Carers Allowance (previously called Invalid Carers Allowance) is a weekly benefit paid to people who look after family, partners or friends because they are ill, frail or have a disability. You don't have to be related to, or live with, the person you look after to get Carers Allowance.
To qualify for Carers Allowance you must spend 35 hours per week providing care for a person who receives:
- Disability Living Allowance Care Component at the middle or highest rate, or
- Attendance Allowance (either rate), or
- Constant Attendance Allowance paid with a War Pension, Industrial Disablement Pension, Workman's Compensation.
You need to be;
- aged 16 or over, and
- caring for the disabled person for at least 35 hours per week, and
- earning less than £109 per week, and
- not in full time work or education, and
- regularly resident and present in the UK
How does Carers Allowance affect other benefits?
Carers Allowance will be counted as income for Universal Credit Income Support, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and Pension Credit, however, additional amounts will be added to these benefits, because you are a carer.
How do other benefits affect Carers Allowance?
Carers Allowance cannot actually be paid if you are in receipt of
- Incapacity Benefit, or
- Contribution Based Employment and Support Allowance, or
- State Retirement Pension, or
- Contribution Based Jobseekers' Allowance, or
- Maternity Allowance, or
- Bereavement Benefits.
Even if Carers Allowance cannot be paid because you receive the above benefits, you could still become entitled to additional amounts on other benefits as you are a carer. In some cases this could mean entitlement to Income Support, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit for the first time, or extra money on these benefits if you already claim them.
You can have breaks from caring and still be entitled to Carers Allowance but the rules are complex and you should seek advice from a welfare rights organisation.
If you claim Attendance Allowance or Disability Living Allowance you can still claim Carers Allowance if you are a carer.
Before claiming you should check with the person you are caring for, as in some instances their benefits could be affected by you claiming Carers Allowance, particularly if they live alone.