Carers allowance

Carers Allowance [CA] is a benefit for people who regularly spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a severely disabled person. You don't have to be related to, or live with, the disabled person. You can get CA if you also get Attendance Allowance [AA] or Disability Living Allowance [DLA], but you must be caring for another person who gets AA or DLA care component at the middle or highest rate.

Who can get Carer's Allowance?

You may be able to get Carer's Allowance if you are aged 16 or over and spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a person getting Attendance Allowance, or Disability Living Allowance [at the middle or highest rate for personal care], or Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the normal maximum rate with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, or basic [full day] rate with a War Disablement Pension.

You need to be caring for somebody who is getting one of the following benefits:-

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance at the middle or highest rate for personal care
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the normal maximum rate with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, or basic [full day] rate with a War Disablement Pension

If someone else is also looking after the same person, only one of you can get Carer's Allowance.

If you are caring for more than one disabled person you cannot add together the hours you do.

Carer's Allowance can be claimed by more than one person in a household, such as a couple caring for each other.

Carer's Allowance is not affected by any savings you may have.

Caring at weekends only

The caring week runs from Sunday to Saturday. Therefore, you could still be entitled to Carer's Allowance if you provide at least 35 hours of care but only over weekends.

If you have come from, or live, abroad

To be eligible, the following must apply:-

  • You must have been present in Great Britain [England, Scotland or Wales], Northern Ireland or the Isle of Man for at least 26 weeks in the 12 months prior to your date of claim
  • You must be in Great Britain when you make your claim
  • you are not subject to immigration control

Certain people can be treated as being present in Great Britain. For example, if you are a member of the Armed Forces, or living with a member of the Armed Forces, and you are based abroad, you are regarded as living in Great Britain.

If you move to another country in the European Economic Area or to Switzerland, you may continue to receive Carer's Allowance under certain circumstances.

Who cannot get Carer's Allowance

You cannot get Carer's Allowance if:

  • You are on a course of full-time education
  • You are on holiday from a course of full-time education

Full-time education means 21 hours or more of supervised study each week undertaken through a school, college, university or similar educational establishment. This includes time spent on related exercises, experiments, projects or examinations. The study need not be in the presence of a tutor.

Work and earnings

You cannot get Carer's Allowance if you earn more than £95 a week after money has been taken off to allow for your expenses.

Expenses that are allowed are for things like:-

  • Some National Insurance [NI] contributions
  • Income Tax
  • Half of any money you pay towards personal or occupational pension schemes
  • Other expenses you have to pay because they are a necessary part of your job

After allowing for these things, you are allowed up to half the rest of the money you earn to help meet the cost of paying someone else [but not a close relative] to look after a child or children, or the person you look after, while you are at work.

Residing or Remaining in the UK

You cannot get Carer's Allowance if your right to reside or remain in the United Kingdom is subject to limitation or restriction by the Home Office.

How Much do you Get?

The weekly rate is approx £50.55 [since last checked]. This is reduced by the amount of certain other benefits, including State Pension, that you receive. If you receive certain other benefits at £50.55 or more a week, Carer's Allowance cannot be paid to you as well.

You may have to pay tax on the amount you receive.

You may be able to get an additional amount for your husband, wife or civil partner or someone living with you who looks after your dependent children.

How it's Paid

Carer's Allowance is normally paid directly into any account of your choice which accepts Direct Payment of benefits. This might be a bank, building society, or other account provider.

You may be able to get someone else to collect your Carer's Allowance if you wish. For help with this contact your bank, building society or other account provider.

If you would like more information about how you can be paid by other means contact the Carer's Allowance Unit - details are in the How to claim section.

Your benefits

If you receive certain other benefits including the State Pension which are paid at a rate that is the same or more than Carer's Allowance, you may not receive payment of Carer's Allowance but may have what is called an underlying entitlement.

Payment of Carer's Allowance is taken into account in full in the calculation of income-related benefits and Pension Credit. However, if you receive Carer's Allowance or have underlying entitlement to it, you will qualify for the carer premium in Income Support and income-based Jobseekers Allowance. The current rate is £27.75 per week [at last check].

If you get Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit, the local council will include an amount for the carer premium when they work out how much Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit you can get. Claiming Carer's Allowance can also affect the amount of Pension Credit you receive. If you get Pension Credit, the amount used to work out how much you are entitled to is increased by £27.75.

Carer's Allowance and National Insurance Contributions

For each week you receive Carer's Allowance you will normally get a National Insurance [NI] contribution added to your NI record up to the tax year in which you turn 60 [unless you are a woman who has chosen to pay reduced rate NI contributions].

You will also normally be credited with an NI contribution for any week you are entitled to Carer's Allowance but it is not paid because you are also getting Widow's Benefit or Bereavement Benefits at the same or higher weekly rate.

These NI contributions may help you to qualify for the basic rate of certain other benefits or entitlements in the future.

Want to Know More?

If you want to know more about Carers Allowance and how it can help you, please visit the UK Gov website to find out more [].