Carer’s Allowance is the main form of government provided benefit for people who spend 35+ hours caring for someone who receives specific benefits. There is a limit to how much you can work while receiving Carer’s Allowance, but the actual payment is not means tested (not based on your income).
The Carer’s Allowance is taxable and can affect other benefits that you maybe currently receiving. If there are multiple carers for the individual, only one of the carers is entitled to receive Carer’s Allowance.
There are a number of criteria that the carer must meet before they are eligible for this benefit, which you can read about below.
If you fit the criteria, the carers’s allowance rate for 2021/22 is £67.60 per week. This can be paid either weekly or monthly.
If you are below the state pension age, you will also get National Insurance credits each week towards your pension.
Carer’s Allowance can be backdated up to 3 months.
Carer's Allowance eligibility
There are a number of criteria that both you and the person you care for must meet in order to receive a Carer’s Allowance. If you don’t meet all of the following requirements you might still be eligible for other benefits such as Carer’s Credit.
You - 'the carer'
As a ‘carer’ you must meet all of the following requirements to be eligible for carer’s allowance:
- be 16 or over
- spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone
- earn £128 or less a week after tax, National Insurance and expenses
- lived in England, Scotland or Wales for at least 2 of the last 3 years
- reside in England, Scotland or Wales
- not be in full time education or study for more than 21 hours a week
- not subject to immigration control
If you receive a State Pension of £67.60 or more you will not get Carer’s Allowance. If your pension is less than this, Carer’s Allowance can be used to top it up to £67.60.
What counts as caring for someone?
The 35 hours of care you provide for someone can include personal and hygiene care, helping with cooking or household tasks (taking care of bills or shopping), or taking them to doctor’s appointments.
The person you care for
The person you care for must already be receiving one of the following benefits:
- Personal Independence Payment - daily living component
- Disability Living Allowance - the middle or highest care rate
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the normal maximum rate with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Constant Attendance Allowance at the basic (full day) rate with a War Disablement Pension
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
Lots of people don't identify themselves as a carer, and therefore miss out on benefits available to them. A carer is anyone who looks after a relative, friend or neighbour because of injury, frailty, disability or disease, and does so for free.
How to apply for Carer's Allowance
You can apply for Carer’s Allowance online on the gov.uk website. Before you apply you should have a number of documents to hand, all of which are listed on the government website. This will make it much quicker to complete the carer’s allowance form and make a claim.
Apply for Carer’s Allowance in England, Scotland or Wales.
Apply for Carer’s Allowance in Northern Ireland.
Carer's Allowance number
For general enquiries on Carer’s Allowance call 0800 731 0297.
Does Carer's Allowance affect other benefits?
Carer’s Allowance can affect the other benefits that both you and the individual you care for receive.
Effects on the benefits of the person you care for
When you start receiving a Carer’s Allowance the person you care for will stop getting:
- a severe disability premium paid with their benefits
- an extra amount for severe disability paid with Pension Creidt
- they might also stop getting reduced Council Tax (contact the local council to find out)
Effects on the benefits you receive
Claiming Carer’s Allowance might mean that some other benefits your receive go up or down. The total benefit payment you receive should end up being the same or more than it was before.
- your benefit cap won't change (Carer's Allowance doesn't affect it)
- you will need to contact HMRC if you get Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit
- your Pension Credit payments will increase (if applicable)
- you can't build up extra unclaimed State Pension while you receive Carer's Allowance
Carer's Allowance FAQs
Has the COVID pandemic made a difference?
Yes - the government has made a couple of adjustments to the rules. Firstly, you will still receive Carer's Allowance if either you or the person you care for need to isolate. Secondly, until Agust 2021, emotional support can now be counted within the 35 hours of care per week.
What happens after I apply for Carer's Allowance?
The government will send you a letter to tell you if you have been awarded Carer's Allowance and will state from what date this will start. If you wish to challenge the decision you will need to ask the Department of Work & Pensions to reconsider.
What if circumstances change?
Can I take a break and still claim Carer's Allowance?
Yes. You can still get paid for a break of up to 4 weeks every 26 weeks. You must have been providing 35 hours of care per week for at least 22 or the past 26 weeks (which can include up to 8 weeks of hospital stay).
What happens if they enter a care home or hospital?
If the person you care for goes into hospital and you no longer care for them for 35 hours a week, you can still claim Carer's Allowance for up to 12 weeks or until their disability benefit stops (28 days for adults). If they go into residential care you will only be able to continue receiving Carer's Allowance if you still care for them for 35 hours / week.
Is there an age limit for carer's allowance?
Yes. You have to be 16 years old or older to claim Carer's Allowance.
Is carer's allowance taxable?
Yes. Carer's Allowance is a taxable benefit and forms part of your taxable income.
What is the best carer's allowance contact number?
For general enquiries on Carer's Allowance call 0800 731 0297.