Find out more about Carer’s Allowance and how to claim it
The team at Employers For Childcare’s Family Benefits Advice Service regularly speaks to parents, and others, who are caring for someone with a disability, such as a child in receipt of Disability Living Allowance or an adult in receipt of Personal Independence Payment. Often in these circumstances, the person providing the care may be entitled to financial support through Carer’s Allowance.
What is Carer’s Allowance?
Carer’s Allowance is a benefit that can be paid to people who are aged over 16 and are spending at least 35 hours per week caring for someone who is disabled.
Carer’s Allowance is paid weekly at a rate of £69.70, however you will receive less if you get certain benefits or State Pension. Having savings does not affect how much you get.
You do not have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for. You do not get paid extra if you care for more than one person. If someone else also provides care for the same person as you, only one of you can claim Carer’s Allowance.
Eligibility for Carer’s Allowance depends on both your circumstances and those of the person you are caring for.
The person you care for must get one of the following disability benefits:
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – daily living component
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA) – the middle or highest rate for personal care
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance – at no less than the full day rate
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- In Scotland, the Child Disability Payment – the middle or highest care rate.
As the person providing the care you must:
- be aged over 16
- spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone who is ill or has a disability
- not be in full time education (21 hours or more a week)
- not be earning more than £132 a week from employment or self-employment, after the following deductions:
- Income Tax and Class 1 National Insurance contributions
- Half of your pension contributions
- Expenses, including some business related costs if you are self-employed, or paying a carer to look after the disabled person or your children while you work (provided these care costs are no more than 50% of your earnings)
- not be subject to immigration control that would stop you from getting benefits.
Effect on other benefits
Carer’s Allowance forms part of your taxable income and can affect other benefits that you, or the person you care for, receive.
If you receive Carer’s Allowance, it will be taken into account as income when calculating certain benefits such as Universal Credit and Housing Benefit however, it can also mean that you qualify for a ‘carer premium’.
When you are providing care and receiving Carer’s Allowance, the person you care for may stop getting:
- the severe disability premium in their income-related benefit, or
- the extra amount for severe disability in their Pension Credit.
As this is a complicated area we would strongly advise speaking to an advisor prior to applying for Carer’s Allowance to ensure that neither you, not the person you are providing care for, is negatively impacted.
Eligibility for financial support with registered childcare costs
If you are part of a couple and one person is in receipt of Carer’s Allowance and the other is working, you may also be eligible for financial support towards any registered childcare costs that you may have. This support could be through Universal Credit, Tax-Credits or Tax-Free Childcare. These costs could relate to any eligible child in your household including a child who is in receipt of DLA.
For more information
More information on how to apply for Carer’s Allowance and the full eligibility criteria go to www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/carers-allowance.
If you think that any of the benefits referred to in the article may affect you or members of your family and would like further advice on how this could affect any entitlement to financial support now or in the future, contact our Family Benefits Advice Service for free, impartial and confidential advice. Call us on Freephone 0800 028 3008 or email firstname.lastname@example.org – we are here to help.