Benefits you can claim as a carer

Carer’s Allowance

In 2021–22, Carer’s Allowance is £67.60 a week

You might be able to claim it if you:

  • spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone
  • are aged 16 or over
  • aren’t in full-time education or studying for 21 hours a week or more
  • earn £128 (2021–2022) a week or less (after tax, National Insurance and expenses).

That’s £6,656 a year.

The person you’re caring for must also be getting a benefit because of their illness or disability. For example:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance (the middle or higher rate of the care component)
  • Personal Independence Payment (either rate of the daily living component)
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment.

Carer’s Allowance is taxable. But you’ll only have to pay tax if you have other sources of taxable income. For example, occupational or personal pensions or part-time earnings. And if this combined income takes you over the threshold for paying tax – £12,570 a year in 2021–2022). Carer’s Allowance on its own is currently below this threshold.

How does Carer's Allowance affect other benefits?

Carer’s Allowance can also affect other benefits you might be already getting – so you might be paid less in another benefit.

It will count as income if you’re getting Universal Credit. But you might also qualify for extra Universal Credit because you’re a carer.

It can also affect the benefits of the person you’re caring for. For example, if they’re getting Severe Disability Premium – this might stop if you claim Carer’s Allowance.

Making sure your earnings stay under the threshold

If your weekly take home pay is more than £128 (2021–22) after deductions, you’re no longer entitled to Carer’s Allowance.

HMRC now give up-to-date information about earnings to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

If you earn more than this in any given week, it’s important to tell the DWP. If you don’t, you’ll be asked to pay back the amount you were overpaid.

If your earnings vary from week to week, it’s important to let the DWP know. This is so they can average out your earnings so you stay under the limit.

You can’t usually get Carer’s Allowance if you’re already claiming State Pension or certain income-replacing benefits. For example, New Style Employment and Support Allowance.

However, it’s still worth making a claim even though you won’t get the benefit. As if you qualify in all other respects, you might be entitled to top-up income on other benefits you get. This is called having an ‘underlying entitlement’ to Carer’s Allowance.

Your local Jobcentre Plus – or Jobs and Benefits Office in Northern Ireland – will be able to tell you which benefits to apply for. Or you can contact your local Citizens Advice.

There’s more information about Carer’s Allowance on these websites:

Northern Ireland

Scotland

If you live in Scotland and get Carer’s Allowance, you’ll also get a supplementary payment of £462.80 a year (2021–2022). This will be made in two payments of £231.40.

You won’t get Carer’s Allowance Supplement if you have an underlying entitlement to Carer’s Allowance. Carer’s Allowance Supplement won’t affect your other benefits or tax credits.

Carer’s Credit

Carer’s Credit is a National Insurance credit that fills up gaps in your National Insurance record.

It helps towards your State Pension while you’re not making any contributions because of your caring role.

You might be able to get Carer’s Credit if:

  • you’re aged 16 or over
  • you’re not yet getting State Pension
  • you don’t qualify for Carer’s Allowance
  • you spend at least 20 hours a week caring for someone
  • the person you’re looking after gets a benefit because of their illness or disability. For example:

o   Attendance Allowance – the middle or highest rate of the care component

o   Disability Living Allowance

o   Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – either rate of the daily living component

o   Armed Forces Independence Payment.

If the person you’re caring for doesn’t get one of these benefits, you might still be able to claim by completing a ‘Care Certificate’.

England, Scotland and Wales

Northern Ireland

Carer Premium

You might be entitled to an additional Carer Premium if you already get:

  • Income Support
  • Universal Credit – and get the ‘carer element’
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Support – Rate Relief in Northern Ireland
  • income-related Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit – and get the ‘carer addition’.

Ask about the Carer Premium at your local Jobcentre Plus or Jobs and Benefits Office. However, if you qualify, the payment will usually be added automatically.

Pension Credit

This is a benefit you can get if you’ve reached State Pension age. It’s designed to top up your income in retirement. It’s made up of two parts:

  • Guarantee Credit
  • Savings Credit.

One in three people who are entitled to Pension Credit don’t claim it. If you’re one of them, you’re missing out on hundreds of pounds a year.

If you live with a partner, you’ll only be able to claim Pension Credit if you’ve both reached State Pension age.

Local welfare assistance

If you have an unexpected and urgent financial need and you’re getting certain benefits or are on a very low income, you might be able to get local help. This is called local welfare assistance.

England

Contact your local council to find out more about what help they might be able to provide. 

Scotland

Wales

Northern Ireland

Other benefits you might be able to claim

As a carer, there are other benefits and support you might qualify for.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is replacing these benefits:

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

If you’re making a new claim for means-tested benefits to help if you’re on a low income, you’ll have to claim Universal Credit.

If you’re caring for a severely disabled person for at least 35 hours a week, you might qualify for the carer element of Universal Credit.

Citizens Advice Help to Claim service

Citizens Advice Help to Claim service is free and confidential. They can help you:

  • check if you’re entitled to Universal Credit
  • get your important paperwork and documents together to speed up your application
  • fill out your application online.

England and Wales

Scotland

Northern Ireland

If you’re not yet on Universal Credit

If you’re currently getting any of the benefits being replaced by Universal Credit, you’ll continue to get them until:

  • you have to make a new claim because of a change in circumstances
  • the DWP asks you to start claiming Universal Credit.

A change in circumstances includes events such as starting a new job, having a child and starting or stopping being a carer.

If you want to know more about how this will affect your income, contact the Citizens Advice Help to Claim service before you make a claim. The service is free and confidential.

Help with housing costs

If you’re renting, you might get help with your housing costs through the Housing Costs element of Universal Credit (or Housing Benefit if you're over State Pension age).

If you’re a homeowner, you can get help with your mortgage interest payments through Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI). This is offered as a repayable loan.

Other help if you’re on a low income

You might also be entitled to financial help with your:

  • fuel
  • health costs
  • Council Tax
  • home repair services.

Other schemes and entitlements

Motability scheme

If you’re caring for someone with limited mobility, they might be able to get support from the Motability scheme. This can help by providing a car, wheelchair or powered scooter.

Blue badge parking

Blue badge parking permits allow drivers who have passengers with mobility issues to park in more convenient locations, such as disabled parking bays.

You can also park on single or double lines for up to three hours.

Disabled Persons Railcard

The Disabled Persons Railcard entitles the cardholder and a carer or companion one third off most adult rail fares on the National Rail network.

It costs £20 a year, or £54 for a three-year card. You can buy one at any staffed ticket office or apply online. 

Cinema Exhibitors’ Association Card

This card entitles you to one free ticket when you take the person you’re caring for to the cinema. All national cinema chains accept it. You can apply for the card online.

Other discounts

There are lots more free or discounted entry offers available to carers at museums, leisure centres and National Trust sites across the country.

They’re not always advertised – so it’s worth asking when you’re buying tickets.

Several local authorities also offer carers’ shopping, leisure and other discounts. Ask your local authority what extra support they offer.

Where to get help and advice about benefits

Claiming carer’s benefits can be complicated. So it’s important to make sure you’re getting the right entitlements.

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impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
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MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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