What is carer’s allowance?

Carer’s Allowance is the main benefit paid to someone who takes care of another person. 

How much is carer’s allowance per week?

In 2019 Carer’s Allowance is £66.15 per week.

It is technically not means-tested, but there are income limits to qualify. This includes income from other benefits; read on for more details. 

It is not taxed income in itself, as if this is the only income you receive it will be below the income tax threshold of £12,500 per year. However, if your total income from all sources, including benefits, pensions and any earned income exceeds £123 per week, you do not qualify to be paid carer’s allowance; read on for more clarification about the £123 limit. 

Note: carer’s in Scotland can get 2 supplementary payments per year (paid every 6 months) of £226.20. For more details about this click on this link to the Scottish carer’s page: https://www.carersuk.org/scotland/help-and-advice/social-security/carer-s-allowance 

Do I qualify for carer’s allowance?

Possibly. To qualify for Carer’s Allowance you must:

  • be aged 16 or over
  • not be in full-time education
  • not earn over £123 a week (after deductions)
  • satisfy UK presence and residence conditions
  • look after someone who gets a qualifying disability benefit (eg DLA; see previous post)
  • you look after that person for at least 35 hours a week
Important points about Carer’s Allowance
  • If you meet all 6 criteria listed above, but earn other benefits (including a state pension), then this may affect your claim. For more details on this, check the Gov.uk Carer’s Allowance page at https://www.gov.uk/carers-allowance/eligibility.  
  • The 35 hours in 1 week can cover all personal care and supervision duties, as well as practical tasks such as cleaning or doing laundry. The “week” means 7 days (so Sunday to Saturday, not Monday to Friday).
  • The 35 hours is per person; it cannot be calculated on the basis of total hours between 2 people for example. So if you help 1 person for 17 hours per week then help another person for 18 hours in the same week, you do not qualify for Carer’s Allowance. 
  • If the person you care for (eg an autistic child) receives DLA, you can only apply for Carer’s Allowance if the DLA award is at the middle or high rate. 
Income and Carer’s Allowance

DLA is not means tested but Carer’s Allowance is. 

It is not quite your “take-home” pay which is assessed, but some deductions are considered. 

Specifically:

  • Income Tax
  • National Insurance
  • half of your contributions towards an occupational/personal pension

So all of your income tax is deducted, all of your National Insurance contribution is deducted and HALF of your pension contribution is deducted, before applying the £123 per week income limit. 

How do I apply for carer’s allowance?

England, Wales and Scotland

  • click on this link to the Gov.uk Carer’s Allowance page to apply online or download a claim form: https://www.gov.uk/carers-allowance/how-to-claim 
  • request a claim pack DS700 (or DS700(SP) if you are getting a State Pension) by calling the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0800 731 0297 (text phone 0800 731 0317, calls from typetalk are also welcome)

Northern Ireland

  • click on this link to the NI Direct website to apply online or to download a claim form: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/apply-carers-allowance-online 
  • request a claim pack DS700 (or DS700(SP) if you are getting a State Retirement Pension) by calling the Disability and Carers Service on 0800 587 0912 (text phone 028 9031 1092, calls from typetalk are also welcome)
Can I get help with my application for carer’s allowance?

Yes, type your postcode into the AdviceLocal page to find out who can help in your region: https://advicelocal.uk/ 

NEXT: Other financial assistance for Autism families