Benefits for carers

On this page we explain the two key benefits - Carer's Allowance and Carer's Credit - that you may be entitled to claim if you are caring for someone who is blind or partially sighted

Carer’s Allowance

Carer's Allowance is the main benefit to claim if you are looking after another person. It is not means-tested and does not depend on National Insurance contributions.

To claim Carer's Allowance you must:

  • be 16 or over
  • not earn more than £102 a week after deductions
  • not be in full-time education
  • spend at least 35 hours a week looking after a person who receives one of the following benefits:

Important: if the person you are looking after receives a means-tested benefit and their benefit includes the severe disability premium, please seek advice before claiming Carer's Allowance as their benefit may be reduced if you start getting Carer's Allowance.

How do I claim Carer's Allowance?

Call the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0845 608 4321 to request a claim form or go to the GOV.UK webpage on Carer's Allowance to download or complete the form online.

Carer's Allowance can be backdated for up to three months on request.

How much Carer's Allowance will I get?

The basic rate is £61.35 a week. This is taxable. If you already receive means-tested benefits such as Income Support, you will not be financially worse off by claiming Carer's Allowance.

If you receive a State Retirement Pension, you may not be paid any Carer's Allowance as these benefits overlap.

Can I receive Carer's Allowance at the same time as other benefits?

You cannot normally be paid Carer's Allowance if you receive contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Incapacity Benefit, State Pension or certain bereavement benefits at the same time. However, it may still be worthwhile claiming Carer's Allowance if you get a means-tested benefit such as Income Support to establish "underlying entitlement" to Carer's Allowance.

This underlying entitlement means you may be able to get an increased amount for means-tested benefits such as Income Support, income-related ESA, Pension Credit or Housing Benefit. The increase is called the carer premium, or the "additional amount for carers" in Pension Credit. It is worth up to £34.20 a week.

Carer’s Credit

Carer's Credit is a weekly National Insurance credit. Although it is not a benefit payment, we recommend that you apply for it as it helps carers to build up their qualifying years for the basic state pension.

You will qualify for Carer's Credit if you care for someone for 20 or more hours a week and one of the following two situations applies to you:

How do I apply for Carer's Credit?

Contact Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0845 608 4321 for an application form. You can also download an application pack from the GOV.UK website.

If you receive Income Support you will not need to submit an application and your local Jobcentre Plus will notify you of your award of credits.

Getting help with Carer’s Allowance and Carer’s Credit

If you are having difficulties claiming Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Credit, disagree with a decision about your claim or want further information, please call our Helpline on 0303 123 9999 and one of our trained benefits advisers can help you. You can also email helpline@rnib.org.uk.

Please note that we can only give advice about benefits for blind and partially sighted people, and their carers or dependants.

For more details about Carer's Allowance and Carer's Credit, download our factsheet:

Related links

Benefits calculator

Use our benefits calculator to check which benefits you are entitled to. Our calculator will ask you some questions about your circumstances and then tell you how exactly much you could be missing out on.

Use the benefits calculator