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Our welfare rights adviser responds to common FAQs about
claiming Carer's Allowance in our podcast series.
Carer's Allowance is the main benefit for carers.
It is not means tested so it does not matter what savings you
have, and most forms of income are ignored. However if you work you
can only get Carer's Allowance if your earnings after deductions
are no more than £120 per week.
You qualify for this benefit if you provide at least 35 hours of
care per week to someone who gets one of:
There are additional tests if you work or study:
Carer's Allowance is £64.60 a week.
You can only get one award of Carer's Allowance even if you are
looking after more than one person. If you share the care of your
child with another person and each of you provides at least 35
hours a week care, only one of you will receive Carer's Allowance
for that child.
If you are eligible for Carer's Allowance, an extra 'carer
premium' will be included as part of your means-tested benefits,
such as Income Support and Housing Benefit. This also applies to
people who have an "underlying entitlement" to Carer's Allowance
but cannot receive it because they are getting certain other
benefits instead - see the section below.
Claiming Carer's Allowance can also help protect your State
Pension. This is because you will receive a Class 1 National
Insurance credit for every week you receive Carer's Allowance.
You cannot be paid Carer's Allowance at the same time as certain
other non-means tested benefits like contributory Employment and
Support Allowance or State Pension.
However it is still worthwhile making a claim for Carer's
Allowance in these circumstances. By making a claim you will
establish an "underlying entitlement" to Carer's Allowance. This
means you will be counted as a carer for means-tested benefits, and
these will be calculated more generously with a carer premium being
added to your payments.
Carer's Allowance is treated as income for tax credits purposes.
Despite this you are usually left better off after making a claim.
This is because the amount of Carer's Allowance paid is greater
than any drop in tax credits.
In order to avoid a tax credit overpayment it is important that
you let the Tax Credit Office know that you are getting Carer's
You can apply on-line using the government's Carer's
Alternatively if you would prefer to use a paper claim form you
can call the Carer's Allowance Unit on 0800 731 0297. To make a
claim in Northern Ireland call the Benefit Enquiry Line on 0800 587
Carer's Allowance should be backdated to the start of the
DLA/PIP award so long as you claim within 3 months of receiving the
decision awarding your child DLA or PIP.
Although the Carer's Allowance earnings limit will
increase from £116 to £120 a week from April 2018, the National
Living Wage will also rise to £7.83 per hour. This means parents
working 16 hours or more on the National Living Wage will find that
their wages are over the Carer's Allowance earnings limit - unless
they have deductions that can be made from their earnings.
Read our advice if you think
you might be affected.