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Carer’s Allowance: A Total Guide

 As a carer, it can be difficult at times to know exactly what types of support you are entitled to. It is estimated that there could be up to 440,00 people missing out on Carer’s Allowance in the UK, which equates to around £1.5billion worth of benefits.

Below, we’ve provided a complete guide to what Carer’s Allowance is and who is entitled to it, so you can make sure you’re not missing out on what you’re owed.

Contents:

Carer and old man laughing

Who Is Eligible?

Carer’s Allowance is the main welfare benefit available to support people who spend a certain amount of time every week providing care to someone with a disability. In order to be eligible, you do need to fulfil certain requirements, as does the person you care for.

You may be eligible if you:

  •  Care for someone at least 35 hours/week
  • Are aged 16 or over
  • Are no longer in full-time education or studying for more than 21 hours/week
  • Earn less than £116/week after taxes, care costs, and 50% of what you pay into your pension.

You are also only eligible if the person you care for is getting a benefit due to their disability or illness. Benefits could include:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Disability Living Allowance

You will not usually be entitled to Carer’s Allowance if you are claiming State Pension or other benefits that replace income. This can include Employment and Support Allowance.

Does Working Part-Time Affect My Eligibility?

You may still be eligible for Carer’s Allowance if you work part-time. However, you must meet the following criteria:

You spend at least 35 hours caring for someone
You earn no more than £116/week after tax

How Much Will I Be Paid?

If you are eligible, then as a carer, you are entitled to an allowance of £62.70 per week in 2017/18.

This allowance is taxable, which means it can affect other benefits you already receive. This means you could be paid less in another benefit, and the benefits of the person you are caring for may also be affected.

Carer’s allowance can be paid in one of the following ways:

  • Weekly (in advance)
  • Every 4 weeks
  • Every 13 weeks

Your allowance will be paid directly into your bank account or building society.

How To Claim:

If you are eligible for this benefits, you can claim through the Gov.co.uk website here, or by post.

Please see the following details to contact the Carer’s Allowance department:

General enquiries
Telephone: 0345 608 4321
Textphone: 0345 604 5312

Address
Carer’s Allowance Unit
Mail Handling Site A
Wolverhampton
WV98 2AB

How To Apply:

Using the link provided above, you will need to submit some information in order to prove that you qualify for this benefit. To apply, you will need to provide the following information:

  • National Insurance Number
  • Bank details
  • Employment details and your latest payslip (if working)
  • Your P45 if you’ve recently left work
  • Any course details if you are a student

You’ll also need to provide the following details of the person you care for:

  • Address and D.O.B
  • National Insurance Number (if over 16)
  • Disability Living Allowance reference if they’re under 16

Are Tax Credits Affected?

There are some benefits that, if you receive them, will often mean you cannot also be paid Carer’s Allowance. These benefits include:

  • State Pension
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Contributory Employment & Support Allowance
  • Bereavement Benefits
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

These restrictions are due to the ‘overlapping benefits’ rules, which means that if you are getting more than the amount you would receive from Carer’s Allowance from one of the benefits listed above, you are not entitled to Carer’s Allowance.

However, in this case, you would still be able to claim an underlying entitlement. Making an ‘underlying entitlement’ claim can increase any means-tested benefits you receive.

How Does This Benefit Affect My Other Benefits?

Receiving Carer’s Allowance can affect any other benefits you and the person you care for are getting. However, although your other benefits may be reduced, the total payments you receive will typically stay the same or increase.

Benefits that may be affected by this include Income Support, Employment and Support, State Pension and Jobseeker’s benefits. If you receive other benefits that are paid at the same rate of more than Carer’s Allowance, you may instead receive payment of what is called an ‘underlying entitlement’.

In addition, when you claim Carer’s Allowance, the person you care for will no longer receive:

  • Severe disability premium
  • Reduced Council Tax

As Carer’s Allowance can also affect the benefits of the person you care for, they should be informed that you are making a claim.

If you complete a claim form, the person you care for must confirm in writing that they are aware you are claiming Carer’s Allowance as you care for them a minimum of 35 hours/week, and if you apply online they will be informed once you have been approved.

What Other Benefits Can I Get?

If you are eligible for Carer’s Allowance, you may also be eligible for other benefits to support you. These can include:

  • Working Tax Credit.
  • Child Tax Credit.
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support

Visit this website to find out more about applying for additional benefits alongside your Carer’s Allowance.

Income Support Benefits

Carer’s Allowance is not a means-tested benefit and therefore is not based on your household income. There is, however, a cap on how much you can earn from work to be eligible (£116 per week).

If you are already receiving more than the amount of Carer’s Allowance from an income support benefit, you cannot be paid an additional sum. You can, however, submit a claim for an ‘underlying entitlement’.

In order for your claim to be valid, you need to meet all of the eligibility criteria for Carer’s Allowance and still make a claim. If approved, your means-tested benefits may increase as the carer’s premium will be included in any calculations for these benefits.

Can I Claim Carer’s Allowance And Working Tax Credits?

If you currently get a Working Tax credit, you must contact HMRC to notify them of your Carer’s Allowance claim. Claiming can affect your other benefits, including Working Tax Credits, but it does not mean your total payments will change: instead, your other benefits may be reduced to counter in the additional benefit, with your total benefits either staying the same or increasing.

Will My Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Be Affected?

If you currently receive PIP (Personal Independence Payment), then Carer’s Allowance may be available to someone looking after you. If your carer looks after you for 35 hours per week or more and earns £123 or less per week, they may be eligible to claim too.

Does Claiming This Benefit Affect ESA?

Yes, your carer’s allowance can affect any other benefits you receive including Employment Support and Jobseeker’s benefits.

If you receive an Employment Support benefit, you will not be paid your Carer’s Allowance but will instead receive a carer premium. This means that the premium (£34.60) will be included in the amount you receive for ESA. See the below answer for more information on overlapping benefits.

Does It Affect My Housing Benefits?

If the person you care for receives housing benefits, their benefits may be affected. Other means-tested benefits that could potentially be affected by a claim include:

  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Council Tax Reduction

Does This Benefit Affect Child Tax Credits?

Carer’s Allowance is a taxable benefit which means it will be considered as income when calculating other credits such as Child Tax Credits. This can mean that your tax credits are reduced.

Do My Savings Impact My Eligibility?

No – your savings and national insurance record do not make a difference to your eligibility. Even if you have savings to financially support yourself, you can still apply f you match the other requirements.

Can I Claim for Caring for Multiple People?

No, you get only get one payment of Carer’s Allowance for one person. You may not add together the time you spend caring for multiple people, and you must choose just one person to claim for if you care for more than one person.

Likewise, if you and another person both spend at least 35 hours caring for the same person every week, only one of you are entitled to claim. It should be agreed between the two of you who will make the claim, and the other person should seek further advice about the benefits they can claim.

If the person you care for is also caring for someone else, you are both entitled to claim provided you both meet the criteria. This also applies if you are carers for one another.