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Carer's Allowance

Key information

Carer's Allowance is money for people who care for someone who has a disability.

Applies to: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Age rules: You must be over 16

Type of benefit: Non means tested (but you mustn't earn over £102 per week)

Taxable: Yes

Administered by: Carer's Allowance Unit (DWP)


Index

You can read through this information sheet, or go directly to the sections you want to read by clicking on these links:

Who does it help?

You can get Carer's Allowance if you care for someone for at least 35 hours a week. The person you care for must be getting a benefit because of their disability, for example, Attendance Allowance, the middle or high rate care component of Disability Living Allowance or either level of the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment . You do not need to be living with the person you are caring for.

If you are in paid work, you might still be able to get Carer's Allowance but you must not earn more than £102 in take home pay each week. (This is to be increased to £110 a week from April 2015). It does not matter if you have savings as these will not be taken into account.

You do not have to have paid any national insurance contributions to get Carer's Allowance.

You do not qualify for Carer’s Allowance if you are in full-time education or if someone else is already claiming Carer’s Allowance for looking after the same person.

Before you make a claim for Carer's Allowance, you should check with the person you are caring for, as it may affect some of the benefits they receive if you are successful, such as losing a severe disability premium from:

  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Housing Benefit

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How much does it pay?

Carer's Allowance is money that you can spend as you want. The weekly rate is £61.35.

It is usually paid into your bank or building society account. You can be paid at a post office or Paypoint outlet in some cases.

You can choose to be paid either weekly in advance, or every 4 or 13 weeks in arrears.

In some cases, you may meet the conditions for both Carer's Allowance (CA) and another benefit, such as State Retirement Pension, or contributory Employment and Support Allowance. As these are 'overlapping benefits' you won't receive a payment of CA - even though you would if it weren't for the other overlapping benefit you receive. If the other benefit you receive is worth less than CA, your other benefit can be 'topped up' to the current rate of CA so you don't lose out.

The rules about overlapping benefits are complicated and you may need to get advice about this from an expert benefits adviser.

Even if you don't receive a payment of Carer's Allowance, entitlement to it allows you to get an extra amount, called a carer's premium or carer's addition, as part of some means-tested benefits, so you should still make a claim.

Carer's premiums can be added to or taken into account for:

If you receive Carer's Allowance you also qualify for a Christmas Bonus each year (unless you get one with another benefit). This is usually £10. You do not need to make a claim for the bonus it is paid automatically. It does not affect any other benefits you might get.

Carer's Allowance is included in the Benefit Cap which limits the total amount in some benefits that working-age people can receive. See our Benefit Cap information page for more details.

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How do I make a claim?

Online Claim

Claim online at the GOV.UK website (link opens in a new window)

Paper Claim

Phone the Carer’s Allowance Unit for a claim form:

Telephone: 0845 6084321
Textphone: 0845 6045312

Download a claim form from the Gov.UK website (link opens in a new window)

In Northern Ireland

Phone the Benefit Enquiry Line for a claim form:

Telephone: 0800 22 06 74
Textphone: 028 9031 1092

Phone the Disability and Carer’s Service for a claim form:

Telephone: 028 9090 6186

If you are waiting to hear if the person you care for is getting a qualifying disability benefit, you should still make a claim.

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Can it be backdated?

Carers Allowance can be backdated for up to three months if you would have been entitled to it earlier. It does not matter why your claim is late. Request this when claiming.

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Challenging decisions

If you disagree with the decision made on your Carer’s Allowance claim, for example due to incorrect information being used, you can ask for it to be looked at again, if you still disagree you can appeal.

The time limits are strict, you will usually be given one month to dispute a decision, so it is important to seek advice and act quickly.

Further information on Challenges and complaints

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Change of circumstance

You must report changes in your circumstances which might affect your entitlement to this benefit 

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Last updated: 6 October 2014

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