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Carer's Allowance

What is Carer's Allowance?
Who can get it?
How is it paid?
How much is it?
Qualifying Benefit
Personal Independence Payment
Overlapping Benefits
Carer's Premium
Effect on your Pensions and Benefits
Effect on the benefits of the person you care for
Earnings Rule
Changes in circumstances
Time off
Going into hospital (carer)

Going into hospital (person you care for)
How do I claim Carer's Allowance?
Find out more

What is Carer's Allowance?

Carer's Allowance (which used to be called Invalid Care Allowance) is a social security benefit for people who are unable to work full-time because they are caring for a severely disabled person for at least 35 hours per week.  It is paid directly to the person who does the caring - not the person being cared for. 

Carer's Allowance is administered by the Disability and Carers Service, which is part of the Department for Work and Pensions. 

You should always check before applying for Carer's Allowance as it may affect the benefits of the person being cared for.

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Who can get it?

You are entitled to Carer's Allowance if you meet all the following conditions:

  • You care for someone for more than thirty-five hours per week
  • You care for someone who receives a qualifying benefit
  • You are aged 16 or over
  • You are not in full-time education
  • Your net earnings from employment do not exceed £100 per week (after allowable work expenses are deducted)
  • You normally live in the UK

 

Carer's Allowance counts as taxable income.  Payment of Carer's Allowance does not depend on the level of your savings or on whether you have paid any National Insurance contributions.  You do not have to live with or be related to the person you care for.

There is no upper age limit on claiming. However, if you are eligible for carer's allowance and are in receipt of a State Pension (or another overlapping benefit) you will not receive carer's allowance if the benefit you equals or exceeds the amount of carer's allowance to which you are entitled. You will, however, retain the underlying entitlement to Carer's Allowance.

If you have an entitlement to Carer's Allowance, you may also qualify to receive Carer's Premium / Carer's Addition in the calculation for other means-tested benefits.

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How is it paid?

It is paid directly into your bank, building society or other account.

How much is it?

From 9th April 2012 the rate of payment for Carer's Allowance is £58.45 per week.


Qualifying Benefit

A qualifying benefit means the person you care for must be receiving one of the following benefits:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the normal maximum rate as an addition to Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the basic (full day) rate as an addition to a War Disablement Pension
  • Disability Living Allowance (at the middle or higher rate care component)

You can claim Carer's Allowance at any point after meeting all the eligibility criteria.. However, entitlement and payment can only be backdated three months, provided the qualifying conditions have been met throughout that period.back to top

Personal Independence Payment

From the 8th April 2013 a new benefit called Personal Independence Payment(PIP) will be gradually introduced to replace Disability Living Allowance(DLA).

If you currently receive carers allowance, having qualified through DLA, a final decision has still to be made as to whether existing arrangements will remain in place.

More information on How Personal Independence Payment will affect you if you're getting Disability Living Allowance is available on the Adviceguide website.

Overlapping Benefits

Carer's Allowance is an earnings replacement benefit. You can only receive one earnings replacement benefit at one time, therefore, If you are already in receipt of any of the following, you may not receive part or any of the full rate of Carer's Allowance.

  • State Pension
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Widows or Bereavement Pension
  • Widowed Mother's or Widowed Parents Allowance
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Contributions-based Job Seeker's Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance
     

Where there is an entitlement to more than one overlapping benefit

  • A contributory benefit is paid in preference to a non-contributory benefit
  • The highest benefit is paid

 

However, it may still be worth claiming Carer's Allowance even if you will not receive it because of overlapping benefits, as the entitlement will mean that you can get Carer's Premium.

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Carer's Premium

The Carer's Premium is not a benefit but an extra amount of money included in the calculation of Income Support, income-based Job seekers' Allowance, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit and Pension Credit.

To be entitled to Carer's Premium, you must be entitled to Carer's Allowance. 

This means actually being paid Carer's Allowance or having an underlying entitlement to Carer's Allowance even if you do not receive it because of overlapping benefits.

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Effect on Your Pensions and Benefits

If you begin receiving a State Pension (or other benefit subject to overlapping rules)which is more than the rate of Carer's Allowance, you will no longer receive Carer's Allowance.  If your State Pension or benefit is less than the rate of Carer's Allowance, your Pension or benefit can be topped up with Carer's Allowance to the basic weekly rate of Carer's Allowance.

Effect on the benefits of the person you care for

Whenever you claim, it is important to check what possible impact this may have on the person you are caring for and the benefits that they recieve.

A successful claim for Carer's Allowance could reduce the amount of benefit the person you are caring for will recieve. 

For example, Severe Disability Premium cannot be paid when Carer's Allowance is being paid. 

If you get a rate of State Pension that is more than Carer's Allowance, you will not be paid Carer's Allowance. However, you will still have an entitlement to it. In such cases, the Severe Disability Premium paid to the person you care for will not be affected. 

For advice on whether you should claim Carer's Allowance, contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or phone Citizens Advice Direct on 0844 848 9600 (Monday to Friday 9am - 8pm and Saturday 10am - 2pm).

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Earnings Rule

To qualify for Carer's Allowance, your net earnings from employment must not exceed £100 per week.

Net earnings means income remaining after the deduction of allowable expenses which include

  • Some National Insurance contributions
  • Income tax
  • Half of any money you pay towards personal and occupational pension schemes
  • Other expenses you have to pay because they are a necessary part of your job
  • The cost of paying someone (but not a close relative) to look after a child or children or the person you care for while you are at work, up to a maximum of 50 per cent of your income after deducting the expenses above

 

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Changes in Circumstances

You must notify the Disability and Carers Service about any changes in circumstances for yourself, the person you care to and any dependent adult.

You can do this online at the Carer's Allowance e-Service of the Department for Work and Pensions.

You can also contact the Carer's Allowance Unit on

01253 856 123

Between Monday to Thursday 8.30 am and 5.00 pm and Fridays between 8.30 am and 4.30 pm

It is advisable to notify changes of circumstances in writing so that you have a record of what you have reported. If you do this by telephone, keep a note of the time and date of call, and what information you gave.

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Time off

  • The rules allow for up to 12 weeks off from caring in a 26 week period.
  • Up to 4 weeks for any reason such as a holiday or temporary break in a care home.
  • The remaining 8 weeks allows for the carer or disabled person to have medical treatment in hospital.

 

Going into Hospital (Carer)

If the carer goes into hospital, Carer's Allowance stops after 12 weeks or sooner if the carer was in hospital or had a break from caring in the previous 26 weeks.

Going into Hospital (Person being cared for)

If the person being cared for enters hospital, Carer's Allowance will stop after 4 weeks.  This is because AA/DLA are suspended after 4 weeks in hospital.  Carer's Allowance depends on one of these benefits being paid to the disabled person before a Carer can claim Carer's Allowance.

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How do I claim Carer's Allowance?

To claim Carer's Allowance, you can call the Disability and Carers Service Benefit Enquiry Line on

0800 88 22 00

between 8.30am and 6.30pm Monday to Friday and between 9.00am and 1.00pm on Saturdays. 

You can call Care Information Scotland on 08456 001 001 to ask that a Carer's Allowance Claim pack be sent to you.

You can also claim online at the Carer's Allowance e-Service of the Department for Work and Pensions.

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Find out more

For more information, visit the Carer's Allowance section on the Gov.UK website.

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last updated 05/08/2014