Everything you Need to Know About Carer’s Allowance
What is Carer's Allowance?
Carer’s Allowance is a benefit we can apply for if we are:
Spending at least 35 hours a week looking after someone with a disability, and
Earning less than £128 per week
If we're eligible for Carer’s Allowance, we could be eligible for £67.60 a week (that’s £3,515 a year), and it can be backdated up to 3 months.
Find out if you’re eligible for Carer’s Allowance, using our Claim Checker.
In less than 3 minutes, you’ll know if you should apply for Carer’s Allowance!
Am I Eligible for Carer’s Allowance?
To be eligible and able to make a claim for Carer’s Allowance, you must be:
Earning below £128 per week
Spending a minimum of 35 hours each week, looking after someone with a disability.
If you’re a student, you must not be studying more than 21 hours per week, or be in full time education
If you’re retired, there are a few more things to consider.
We can receive Carer’s Allowance for a child or an adult. So long as they receive one of the following qualifying disability benefits:
The care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), at either the middle or higher rate
The daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) at either rate
Attendance Allowance at either rate. Or Constant Attendance Allowance of the normal maximum rate, paid with the Industrial Injuries or War Pensions schemes
Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
If we are in receipt of Carer's Allowance, we are automatically eligible for Carer's Credit.
This is a National Insurance credit which goes towards our National Insurance contributions. Accumulated, these count towards benefits such as our state pension. There is no need to apply for Carer's Credit if we are already receiving Carer's Allowance.
“As a parent, it didn’t occur to me that I was also a carer for my son with complex needs. Accessing Carer’s Allowance has been so helpful to us, especially as I have been unable to return to work.”
How Much is Carer’s Allowance?
If we're eligible, Carer’s Allowance is £67.60 a week (that’s £3,515 a year), and it can be backdated up to 3 months.
Carer's Allowance Form
Can I Get Carer’s Allowance and a Pension?
If our State Pension is less than our Carer's Allowance (i.e. less than £67.60 per week), we can get the difference paid. This is paid as a top up, through our Carer's Allowance. For example, if your State Pension is £40 per week, then you can get a top up of £27.60, paid through Carer's Allowance.
If you have a State Pension that pays more than Carer's Allowance (i.e. more than £67.60 per week), you won't be eligible to receive Carer's Allowance. In this instance, it might still be worth making a claim. As sometimes you may still be eligible for an 'underlying entitlement' to Carer's Allowance.
In these circumstances, we should be sent a letter. This will confirm any 'underlying entitlement' to Carer’s Allowance.
Can I Claim Carer’s Allowance and Attendance Allowance?
In short, yes you can.
You can be both a carer, receiving Carer’s Allowance, and also claim for Attendance Allowance to support yourself. The person you care for, may also be eligible for Attendance Allowance.
Is Carer’s Allowance Taxable?
Carer's Allowance is a taxable benefit. However, we will only have to pay tax if we have taxable income from other sources, which together exceed the tax threshold. These could include personal pensions or part-time earnings.
Carer's Allowance on its own, falls below the taxable threshold.
How do I Claim Carer’s Allowance?
Before you start, use our free and easy Carer’s Allowance eligibility claim checker.
Then, if you are eligible, simply hop over to the Government website and start your claim.
Before you apply you’ll need to have the following documents to hand:
Your National Insurance number (and if applicable, your partner’s too)
Any bank or building society details you have (unless you get your State Pension)
If you’re working, then your employment details and your latest payslip
If you’ve recently finished work, then your P45
If you’re studying, you’ll need your course details, including the number of hours you’re studying
Details of any expenses. Such as the cost of caring for your children or the disabled person while you’re at work. Or any pension contributions you are making. A proportion of your pension contributions can be offset against your weekly earnings, making it more likely you will be entitled to Carer’s Allowance. For example, if you pay £100 per month into a pension, then 50% of that, i.e. £50 can be deducted from your earnings, when calculating your eligibility.
You will need the following information for the person you care for:
Their date of birth
If their over 16, their National Insurance number, and
If they’re under 16, their Disability Living Allowance reference
How Long Does it Take to Get Carer’s Allowance?
Although it typically takes between 3 and 6 weeks to receive your Carer’s Allowance decision we are hearing from our community of carers that there is a backlog of claims and it can take between 12 to 15 weeks.
If we're successful, our money can be backdated up to 3 months prior to our claim date. This is dependent on when you started caring.
“Give them a call a few days after you have sent off your application! I applied 4 months ago and have heard nothing back. I didn’t follow up, as my circumstances have changed, and I no longer needed to claim. But I would definitely recommend giving them a call to make sure they have everything they need.”
Claire, carer to her daughter
If you do want to follow up with a phone call, you can get in touch with the Carer’s Allowance team on 0800 731 0297 (Mon-Fri 10am-2pm)
How Does Carer’s Allowance Affect my Benefits?
Carer’s Allowance is a taxable benefit. Receiving it, may affect other benefits you receive.
This means that you might be paid less in another benefit. In some circumstances it may also affect the benefits of the person you’re caring for.
Carer’s Allowance and PIP
If you are a carer but you also have your own care needs, you can still claim PIP for yourself. Receiving PIP will not affect your Carer's Allowance.
Carer’s Allowance and Universal Credit
Carer’s Allowance will be counted as income, if we are getting Universal Credit. However we may qualify for a carer’s element as an additional payment.
If eligible, we can receive both Carer’s Allowance and Universal Credit at the same time.
However, Carer’s Allowance is considered an income so the same amount will be deducted from our Universal Credit payment. Claiming Carer’s Allowance is still worth doing so that our National Insurance Credits are paid.
If we’re receiving Universal Credit we may also qualify for a carer’s element of Universal Credit, as an additional payment.
How much is the Carer Element of Universal Credit?
The Carer Element of Universal Credit is £163.73 a month. We do not need to receive Carer’s Allowance to get the Carer’s Element of Universal Credit.
To be eligible for the Carer Element, we must be caring for at least 35 hours a week. And the person we care for must be receiving these qualifying benefits.
I am still on the old benefits system. Will reporting changes to my caring situation shift my current benefits to Universal Credit?
The answer is yes. Reporting a change in our caring situation while we are on the older benefits means shifting to Universal Credit. The old benefits include:
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
Working Tax Credits (WTC)
Child Tax Credits (CTC)
For those of us still receiving any of the older benefits, we will move onto Universal Credit by 2024. This means we won’t be able to make new claims for the old benefits, as they now fall under Universal Credit.
Carer’s Allowance and Child Tax Credits
As Carer’s Allowance is a taxable benefit, it may reduce your Child Tax Credit.
If you do receive Child Tax Credit, you must contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), and let them know about your Carer’s Allowance claim.
How is Carer’s Allowance Paid?
It is paid by bank transfer to your nominated bank, building society or credit union account.
When is Carer’s Allowance Paid?
You can choose to be paid your Carer’s Allowance weekly in advance or every 4 weeks.
Is Carer’s Allowance Backdated?
Carer’s Allowance can be backdated for up to 3 months (from the date of your application).
How do I Change Carer’s Allowance Over to Someone Else?
You can’t simply transfer your Carer’s Allowance to someone else. You will need to notify the DWP of your changes in circumstance, to cease your payments. The new Carer, can then apply for their own Carer’s Allowance for the support they’re giving. They will need to meet the Carer’s Allowance requirements which they can check for free using our tool.
What if I can't get Carer's Allowance?
If you can't get Carer's Allowance, you may still be eligible for Carer's Credit - if you are still providing at least 20 hours of care.
This is a National Insurance Credit (not payment) which counts towards benefits such as State Pension. If the person you care for does not receive any disability benefits then you can apply for Carer's Credit by completing a Care Certificate. This is completed with the help of a health or social care professional to confirm that the care you provide is needed.
Use our checker tool to find out if you're eligible for Carer's Credit.
When Does Carer’s Allowance Stop?
Carer's Allowance may stop because of changes to your circumstances, temporary stops in caring and the death of the person you were caring for. You should always report any relevant changes to your circumstances.
Carer’s Allowance and Changes in Circumstances
You must report relevant changes in your circumstances to the Carer's Allowance unit, if you’re claiming or have applied for Carer’s Allowance. The changes may result in your Carer’s Allowance being stopped.
If you do not report changes, you could be eligible to repay funds.
Changes which should be reported, include:
When you start a new job
When you are starting or ending full-time education
Any changes to your income
If you stop being a carer
If someone else takes over the caring role
When someone else who cares for the same person, claims the carer’s element of Universal Credit
You can report a change of circumstances through the Government website. An alternative way is to contact the Carer’s Allowance unit by calling them on 0800 731 0297 (open Mon-Fri 10am-2pm), or posting to them at:
Carers Allowance Unit
Mail Handling Site A
Carer’s Allowance and a Temporary Stop in Care
You can still get Carer’s Allowance, even if you have temporarily had to stop providing care. This refers to any period of time, when you spend less than 35 hours a week caring for the other person. The person you care for must still receive their disability benefit however.
It’s important that you tell DWP if you temporarily stop providing care and:
you or the person you care for are expected to be in hospital, a nursing home, or respite care for a period longer than 12 weeks
you stop caring for a period greater than 28 days, for any other reason
Carer’s Allowance When Someone Dies
You can continue receiving Carer’s Allowance, for up to eight weeks after the death of the person you were caring for.
How do I Stop Carer’s Allowance?
You can report your changes in circumstance here.
Alternatively, if the person you care for has passed away, the Government has a ‘tell it once’ service.
Carer’s Allowance Northern Ireland (NI)
If we are over 16, live in Northern Ireland and are caring for someone for at least 35 hours a week, we may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance.
Carer's Allowance Supplement and Carer's Allowance in Scotland
For those of us in receipt of Carers' Allowance and living in Scotland, we may be eligible for the Carer's Allowance Supplement.
Initially, this was an extra payment of £231.40 paid twice a year. But, a new Carer's Allowance Supplement Bill has recently been passed (October 2021), with the Scottish Government doubling this payment to £462.80 to help us out with costs this winter. This payment is automated if we receive Carer’s Allowance.
However, we will not be able to receive the Carer’s Allowance Supplement if we are receiving the ‘underlying entitlement’ to Carer’s Allowance.
The next payment is due in December and payable if we claimed Carer's Allowance on 11th October 2021.
If we are a young carer in Scotland (16-18) and caring for an average of 16 hours, we may be eligible for a Young Carer Grant. This is if we are not already in receipt of Carer's Allowance.
Alternatives to Carer’s Allowance
Even if we don’t qualify for Carer's Allowance there might be other support available to us. For example:
Carer's Credits - these fill in gaps in your National Insurance contributions if you are not working. This is important if you need to claim other benefits in the future, such as a state pension. Check to see if you're eligible below.
As a carer we're eligible to have a Carer's Assessment, which could result in financial and practical support.
Carer's Allowance - Your Experience
What was your experience with applying for Carer’s Allowance - do let us know so we can improve our advice for others.
This page was last updated: 3rd October 2021
Carer's Allowance, Made Simple
If you are in the UK, find out if you're are eligible for £3,515 per year to support you in your caring role.
Carer’s Allowance is a benefit for unpaid carers. It’s controlled centrally by government, and worth an extra £3,515 per year to support us in our caring role. It’s normally very quick to work out if we are eligible for Carer’s Allowance using our handy tool. Alternatively, take a look at our full guide to carer’s allowance below.
Find out in less than three minutes if you could receive financial support with our simple and free claim checker.
Here’s Suzanne, our Head of Carer Support, with some advice on Carer’s Allowance.
So How Can Mobilise Help Me?
Mobilise has created a free and easy Carer’s Allowance checker that takes you just a few minutes. You’ll quickly find out what support you could receive and, even better, how to actually claim it.
“Mobilise’s checker was so quick and easy - it made me feel heard and I’ve been able to access more help that I didn’t know I was eligible for. Everyone should take 5 minutes to do this”
“I finally understand what I am eligible for - I can’t believe it was free and so easy. Thank you Mobilise.”