If you qualify for Carer’s Allowance it means that the government accept that you are ‘really’ a carer and opens the door to a range of benefits, as well as Carer’s Allowance itself. So if you are caring for someone who is ill or disabled it’s important to check out your entitlement to this.
Who is entitled to Carer’s Allowance?
To get Carer’s Allowance there are rules that apply to you, and rules that
apply to the person you are caring for.
- Must be at least 16 years old
- Must be caring for the person for at least 35 hours per week
- If you are in paid work as well, you must not be earning more than £116 per week (this is called not being ‘gainfully employed’)
- You must NOT be in full time education
The person you are caring for must be getting one of the following benefits (these are called qualifying benefits):
- Attendance Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance, IF they are getting the middle or highest rate of the care component
- Personal Independence Payment, IF they are getting the daily living component
- Constant Attendance Allowance (as part of an industrial injuries or war pension benefit)
- Armed forces independence payment
- If you care for more than one person, you can’t add the hours you care for each to them together to get to your total of 35 hours: you must care for at least one person for at least 35 hours per week
- If you stop caring for at least 35 hours per week you normally stop being entitled to Carer’s Allowance: however you are allowed four weeks off every six months, and an additional eight weeks if the person you are caring for goes into hospital for eight weeks (as long as they keep getting their qualifying benefit)
- If the person you are caring for dies, you are allowed to carry on getting Carer’s Allowance for a further eight weeks after this
How much are you entitled to?
Carer’s Allowance is £62.70 per week.
(In the past some people could get extra amounts if they had a spouse or civil partner, or a child, but this is not now possible (unless you were getting these extra bits before the rules changed).)
Carer’s Allowance is non means-tested and not contribution based, so it doesn’t matter what your national insurance history is and it doesn’t matter if you have other money coming in.
However: if you are getting some certain other benefits you may not actually get paid any Carer’s Allowance, even if you are entitled to it. This is because of something called the overlapping benefits rules. These rules say that you can’t get some benefits at the same time, and if you are entitled to two (or more) of them you can only actually get paid whichever is the bigger. The benefits that are most likely to cause this to happen with you are:
- Incapacity Benefit
- Contribution based Employment and Support Allowance
- State Retirement Pension
Fortunately, even if this does apply to you, you will be still be regarded as a carer by the Jobcentre Plus, and will still be entitled to other benefits that depend on you being entitled to Carer’s Allowance.
How should you claim?
Make sure you claim as soon as you can. This is because normally you cannot get an award for Carer’s Allowance backdated for more than three months.
To claim Carer’s Allowance you need to complete a Carer’s Allowance form.
- You can do this online, at www.dwp.gov.uk/carersallowance;
- You can ask for a form by phone, on 0845 608 4321
|Before you claim it is very important to find out if the person you are caring for is getting the severe disability premium as part of any means-tested benefit that they are receiving. This is because one of the conditions of them getting this premium is that no-one is getting Carer’s Allowance for them, so if you claim Carer’s Allowance they lose the right to this. If they are getting the severe disability premium seek further advice.|
Depending on what you've now found out, choose one of the following options:
- ‘What else might I be entitled to if I am entitled to Carer’s Allowance?’
- ‘What are my options if I am not entitled to Carer’s Allowance?’