If you are providing care for someone for at least 35 hours per week and they receive certain disability benefits you may be eligible to claim Carers Allowance.
You could receive £66.15 per week and you don’t have to be related to, or live with, the person you are caring for. However if you care for more than one person, you can only be paid for one and you will receive no extra.
In order to qualify for Carer’s Allowance both you and the person you are caring for must meet certain eligibility criteria.
The person you care for must be receiving one of the following benefits:
- Personal Independence Payment - daily living component
- Disability Living Allowance - the middle or highest care rate
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the normal maximum rate with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Constant Attendance Allowance at the basic (full day) rate with a War Disablement Pension
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
Your details and eligibility criteria
In order to receive Carers Allowance your earnings must not exceed £123.00 a week after tax and expenses. You can include, 50% of your pension contributions and some of the costs of caring for your children or the disabled person you care for (while you’re working) when calculating expenses.
In addition all of the following must also apply to you:
- You are at least 16
- You provide care for someone for at least 35 hours per week
- You’ve been in England, Scotland or Wales for at least 2 of the last 3 years (this does not apply if you’re a refugee or humanitarian protection status)
- England, Scotland or Wales is where you normally reside, or you live abroad as a member of the armed forces
- You’re not in full-time education
- You’re not studying for 21 hours or more per week
- You’re not subject to immigration control
You could still be eligible if you’re moving to or already living in another EEA country or Switzerland.
You could be entitled to Carer’s Credit if you’re not eligible for Carer’s Allowance.
The impact on other benefits
Claiming carers Allowance can have an impact on other benefits you receive and the benefits the person you care for receives.
The impact on the person you care for
When you claim Carer’s Allowance, this will impact on the person you care for. The following entitlements will cease:
- They will no longer receive the severe disability premium which is paid with their benefits
- They will no longer receive an extra amount for severe disability which is paid with their Pension Credit, (if they receive one)
- They will no longer receive reduced Council Tax (enquire with their local authority to see if entitlement will be affected)
The impact on your benefits
When you claim Carer’s Allowance your other benefits will be affected, some may be reduced, however your total benefit payments will normally increase or stay the same.
- The Benefit cap - Carer’s Allowance is not taken into account
- If you receive Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit, you must notify HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) about your Carer’s Allowance claim
You are not normally able to receive Carer’s Allowance at the same time as certain other benefits, due to the overlapping rules. Those benefits are:
- State Pension
- contributory Employment and Support Allowance
- Incapacity Benefit
- Maternity Allowance
- Bereavement or widow’s benefits
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
If you receive one of these benefits and the amount is more than Carer’s Allowance, you cannot be paid Carer’s Allowance. You will be able to claim an ‘underlying entitlement’ to Carer’s Allowance instead. To be entitled you will need to meet all of the conditions for Carer’s Allowance and you are still required to make a claim for Carer’s Allowance as well.
Being eligible for an ‘underlying entitlement’ to Carer’s Allowance can increase any means-tested benefits you are already getting or might mean you become entitled to means-tested benefits for the first time. This is because the carer premium, carer addition or carer element can be included in the calculations used for means-tested benefits.
If you receive one of these benefits and the amount is less than Carer’s Allowance, you could be paid a small amount of Carer’s Allowance in addition to the other benefit you receive.
If you are unable to claim Carer’s Allowance, but you are caring for a disabled person you may be able to claim Carer’s Credit. Carer’s Credit is a way of protecting your pension rights when you are not paying NI contributions through paid work. You don’t receive any money, instead you get a NI contribution credit to help protect your record.
To qualify and to make a claim you need to be looking after someone for a minimum of 20 hours or more per week. The person you are looking after must usually be receiving one of the following:
- the middle or the higher rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) (at either rate)
- Attendance Allowance (at either rate) or Constant Attendance Allowance
- Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
If the person you’re looking after doesn’t receive any of these benefits, you may still be able to get Carer’s Credit. When you make your application, fill in the Care Certificate part of the application form and ask a health or social care professional to sign it.
Carer’s Credit can also help when you have breaks in your caring role. You can claim Carer’s Credit for any week within 12 weeks before the date you become entitled to Carer’s Allowance or following the week you stop being entitled to Carer’s Allowance. This is without meeting the 20 hour condition. Therefore, you could have a break from caring for up to 12 weeks without losing your NI contribution credit.
How to claim Carer's credit?
You can download a copy of the Carer’s Credit claim form. Visit: www.gov.uk/government/publications/carers-credit-application-form
The form will include a Care Certificate - ask a health or social care professional to sign it for you (see above).
You can also telephone the Carer’s Allowance Unit.
Carer’s Allowance Unit
T: 0800 731 0297
Textphone: 0800 731 0317
NGT text relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 731 0297
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Call the Carer’s Allowance Unit to ask for alternative formats, such as braille, large print or audio CD.
Where to send your form
Carer's Allowance Unit
Mail Handling Site A
How to claim Carer's Allowance
Carer’s Allowance will normally be backdated for 3 months only, but there are exceptions. You can claim within three months of the person you care for receiving a decision about their qualifying disability benefit.You will then be able to receive carer’s Allowance and have it backdated to the date the qualifying disability benefit was awarded. However you must have satisfied the Carer’s Allowance conditions for the whole of that period.
You can apply online. Visit: www.carersallowance.service.gov.uk/allowance-benefits and you will need the following information ready to complete the claim:
- Your National Insurance number and your partners (if you have a partner)
- Your bank or building society details (unless you receive State Pension)
- Your employment details and latest payslip (if you’re employed)
- Your P45 if you’ve recently ended employment
- Your course details if you’re studying
- Details of any expenses, such as your pension contributions or the cost of caring for your children or the disabled person while you’re at work
You will also need details of the disabled person you care for. You need their:
- Date of birth and address
- National Insurance number if they’re 16 or over
- Disability Living Allowance reference if they’re under 16
You can also telephone to request a claim pack DS700 (or DS700(SP) if you are getting a State Pension
Carer’s Allowance Unit
T: 0800 731 0297 (text phone 0800 731 0317, calls from typetalk are also welcome)
Changes in circumstance
You must report any change in your circumstances whether you are already claiming or if you have applied for Carer’s Allowance. For example, getting a job, or temporarily temporarily stop providing care for the disabled person you are claiming Carers Allowance for.
The implications of not reporting any changes, may mean you could be overpaid and will be required to pay it back. Your Carer’s Allowance may also be stopped, you could be taken to court or receive a fine.
You must also inform the Department for Work and Pensions if the person you care for dies.
Temporary break in caring for someone
If you stop caring for someone temporarily, for example because they have gone into hospital, you can still receive Carer’s Allowance.
The usual requirement is that you receive Carer’s Allowance for caring for someone for 35 hours a week. However you or the person you care for could go on holiday or go into respite care or hospital, for example. In these situations, you will be allowed to continue your entitlement for:
- Up to 12 weeks if either of you go into respite care or hospital
- Up to 4 weeks if either of you go on holiday
If your claim for Carer’s Allowance is turned down, you can ask the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) (England, Wales & Scotland) or the Department for Communities (DfC) (Northern Ireland) to look at the decision again.
You are required to do this before you appeal. This is known as a mandatory reconsideration. You can complete a mandatory reconsideration form to but you do not have to use this, you can write your own letter instead. If you still disagree with the mandatory reconsideration decision, you must lodge an appeal with the Tribunal Service (England, Wales & Scotland) or the Appeals Service (TAS) (Northern Ireland) and attach a copy of the mandatory reconsideration notice with the appeal.
You will need to be aware of strict time limits. You will normally need to take action within one month.