Caring for a loved one or a friend can be greatly rewarding, but there’s no doubt it’s a very difficult job. The tasks that a carer can find themselves doing can range from giving someone their medication, helping them wash and use the toilet, getting them dressed and undressed, to preparing their meals and feeding them. A lot of carers don’t think twice about the care that they give to a loved one and because of this, they might not realise the help that’s available to them too.
What you’re entitled to
If you are over the age of 16 and spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone, you are entitled to a carer’s allowance. This consists of a £61.35 payment that you can choose to be paid weekly or every 4 or 13 weeks in a lump sum. At Christmas, you will receive a one-off bonus of £10.
You don’t have to live with or be related to the person that you’re caring for to be eligible for this allowance. But you can’t earn more than £102 a week (after deductions) or be in full time education. You will usually only be able to receive a carer’s allowance if you’re not claiming a state pension or certain other benefits. Even if you get these, it may still be worth applying for a carer’s allowance, as the benefits that you receive could be increased.
If you’re receiving means-tested benefits such as Housing Benefit, Income Support, or Jobseeker’s Allowance, these will be reduced by the same amount that you receive from a carer’s allowance. Although, please note that the carer premium will be included in the calculation of your means-tested benefits.
If you want to speak to someone about whether claiming carer’s allowance is right for you, you can ring the government’s Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0345 608 4321 or alternatively ring the carers UK charity helpline on 0808 808 7777 for advice and support.
The person that you care for must receive one of the following benefits for you to be eligible for a carer’s allowance:
• Personal Independence Payment (daily living component)
• Disability Living Allowance (the middle or the highest rate)
• Constant Attendance Allowance, with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, or War Disablement Pension
• Armed Forces Independence Payment
Something to be aware of is that the benefits of the person that you care for can be affected by you receiving a carer’s allowance. If they get a severe disability premium, with benefits such as income support or housing benefit included, then this will stop once you begin to receive your allowance.
If you’re a carer and think that you would be eligible for a carer’s allowance, then you can start your application here.