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Carer’s Allowance

Find out if you could apply for Carer’s Allowance, a government benefit to help you out financially if you regularly care for someone but don't get paid for it

In this article
What is Carer’s Allowance? How much is Carer’s Allowance per week? Am I eligible for Carer’s Allowance? Can I claim Carer’s Allowance if I get the state pension? Can I claim Carer’s Allowance if I get other state benefits?
How do I claim Carer’s Allowance? How to fill in the Carer’s Allowance form What else do I need to know about Carer’s Allowance? Keeping track of a loved one's benefits

What is Carer’s Allowance?

Carer’s Allowance is a government benefit to help you out financially if you care for someone close to you. In this article we help you work out whether you qualify, how much you could get and how to apply.

Watch our short video for a simple outline of what you’ll need to know. You can then find more detailed information below.

How much is Carer’s Allowance per week?

The rate of the Carer's Allowance for 2021-22 is:

£67.60 a week

with a £10 Christmas bonus in December.

Am I eligible for Carer’s Allowance?

You will be eligible for Carer’s Allowance if you meet certain conditions. You must:

  • spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone who is receiving a qualifying disability benefit (see below), but you don’t have to live with them or be related to them
  • be 16 years old or over
  • not be in full-time education
  • earn £128 or less, per week, after tax (2021-22). This £128 is ‘earned’ income only. It doesn’t take into account other state benefits you receive.

In addition, the person you care for must receive one of the following benefits:

You may also be eligible if your loved one gets Constant Attendance Allowance (CAA).

Can I claim Carer’s Allowance if I get the state pension?

You cannot receive state pension and Carer’s Allowance in full at the same time. But you may be able to claim some Carer’s Allowance if you’re on a lower level of state pension.

If your state pension payment is worth more than Carer’s Allowance – ie you get more than £67.60 a week in state pension – you will not be eligible for Carer’s Allowance payments.

If your state pension is lower than the Carer’s Allowance, you may be able to claim a portion of the Carer’s Allowance. For example, if your state pension was £40 a week, you could claim £27.60 in Carer’s Allowance to make up the difference.

However, even if your state pension payment is more than the Carer’s Allowance, it can be worth making a claim in order to establish your ‘underlying entitlement’ to the benefit. In some cases, this can increase the amount you’re entitled to receive for other means-tested benefits. It can also entitle you to additional payments if you receive other benefits, such as a carer addition or carer premium (for Pension Credit, Housing Benefit and other income-based benefits), or the carers element of Universal Credit.

If you’re about to get your state pension or are already receiving it, you can contact the Carers UK telephone helpline for a benefits check – call 0808 808 777 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm).

It’s best to seek advice before making any decisions relating to overlapping benefits as this is a complex area.

Can I claim Carer’s Allowance if I get other state benefits?

The ‘overlapping benefits’ rule means that, although you may qualify for two or more earnings-replacements benefits, you normally can’t receive the full amount for more than one benefit at the same time.

You may not be able to get Carer’s Allowance if you receive one or more of the following benefits:

  • State pension (see more on this above)
  • Contributory Employment and Support Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Bereavement or Widow’s Benefits
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Universal Credit – carer element.

By claiming Carer’s Allowance, any of these other benefits may be reduced or stopped. But the total amount you get in benefits should not decrease overall: it will usually increase or at least stay the same.

As long as you meet all the conditions for Carer’s Allowance, you may be eligible to receive Carer’s Credit, to help fill in gaps in your national insurance record, or the carer addition of Pension Credit. 

How do I claim Carer’s Allowance?

In England, Scotland and Wales

You can apply for Carer’s Allowance online on the Gov.uk website or by filling in and posting a DS700 form (or DS700/SP if you receive state pension). If you would prefer to apply by post, download the DS700 form and print a copy to send by post.

For any other queries, contact the Carer’s Allowance Unit (Tel: 0800 731 0297).

In Scotland, an additional Carer’s Allowance Supplement is available. This is paid twice a year to eligible recipients, usually in June and December. The payment each time is £231.40 in 2021.

In Northern Ireland

Visit the nidirect website for more information on how to apply.

How to fill in the Carer’s Allowance form

Talk to the person you’re caring for and get their permission to apply, as your claim could reduce some of their benefits. For example, if they receive Pension Credit with a severe disability premium, they could lose their severe disability premium, which could also affect Housing Benefit and any council tax reduction they get.

Have the following paperwork to hand:

  • your National Insurance number
  • bank details
  • your latest payslip or P45 (if you recently stopped working)
  • the National Insurance number or Disability Living Allowance reference of the person you care for.

If you’ve completed any educational courses in the past few months, also have the details handy.

If you’ve been working recently, including if you’re self-employed, you’ll need information about your employer and earnings, as well as any pension contributions and childcare payments.

You’ll also need details of any statutory sick pay, maternity pay, paternity pay or adoption pay you’ve received during the time period you’re claiming for.

For more details about the kinds of financial information you may be asked for, see the full list of eligibility criteria on Gov.uk.

What else do I need to know about Carer’s Allowance?

  • If a number of people care for the same person, only one of them can claim Carer’s Allowance.
  • If you care for more than one person, you can only claim Carer’s Allowance for one of them.
  • Claiming Carer’s Allowance may affect the benefits that the person you care for is entitled to. If you get Carer’s Allowance, they will stop receiving any severe disability payments that are paid with their benefits. It may also impact their eligibility for council tax support.
  • If you were entitled to Carer’s Allowance before making a claim, you can ask for it to be backdated for up to three months.
  • If you have received Carer’s Allowance for at least 22 weeks, you can take up to four weeks’ break from caring and still receive the benefit.
  • If you, or the person you’re caring for, goes into residential care or hospital, you can continue to get Carer’s Allowance for up to 12 weeks.
  • If your income changes while you’re receiving Carer’s Allowance, inform the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as soon as possible or you may risk collecting overpayments, which will eventually be recovered. You can report a change to your circumstances here.

Keeping track of a loved one's benefits

Sometimes you’ll need information about any benefits received by the person you are caring for. If there is any doubt, you can help them find out what they’re receiving by encouraging them to contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

If they lack mental capacity, and have a Power of Attorney (POA) in place, speak to their attorney about their benefits.

If there is no POA in place, but they would like you to deal with the DWP on their behalf, you can apply for the role of Appointee. This gives you responsibility for making, and maintaining, any benefit claims.

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