cannot be paid it because of another ‘overlapping’ benefit (see ‘Do other benefits affect Carer’s Allowance?’ above).
If you are eligible to claim Universal Credit (instead of one of the above benefits) and you're entitled to Carer’s Allowance, you can get a monthly £156.45 ‘carer element’ included in your Universal Credit.
For each week that you are entitled to Carer’s Allowance, you get a Class 1 National Insurance credit. This will help towards your entitlement to a State Pension.
In Scotland, if you are entitled to Carer’s Allowance, you get a ‘Carer’s Allowance Supplement’ of £221 every 6 months from the Scottish government.
Can a carer get Carer’s Allowance after the person they care for has died?
If the person you are caring for dies, you will get Carer’s Allowance payments for up to 8 weeks afterwards. This is to give carers who have recently been bereaved time to adjust and make plans for their own future.
The carer premium will also be paid during this 8 weeks. So if, as a carer, you are on income-related benefits, you will still be able to get this.
How do I claim Carer’s Allowance?
You can claim Carer's Allowance online.
To apply by post, use form DS700 (or form DS700(SP) if you claim a State Pension). Contact the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0800 731 0297 (textphone 0800 731 0317) to ask for a paper claim form.
In Northern Ireland, call 0800 587 0912 or claim online.