What is it?
Carer's allowance is the main benefit for carers. If you are looking after someone for 35 hours a week or more, you may be eligible.
The person you are caring for must receive either attendance allowance; disability living allowance middle or high rate care component; or any rate of personal independence payment daily living component.
Carer's allowance is paid at £69.70 a week.
You do not have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for.
If you care for more than one person, you must choose which person you claim for, as you can only get one payment of carer's allowance.
Carers living in Scotland and receiving carer's allowance on certain qualifying dates will receive an extra payment known as "Carer's Allowance Supplement". This is paid twice a year and is in addition to carer's allowance. Carers will receive two payments of £245.70. If you're due a payment, you'll get a letter from Social Security Scotland before the payment is made.
Can I claim Carer's Allowance?
Not every carer can get this benefit. You may be eligible for carer's allowance if you meet all of the following conditions:
- you're 16 or over
- you look after someone who gets a qualifying disability benefit
- 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 have humanitarian protection status)
- you normally live in England, Scotland or Wales, 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 a week or more
- you're not subject to immigration control
- your earnings are £132 or less a week after tax, national insurance and expenses
Does it have an effect on other benefits?
Carer's allowance can affect the benefits of the person you care for as well as being counted as income for any means-tested benefits you receive so it is important to get a benefit check before making a claim.
Is it taxable?
You have to pay tax on it if your income is over the Personal Allowance.
Who pays it?
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
How do I apply?
You can make a claim online. Alternatively, you can print the form from the DWP website and post to them.
Is it National Insurance based?
Is it means tested?
No, but an earnings limit applies which is updated annually. If earnings are over the limit, no benefit payment is made.
How long does it last?
As long as all the qualifying conditions continue to be satisfied.
Is it payable in the European Union?
Yes, four weeks without a disabled person or if with a disabled person, as long as they receive their attendance allowance; disability living allowance or personal independence payment.
Can I challenge the decision?
You can challenge a decision about carers allowance if you are unhappy with it.