Benefits & credits: Carer's Allowance

Notes

1. Overview

Carer’s Allowance is £61.35 a week to help you look after someone with substantial caring needs.

You don’t have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for.

You must be 16 or over and spend at least 35 hours a week caring for them.

Carer’s Allowance is taxable. It can also affect your other benefits.

2. What you'll get

You can get £61.35 a week Carer’s Allowance.

You may also be able to claim other benefits, eg an income-related benefit and Pension Credit.

Use the benefits adviser to work out how much you can get and if your other benefits will be affected.

How you’re paid

You can choose to be paid either weekly in advance, or every 4 or 13 weeks.

All benefits, pensions and allowances are paid into an account, eg your bank account.

Effect on other benefits

A new benefit called Universal Credit started to be introduced in some areas of the country from 29 April 2013. If you get Universal Credit, it might affect how much you get from other benefits.

Any means-tested benefits you get will be reduced by the same amount you get from Carer’s Allowance. This includes:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit

An extra amount (called the ‘carer premium’) will be included in the calculation of your means-tested benefits.

You might also be eligible for a Council Tax Reduction.

The benefit cap limits the amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get. Some individual benefits aren’t affected, but it may affect the total amount of benefit you get.

Effects on the benefits of the person you care for

Carer’s Allowance can affect the benefits of the person you care for, if they get a severe disability premium with with any of these benefits:

  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Housing Benefit

Their severe disability premium will stop if you get Carer’s Allowance for looking after them. It can also affect their Council Tax reduction. Contact your local council to find out if this affects them.

Underlying entitlement

You can’t normally get 2 income-replacement benefits (eg Carer’s Allowance and the State Pension) paid together.

This is called the ‘overlapping benefit rule’. If you can’t be paid Carer’s Allowance because of this rule, you have ‘underlying entitlement’ to Carer’s Allowance instead.

This might mean you could get:

  • the carer premiums in Jobseeker’s Allowance and Income Support
  • the extra amount for carers in Pension Credit
  • the carer element in Universal Credit

Your State Pension

Usually, for each week you get Carer’s Allowance or the underlying entitlement you also get:

3. Eligibility

Conditions you must meet

You might get Carer’s Allowance if you:

  • are 16 or over
  • spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone
  • are in Great Britain when you claim - there are some exceptions, eg members and family members of the Armed Forces
  • have been in Great Britain for at least 2 of the last 3 years
  • are habitually resident in the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man or the Channel Islands
  • are not subject to immigration control (unless you’re a sponsored immigrant)

There are some exceptions to these conditions if you’re living in another EEA country.

Conditions the person you care for must meet

The person you care for must get 1 of:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the normal maximum rate with Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at the basic (full day) rate with a War Disablement Pension
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
  • Personal Independence Payment daily living component
  • Disability Living Allowance - the middle or highest care rate

Use the benefits adviser to check your eligibility for benefits.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) started to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) from 8 April 2013 for people aged 16 to 64 with a health condition or disability.

You don’t have to do anything now as a carer unless your circumstances change.

Exceptions

You may not get Carer’s Allowance if you:

  • are in full-time education, and studying for 21 hours a week or more (this includes supervised study and things like coursework and experiments, not just time spent with a tutor)
  • earn more than £100 a week (after tax, National Insurance and allowable expenses, which include care costs while you’re at work and 50% of any payments into a pension)

You may not get Carer’s allowance if you are paid £61.35 or more for:

  • Bereavement Allowance
  • contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Industrial Death Benefit
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • State Pension
  • training allowance
  • Unemployability Supplement – paid with Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit or War Pension
  • War Widow’s or Widower’s Pension
  • Widowed Mother’s Allowance
  • Widowed Parent’s Allowance
  • Widow’s Pension

If you can’t get Carer’s Allowance, Jobcentre Plus will work out if the your benefits can be increased or if you can get other benefits.

4. How to claim

You can apply for Carer’s Allowance:

You can also get a printed form by contacting the Carer’s Allowance Unit.

What you need to know

It can take 4 to 6 weeks to process your claim.

Only 1 of you can get Carer’s Allowance, if there is more than 1 carer looking after the same person.

You can get your Carer’s Allowance backdated for up to 3 months if you were entitled to it before claiming.

Appeal a decision

You can appeal against the decision about your Carer’s Allowance if you’re unhappy with it.

Check the date on your decision letter. There are different ways to appeal if your decision was made:

5. Further information

If your circumstances change

You must report any change in your circumstances if you’re claiming or have applied for Carer’s Allowance.

This includes if you get a job, take a break from caring for someone or stop being a carer altogether.

Credits help to fill in any gaps in your National Insurance record. This can mean that you’ll still get the full State Pension and other benefits. These credits generally stop:

  • in the tax year you reach State Pension age
  • if you get the underlying entitlement and Widow’s Benefit or Bereavement Benefit

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