If you look after your partner, a relative or friend who needs help because they’re ill or disabled, then you are a carer. The main welfare benefit for carers is called Carer’s Allowance.
Can I claim it?
To claim Carer’s Allowance, you must:
• Spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a disabled person – you don’t have to live with them
• Care for someone who receives the higher- or middle-rate care component of Disability Living Allowance, either rate of Personal Independence Payment daily living component, or any rate of Attendance Allowance
• Not earn more than £102 a week (after deductions)
• Not be in full-time education.
If you’re under pension age, you’ll also get National Insurance credits each week towards your pension.
Carer’s Allowance may not be paid if you’re receiving a State Pension or certain other benefits, but it’s still worth claiming because you could get extra Pension Credit and/or Housing Benefit.
If you’re claiming Universal Credit, you may be able to get an extra amount because of your caring role without having to apply for Carer’s Allowance. This is known as a carer element. However, if you’re ill or disabled, you’ll only be entitled to a carer element or a disability element – not both.
Carer’s Allowance can sometimes continue for short periods if you or the person you care for goes into hospital, or if you have a break from caring.
If you claim Carer’s Allowance, state benefits paid to the person you look after can sometimes be reduced. Before making a claim, contact your local Age UK or call Age UK Advice on 0800 169 65 65.
How much will I get?
£61.35 per week.
How do I claim?
Call the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0845 608 4321 (textphone: 0845 604 5312) to request a claim form.
You can also download a form or make a claim online on GOV.UK.
How Carer’s Allowance helped Douglas and Kathryn
‘The extra money has made a big difference to our lives. Douglas now gets the proper care he needs with me at home.’
Douglas, 79, spent 40-odd years driving a petrol tanker around the country before he retired at 65. While he loved the job‚ it took its toll on his knees and he is now partially housebound.
‘My wife Kathryn and I had no idea that we could claim benefits until we popped in to see Tracy at Age Concern‚‘ said Douglas
Kathryn said‚ ‘Douglas was finding it hard to manage on his own at home. His knees made him unstable so he was at risk of injury. I was working part time and was always worried about him when I left the house.
‘Tracy changed our lives. She helped Douglas claim Attendance Allowance and then she helped me claim Carer’s Allowance so I could leave my job as a cleaner and stay home full time to look after him.
The extra money has made a big difference to our lives. Douglas now gets the proper care he needs with me at home and he can pay for physio on his knees. I find we worry less about our gas bills. I am healthier too since leaving my job because the cleaning was taking its toll on me physically.
‘And to think‚ all we did was answer some questions and sign the forms. Tracy did the rest! She was wonderful.’