What is Carer's Allowance?
Carers Allowance is a benefit for people who care for somebody with a disability for at least 35 hours a week.
Who can get Carer's Allowance?
You can get Carer's Allowance if:
- You are aged 16 or over
- You are not in full time education
- You spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a disabled person who receives a disability related benefit (Disability Living Allowance middle or higher rate care component, Personal Independence Payment daily living component at either rate, Attendance Allowance, Constant Attendance Allowance or Armed Forces Independence Payment)
- You do not earn more than £110 a week after deductions such as tax and national insurance
It is important to check with the person you care for before claiming Carers Allowance, as the person you are caring for may lose some of the benefit they receive such as severe disability additions to their benefit if you make a claim.
How much is Carer's Allowance?
Carer’s Allowance is paid at a standard rate of £62.10
If you made your claim before 6 April 2010, you may also be able to get extra benefit for your partner or someone who looks after your children. This includes partners who are living together as well as those who are married or in a civil partnership. It includes lesbian, gay or heterosexual partners.
You can only get the extra benefit if the person you are claiming for has earnings below a certain amount and does not get certain benefits in their own right which are worth more than the extra Carer's Allowance.
If you made your claim after 6 April 2010, you can no longer get the extra benefit.
How to claim Carer's Allowance
In England, Wales and Scotland you can claim online or download the claim form from the GOV.UK website.
In Northern Ireland you can download the form from the nidirect website.
Alternatively, you can collect a claim form from your local benefits office.
If you were entitled before you make your claim, you can ask for benefit to be paid for an earlier period of up to three months. You should ask for this on your claim form. You do not have to give a reason why you are claiming late.
You will have to provide your national insurance number and evidence to show it belongs to you. If you not know your national insurance number, but you think you have one, you should provide evidence to help the office to find it. If you do not have a national insurance number, you will have to apply for one.
Your partner may have to attend an interview with a personal adviser as a condition of you getting Carer's Allowance.
How is Carer's Allowance paid?
Carer's Allowance is usually paid directly into a bank, building society or Post Office card account. If you cannot open or manage an account, you can be paid by Simple Payment. The DWP will give you a Simple Payment card which you can use to collect your benefit at a PayPoint outlet displaying the Simple Payment sign.
Carer’s Allowance is paid as long as you continue caring for a disabled person for at least 35 hours a week and do not earn more than the earnings limit. It can continue regardless of your age although if you are getting certain other benefits, for example, state Retirement Pension, this may affect whether you can get Carer’s Allowance.
If the person you are caring for goes into hospital, this may also affect your Carer's Allowance.
Problems with Carer's Allowance
If you are refused Carer’s Allowance or you think you are getting the wrong amount of benefit, you can challenge the decision. First, you should can ask for the decision to be looked at again – called a mandatory reconsideration. You should do this within a month of the date of the decision. You can request a mandatory reconsideration either over the phone or in writing. We advise that you make the request in writing and keep a copy for yourself so that you have a record of it. If you are not happy with the outcome of the mandatory reconsideration you can appeal that decision. You should do so in writing within one month of the mandatory reconsideration decision.
Other help for carers
There is help, information and support for carers on the Carers Direct hotline and website. Visit the NHS Choices website or cal 0300 123 1053 . The hotline is open 7 days a week and is free from UK landlines.
The Carers Trust is a charity set up to provide advice and help to carers.
For help and advice, contact the Sense Information and Advice Service.
First published: Tuesday 25 February 2014
Updated: Friday 9 December 2016