What is Carer’s Allowance and how to access it

The Carer’s Allowance is a payment made to an unpaid carer by the government, in order to help them care for their loved one.

Am I entitled to the Carer’s Allowance?

Carer Criteria

  • You are a person’s sole carer
  • You are 16 or over.
  • You have lived in England, Scotland, or Wales for at least 2 years out of the last 3 years (since 2017), unless you are a refugee or have humanitarian protection status.
  • Your earnings are less than £128 per week after taxation, national insurance, and necessary expenses. Your expenses can include: care costs that are equivalent to 50% of your earnings, 50% of your pension contributions, travel costs relating to your work that are not paid by your employer, and business costs if you are self-employed.
  • You are not subject to immigration control.
  • You are not in full-time education- or studying for 21 hours per week or more.
  • You live in England, Scotland, or Wales (or you are a serving member of the armed forces who has been stationed abroad)- if you live in or will be living in an EEA country or Switzerland you may still qualify for the carer’s allowance.
  • Care takes up at least 35 hours of your week.
  • You can be of any relationship to the person you care for (friend, parent, partner etc.).
  • You fulfil your care duties on a regular basis- take a look at our ‘Am I a carer?’ blog post to see examples of what these could be.

Cared-for Individual Criteria

The person you care for must receive at least one of the following benefits:

  • Personal Independence Payment (the daily living component).
  • Disability Living Allowance at the middle or highest care rate.
  • Attendance Allowance.
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the normal maximum rate, alongside an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at the basic full-day rate with a War Disablement Pension.
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment.

You can also check your eligibility here https://www.gov.uk/carers-allowance/eligibility

What is the impact of the Carer’s Allowance on the benefits I currently have?

You cannot claim The Carer’s Allowance if you receive:

  • State Pension
  • Contributory Employment and Support Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Bereavement or widow’s benefits
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

This can be put down to overlapping benefits rules. If you’re already receiving the amount that the carer’s allowance provides then you are not entitled to it.

The carer’s allowance does not count towards a benefits cap. However, if you receive Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit contact HMRC to make them aware of your claim.

That being said, you can still put in a claim, but as an ‘underlying entitlement’.

It’s a good idea to get an online benefit check to see if the carers support allowance can be claimed as an ‘underlying entitlement’.

Equally, the person you care for may lose their:

  • Reduced Council Tax.
  • Contributory Employment and Support Allowance

It is likely that some of your benefits will be reduced, but in most cases, the amount of your total benefits will either go up or remain the same.

How does Covid-19 impact the Carer’s Allowance?

You can still qualify for this allowance if you are providing remote care during the pandemic. The government has confirmed that this includes emotional support.

If you are forced to take a break from caring, due to the need for you or the person you care for to self-isolate, your carer’s allowance payments will not be impacted.

What else am I entitled to?

If you are entitled to the Carer’s Allowance, it is possible that you are also entitled to:

  • Support from your local council.
  • Reduced Council Tax
  • Grants and Bursaries for any training you may need to fulfil your care obligations.
  • Universal Credit (depending on your employment status).
  • Pension Credit.
  • Income Support, providing you receive the Severe Disability Premium and you’re on a low income. Alternatively, if you receive the Severe Disability Premium and cannot work, you may be entitled to Income-based Employment and Support Allowance.
  • If you reside in Scotland, you may also be entitled to the Carer’s Allowance Supplement.

How can I get the Carer’s Allowance?

You can apply either online or by post. Take a look at the gov.uk website for the details you will need to include and where to submit these details.

Remember, you can always appeal decisions due to mandatory reconsideration measures being put in place for every applicant.