Benefits for carers
Carer's Allowance is a weekly benefit for people who are full-time carers for a sick or disabled person.
To qualify for this benefit, you do not have to live with the person you care for – they could be your partner, relative, neighbour or friend.
Criteria for claims
You can claim if:
- you spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone who gets Attendance Allowance (any rate) or the Disability Living Allowance care component (middle or higher rate) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) daily living activity component at any rate, and
- you earn £102 a week or less (or £110 a week or less from April 2015). Some earnings can be ignored – get advice about this.
- you are aged 16 or over.
You must also satisfy the residency conditions. For example, you must be 'habitually resident' and must have lived in Great Britain for at least two out of the last three years.
You cannot get Carer's Allowance if:
- you have any restrictions on your right to stay in the country or
- you study full time (21 hours a week or more) or
- someone else gets Carer's Allowance for the person you look after.
If you already get a retirement pension, contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance or bereavement benefits you cannot usually get Carer's Allowance as well.
But it is still worth claiming – if you get other benefits (for example Income Support, income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Pension Credit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support) these can increase, so get advice. Claiming may mean that you can get these benefits even if you were unable to before.
Making a claim
Your claim can normally be backdated for up to three months. Claims can be backdated for longer than this if you have been waiting to hear about the Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) (from June 2013) for the person you look after.
However, you must remember to claim Carer's Allowance within three months of the date of the decision to award these benefits.
Claiming Carer's Allowance also gives you credits towards your pension.
You can find out how much you would get and apply on the GOV.UK website.
If the person you care for lives alone and gets benefits such as Income Support, they could lose money if you claim Carer's Allowance – contact the Welfare Rights Service for advice about this.
For full details of benefits available for carers, please contact our public advice line for Royal Borough of Greenwich residents.