Benefits for carers

The time you spend caring for someone can make it difficult to earn enough money. You may have extra costs because of your caring role. This page sets out the benefits and discounts that you can get if you are a carer. This page could be useful to you even if you do not think you are a carer as there may still be some benefits you can claim.

About Carer's Allowance

Carer’s Allowance (CA) is a benefit that you can claim if you are a full-time carer. From 9th April 2018 you can get £64.60 a week.

You can claim CA if you are in work, but you must not earn more than £120 a week.2 CA is not affected by any savings you have.

You qualify for CA if you:

  • spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone,
  • are 16 or over,
  • are not in full-time education,
  • live in the UK and are not subject to immigration control,
  • earn less than £120 per week (after tax, National insurance and half of any pension contributions), and care for someone who gets:

    • Disability Living Allowance (middle or high rate care),
    • Personal Independence Payment (standard or enhanced daily living component),
    • Attendance Allowance, or
    • Constant Attendance Allowance.

If you didn’t know that you could claim CA then you can ask for it to be backdated for up to 3 months.4 This means that if you meet the criteria for CA, you can be paid the money you would have got if you knew you could claim.

How is Carer’s Allowance affected by other benefits?

You cannot get CA if you get:

  • contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance,
  • state Retirement Pension, or
  • contribution-based Jobseekers Allowance.

This is called the ‘overlapping benefits’ rule.

You should apply for CA even if you are getting these benefits. If you qualify for CA you get an additional amount called a "Carer’s Premium". You can find out more about carer’s premiums below. 

If you claim income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit and some other benefits you can still get the full amount of CA. But these benefits will be reduced by the amount of CA you get.

Severe Disability Premium

The person you care for may get a Severe Disability Premium (SDP) on top of their benefits. They will get the SDP if they:

  • live alone,
  • get means-tested benefits like income-related Employment and Support Allowance and Housing Benefit,
  • get the care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at either the middle or higher rate. Or the
  • daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) at the standard or enhanced rate, and
  • do not have a full time carer who is getting CA.

There are extra rules for someone who lives with a partner who is also disabled.

It is important to know that, if you claim CA, the person you care for will lose their SDP. If the person you care for claims Universal Credit, they will not lose anything. This is because Universal Credit does not include a Severe Disability Premium. If you get a Carer’s Premium rather than Carer’s Allowance then the person you care for should still get the SDP.

What if I take a break from caring?

You can take a break from caring for 4 out of every 26 weeks and continue to get CA, as long as:

you have been giving 35 hours of care a week for 22 of the past 26 weeks, and

the person you care for continues to get the qualifying benefit (Disability Living Allowance middle or high rate care, Personal Independence Payment standard or enhanced daily living component, Attendance Allowance or Constant Attendance Allowance).

If you go into hospital, you will get CA for up to 12 weeks as long as:

  • you have given 35 hours of care a week for 14 of the past 26 weeks, and
  • the person you care for continues to receive a qualifying benefit.

If the person you care for goes into hospital you will still get CA as long as they get their disability benefit (this is normally 4 weeks). You will continue to get the Carer’s Premium for 8 weeks after your CA ends.9 Make sure you tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) if you or the person you care for has to go into hospital.

How do I apply?

You can apply for CA online or by completing a paper form. To ask for a claim form, contact the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0345 608 4321. To apply online use this link:
www.gov.uk/carers-allowance/how-to-claim

What is the Carer's Premium?

The Carer's Premium is £36.0010 per week paid as part of the following benefits.

  • Income Support (IS)
  • Income based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)
  • Income related Employment & Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Housing Benefit

You can also get an additional amount on top of Pension Credit. This is called the ‘Carer Addition’.

To get the Carer's Premium added to your benefit, apply for Carer’s Allowance. You may not get paid Carer’s Allowance if you are getting other benefits like State Retirement Pension. But you will still be better off because of the Carer’s Premium.

What is Income Support?

Income Support (IS) is a benefit for certain groups of people. This includes people who cannot work because of their caring responsibilities.

You can claim IS if you meet the basic conditions. You must:

  • be over 18 and under pension age,
  • be in the UK,
  • have no income or your income is below the amount of money the law says you need to be able to live,
  • not be in full time education,
  • be working less than 16 hours per week and your partner is not working more than 24 hours per week,
  • have household savings or capital at £16,000 or less,
  • not be claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit (UC), and
  • your partner must not be claiming income-related JSA, ESA or UC.

As well as meeting the basic conditions you need to show you cannot work because of your caring responsibilities. You can do this if:

  • you get Carer’s Allowance (CA), or
  • you are providing ‘substantial’ care for someone who gets:
    • Attendance Allowance
    • Disability Living Allowance (middle or high rate care component)
    • Personal Independence Payment (daily living component), or
    • Armed Forces Independence Payment.

 

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit (UC) is a new benefit that gets paid monthly. You can get UC if you have little or no income and low levels of savings and capital.

UC will replace the following benefits:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Income related Employment & Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

If you are getting any of the benefits that UC is replacing, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will move you to UC at some time before March 2022.

If you were planning to make a new claim for any of these benefits you might have to claim UC instead. You can find this out at your local Jobcentre.

UC is made up of ‘elements’. There are various elements of UC you can get depending on your circumstances. This includes a carer’s element. You qualify if you spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone who gets:

  • Attendance Allowance,
  • Personal Independence Payment (standard or enhanced daily living component), or
  • Disability Living Allowance (middle or high rate care component).

What are Carers’ Credits?

If you are not working, you will not be paying National Insurance contributions. If you do not pay enough National Insurance you may not get your full state pension. Carer’s Credit counts towards your National Insurance record, helping you to qualify for State Retirement Pension.

You will qualify for Carer’s Credit if:

  • you spend more than 20 hours a week caring, and
  • the person you care for gets:

    • Disability Living Allowance (middle or high rate care),
    • Personal Independence Payment (standard or enhanced daily living component),
    • Attendance Allowance, or
    • Constant Attendance Allowance.

If the person you care for does not get any of these benefits, you can still get Carer’s Credit if a health or social care professional confirms you provide enough care.

To apply for Carer’s Credit, contact the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0845 608 4321. If you get Carer’s Allowance you should automatically get Carer’s Credit without having to contact the Carer’s Allowance Unit.

Can I get Council Tax Discounts?

A full council tax bill is based on two or more adults living together. Some people are not counted as adults in the household. These include:

  • some carers,
  • people in full time education,
  • people with a ‘severe mental impairment’.

A ‘severe mental impairment’ means an impairment of intelligence or social functioning that is permanent.

You will get a reduction of your council tax bill if there are less than two adults in the household. The bill can be reduced by 25%, 50% or 100% depending on who lives in the property.

To check if you can get a reduction of your council tax bill, contact your local authority, or speak to a benefits adviser.

Some carers are not counted when the local authority works out your council tax bill. This means you will get a discount if you meet the following criteria.

  • You care for someone for at least 35 hours per week.
  • You live with the person you care for.
  • The person you care for is 18 years or older.
  • The person you care for is not your spouse or partner.

You only qualify if the person you care for gets one of the following benefits.

  • Disability Living Allowance (middle or high rate care)
  • Personal Independence Payment (standard or enhanced daily living component)
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance

If the person you care for is exempt from council tax you will get a 50% discount. If the person you care for is not exempt from council tax you will get a 25% discount.

Single person’s discount
If you are the only adult who lives in your home, you should get a 25% discount on your council tax bill. This is called the ’single person discount’. You may also get this discount if the other adults who live with you are students or have a ‘severe mental impairment’.

 

Should I get advice?

The benefits system is complicated. Speak to a benefits adviser if you don’t know which benefits you can get. You may be able to get help with difficult situations such as claims or appeals. This could include advice, information and help with filling in forms or representation.

You can search for local services at advicefinder.turn2us.org.uk.

 

 

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