Carer’s Allowance is a benefit for people who regularly spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone with substantial care needs.
You don’t have to be related to the person you're caring for or be living with them. The person you’re caring for must be getting a qualifying benefit (see 'Do I qualify?' section for qualifying benefits).
You can qualify for Carer’s Allowance even if you've never been employed or paid National Insurance contributions.
Carer’s Allowance is not means-tested. In other words, it's not affected by how much savings you have. However, if you (the carer) receive a weekly income of £128 or more, you won't qualify for Carer's Allowance. The benefit is also taxable.
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 care for can claim. To find out more, contact Citizens Advice or another organisation that gives benefits advice, such as your local welfare rights group.
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 daily living component (either rate)
- Constant Attendance Allowance from either maximum Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit or full day rate of War Pension Disablement Benefit
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
You must also:
- be aged 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 (unless you are exempt. If you are unsure, you can contact our helpline on 0808 800 0303 or [email protected] for advice)
- not be in full-time education (which means you're not on an educational course of 21 hours or more supervised study a week)
- not earn more than £128 a week (after tax), if you're in paid employment
The rules for Carer's Allowance in Northern Ireland are different.
In Scotland, a new Young Carer's grant of £305.10 can be awarded to those who are aged 16-18, still in school, provide care for 16 hours a week or more, and do not receive Carer's Allowance.
The weekly rate is £67.25
Yes. You can’t be paid Carer’s Allowance if you are getting the same amount or more from any of the following benefits:
- Contributory/new-style Employment and Support Allowance
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Incapacity Benefit
- Maternity Allowance
- State Pension
- Widow’s Benefits or Widowed Parent’s Allowance
- Contribution-based/new-style Jobseeker’s Allowance
These benefits ‘overlap’, so you can only get the higher of the 2 benefits. If you can’t be paid Carer’s Allowance due to the overlapping benefits rule, you should still make a claim if you're eligible, because this will help with other benefits (see the section '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 £37.50-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're entitled to Carer’s Allowance, but can't be paid it because of another ‘overlapping’ benefit (see ‘Do other benefits affect Carer’s Allowance?’)
If you're 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 £162.92 ‘carer element’ included in your Universal Credit.
For each week that you're 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're entitled to Carer’s Allowance, you get a ‘Carer’s Allowance Supplement’ of £230.10 every 6 months from the Scottish government.
Carer’s Allowance can be paid in advance on a weekly basis or in arrears every 4 weeks.
Carer’s Allowance can sometimes be backdated for up to 3 months. It can also be backdated 3 months from the date that the person you care for started to get their qualifying benefit, such as Personal Independence Payment or Attendance Allowance.
Your money will be paid into your bank or building society account.
Carer's Credit is intended to protect the State Pension rights of carers who are not able to pay National Insurance contributions and are not entitled to Carer's Allowance.
You will not directly receive any money for Carer's Credit. But by filling any gaps in your National Insurance record (for example, because you are unable to work while caring for someone) it will help to protect your State Pension entitlement and other benefits that depend on National Insurance contributions.
You could get Carer’s Credit if you’re caring for someone for at least 20 hours a week and are not entitled to Carer's Allowance.
You can claim Carer's Credit online, or call 0800 731 0297 (textphone 0800 731 0317).
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Last updated July 2020. We review all our information within 3 years. If you'd like to find out more about how we put our information together, including references and the sources of evidence we use, please contact us at [email protected]