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.
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 0345 608 4321 (Textphone 0345 604 2312) 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, you can call the Benefits Enquiry Line to claim. Call 0800 220674 (textphone 028 90311092) or visit www.nidirect.gov.uk.
Carer's Allowance can be backdated for up to three months on request.
The basic rate is £62.70 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.
You cannot 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 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 £34.95 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 £34.95 per week.
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:
Contact Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0345 608 4321 (Textphone 0345 604 2312) 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.
For more details about Carer's Allowance and Carer's Credit, download our factsheet: