Carer’s Benefits

If you are caring for someone it is important you claim all the available financial support. The additional money could allow you to take a break from caring, or help pay for other living expenses. Below is a list of the main carer’s benefits.

What is Carer’s Allowance

Carer’s Allowance is the primary benefit claimed by those who are caring for another person. Unlike some other benefits, Carer’s Allowance is neither means tested nor classed as a contributory benefit. This means it has no relation to you or your partner’s income, capital or NI record. However, there is a cap on how much you can earn from paid employment whilst still being able to make a claim for Carer’s Allowance.

Carer’s Allowance is also taxable, so if you have other sources of income such as a pension plan or income from paid employment, you maybe be liable for tax. It is worth noting however, that you will only pay tax if your other sources of income combined with Carer’s Allowance take you over the tax threshold (as the benefit on its own is below the tax threshold)

Basic eligibility criteria

  • You must be aged 16 or over
  • You must not be in full time education
  • You must earn less than £132 a week after deductions
  • You must look after the person you care for at least 35 hours per week
  • You must have been living in England, Wales or Scotland for at least two of the last three years

In addition to this, you don’t have to be related to or living with the individual you are caring for. If the person you are caring for claims a disability related benefit, such as the Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, or Armed Forces Independence Payment, then you may be eligible to claim Carer’s Allowance.

How much could I be entitled to?

If you meet the criteria outlined above and your claim is successful, you could get £69.70 a week. If you are caring for more than one person by yourself however you won’t be able to claim anything extra. If there is someone else living in your household who is also caring for a different person, they will need to submit a separate claim.

How often is the money paid?

Carer’s Allowance is paid directly into your bank or building society account either weekly or in some cases every 4 weeks.

Will my claim affect other benefits I am claiming?

If you are eligible for Carer’s Allowance you may be able to claim additional benefits including Council Tax Reduction, Income Support, income based Employment and Support Allowance and Pension Credit.

Claiming Carer’s Allowance may however affect other benefits you and the person you are caring for receive. For the person you are caring for, the claiming of Carer’s Allowance will see the Severe Disability Premium (both paid with their benefits and Pension Credit) cease to be paid. Claiming Carer’s Allowance may also affect the amount of Council Tax Reduction the person you are caring for can receive. As a carer, you may also see your entitlement to other existing benefits impacted upon as a result of claiming Carer’s Allowance. Overall however, your total benefit payments will usually increase or remain the same.

Whilst Carer’s Allowance doesn’t count towards the benefit cap, if you claim Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit you should notify the Tax Credit’s Office.

What is Carer’s Credit?

If you are claiming Carer’s Allowance you will also be eligible to receive automatic National Insurance credits, known formally as Carer’s Credit (CC). Whilst Carer’s Credit is often associated with Carer’s Allowance, those who don’t qualify for Carer’s Allowance may still be eligible to claim Carer’s Credit.

Basic eligibility criteria

With Carer’s Credit, you must be..

  • Aged 16 or over
  • Spend at least 20 hours per week caring for one or more people
  • Be under the State Pension age
  • Caring for an individual who claims Disability Living Allowance at the middle or highest rate, Attendance Allowance, Constant Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Payment or Armed Forces Independence Payment.

If the person you are caring for doesn’t claim the benefits above, you may be considered for Carer’s Credit if you can get a healthcare professional to certify the person you are looking after needs the hours of care you are providing. To make a claim under these circumstances you need to complete the Care Certificate as part of your application and get a health or social care professional to sign it.

Breaks in care should not affect your entitlement if your claim is successful. Carer’s Credit permits breaks from caring of up to 12 weeks in a row meaning you can take short holidays (with or without the person you are caring for) without it affecting your eligibility. If you or the person you look after goes into hospital, you will still receive Carer’s Credit, however if the break in caring extends to more than 12 weeks you must inform the Carer’s Allowance Unit.

How much could I be entitled to?

Carer’s Credit aims to bridge the gap in your National Insurance record so when the time comes to retire you will receive the State Pension you are entitled to. The amount of credits you receive will depend on your individual circumstances.

Will claiming Carer’s credit affect other benefits I am claiming?

Claiming Carer’s Credit will not affect any other benefits you claim. You don’t need to apply for Carer’s Credit if you currently claim Carer’s Allowance or Child Benefit for a child under 12 (as you automatically receive credits). If you are a foster carer, you should apply for National Insurance credits instead of Carer’s Credit.

What is Carer’s Premium?

Carer’s Premium is an additional benefit that you may be entitled to if you are in receipt of certain other benefits.

Basic Eligibility Criteria

You may be entitled to Carer’s Premium if you currently receive any of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Universal Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • *Carers Allowance

*Note you don’t have to be in receipt of Carers Allowance in order to qualify for Carers Premium, however you must have met the eligiblity criteria.

How much could I be entitled to?

A Carer’s Premium of up to £38.85 per week may be available if you meet the criteria. The Carer Element (paid with Universal Credit) is worth £168.35 a month which equates to around £38 a week

Will my Carer’s Premium claim affect other benefits I am claiming?

This varies depending on your individual circumstances. For further details, including information on how to claim Carer’s Premium, please contact your local Jobcentre or Benefits Office.

Local welfare assistance

Local Welfare Assistance is another source of financial support that you may be able to claim as a carer.

You may be entitled to local welfare assistance if…

  • You are on a low income
  • You are claiming certain benefits
  • There is a local welfare assistance scheme within your area

Even if you are not receiving benefits, you may still be able to claim local welfare assistance. The majority of local welfare assistance schemes take the challenges faced by carers into account as part of the application process.

Other benefits you could claim

As well as carer’s allowance, you could also be entitled to the following benefit (s)

  • Income Support
  • Employment Support Allowance (if you have your own health problems)
  • Job Seekers Allowance (if you are looking for work whilst also caring for someone)
  • Tax Credits
  • Universal Credit
  • Housing Benefit

You could also be entitled to claim the following extra support

  • Mobility Scheme (to pay for a car/wheelchair etc)
  • Disabled Persons Railcard (Get 1/3rd off rail fares)
  • Blue badge parking
  • Various discounts to visitor attractions