There are 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. In addition to this, there is “Carer Element” which can be added to a Universal Credit claim.
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:
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.
If you live in England, Wales or Scotland, call the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0800 731 0297 (Textphone 0800 731 0317) to request a claim form or go to the GOV.uk webpage on Carer's Allowance to download or complete the form online.
If you live in Northern Ireland, visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/apply-carers-allowance-online or call the Disability and Carer’s Service on 0800 587 0912 (Textphone 0800 012 1574).
Carer's Allowance can be backdated for up to three months on request.
The basic rate is £67.60 a week. If you live in Scotland, and you are entitled to Carer's Allowance on certain qualifying dates, you will get two additional payments called the 'Carers Allowance Supplement'. This is worth £231.40 and is paid twice a year.
If you receive a State Retirement Pension, you may not be paid any Carer's Allowance as these benefits overlap.
You cannot be paid Carer's Allowance if you receive contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or new style ESA, Incapacity Benefit or State Pension at the same time. However, it may still be worthwhile claiming Carer's Allowance if you receive one of these benefits to establish 'underlying entitlement'. 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. It is worth up to £37.70 a week.
If you claim means tested benefits only you will be able to claim Carers Allowance but the amount paid would be subtracted from your current weekly award, however you would also be entitled to the carers premium worth up to the additional £37.70 per week.
If you or your partner are of working age you may claim Universal Credit, either to top-up your Carer’s Allowance, or on its own if you do not qualify for Carer’s Allowance. There is extra money for carers within Universal Credit called the ‘carer element’ that is worth £163.73 per month. You have to be caring for a disabled person for at least 35 hours per week, but no earnings limit applies, and you do not have to first claim Carer’s Allowance to get the carer element .
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:
Download the Carer’s Credit claim form from the GOV.uk website or call the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0800 731 0297 (Textphone 0800 731 0317).
You will not need to submit an application if you already get Carer’s Allowance or Child Benefit for a child under 12.
For more details about Carer's Allowance and Carer's Credit, download our factsheet: