Benefits for carers
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 a “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:
- be 16 or over
- not earn more than £139 a week after allowable 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:
- middle or higher rate Disability Living Allowance care component
- middle or higher rate Child Disability Payment (Scotland) care component
- Attendance Allowance (any rate)
- the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (either rate)
- the daily living component of Adult Disability Payment (Scotland only) (either rate)
- Constant Attendance Allowance.
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?
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, call the Disability and Carer’s Service on 0800 587 0912 (Textphone 0800 012 1574) to request a claim form or go to the nidirect.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 £76.75 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 £270.50 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.
Can I receive Carer's Allowance at the same time as other benefits?
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 £38.85 a week.
If you claim means tested benefits only, you will be able to claim Carer's Allowance but the amount paid would be subtracted from your current weekly award, however you would also be entitled to the carer premium worth an additional £42.75 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 £185.86 per month. You do not have to claim Carer’s Allowance to get the carer element, but you do have to be caring for a disabled person for at least 35 hours per week. Unlike Carers Allowance however, there is no earnings limit applied to the carer element for Universal 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:
- the person(s) you care for receives the middle or higher care component of Disability Living Allowance/Child Disability Payment, either rate of Attendance Allowance, Constant Attendance Allowance, or the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment/Adult Disability Payment
- or a Health or Social Care Professional has certified the person(s) you care for needs the level of care you provide.
How do I apply for Carer's Credit?
If you live in Northern Ireland download the Carer's Credit claim form from the nidirect.gov.uk website or call the Disability and Carer's service on 0800 587 0912.
You will not need to submit an application if you already get Carer’s Allowance or Child Benefit for a child under 12.
Getting help with Carer’s Allowance and Carer’s Credit
For more details about Carer's Allowance and Carer's Credit, download our factsheet: