Financial support for young carers

Looking after a family member who has a disability, illness, mental health condition, or drug or alcohol problem can be a huge commitment. Fortunately, there’s financial support available, and support services to help share the load.

What tasks do young carers do?

You might find yourself helping a family member by:

  • carrying out tasks around the home, such as cleaning
  • cooking meals
  • helping with physical tasks, such as moving around, bathing or getting dressed in the morning.

That can be difficult enough. But you might also find yourself managing your family’s money, or having to give up college or university to pay for the care they need.

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What financial support is available for young carers?

The government offers two kinds of financial support for young carers, Carer's Allowance and Carer Premium.

Carer's Allowance

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Carer’s Allowance is paid at a standard rate of £67.60 (2021/22) a week.

You're entitled to Carer’s Allowance if:

  • you’re aged 16 or over
  • you satisfy UK presence and residence rules
  • you spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone
  • you aren’t in either full-time education or earning more than £128 (2021/22) a week net. This means £128 after paying tax, National Insurance and certain other deductions.
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Carer's Allowance in Scotland

If you live in Scotland, carers will also get two supplementary payments of £231.40 (2021/22) a year.

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Carer premium

Carer premium is an extra payment of up to £37.70 (2021/22) a week.

It can sometimes be added into the calculation of other benefits you might get on top of your Carer’s Allowance. These can include:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Reduction (Rate Relief in Northern Ireland).

The carer element is an equivalent amount paid with Universal Credit.

If you already get any of these benefits, it’s important to let the relevant benefits office know that you’ve been awarded Carer’s Allowance. This is so they can add the carer premium to your payment.

You’ll find their contact details on any letters they’ve sent you.

If you have only just heard about carer premium and already get Carer’s Allowance, benefit payments can sometimes be backdated.

These benefits are means tested, so whether you qualify will depend on your income and savings.

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Young Carer Grant (Scotland only)

If you live in Scotland you might be able to get an extra yearly payment of £305.10 if:

  • you’re aged between 16 and 18
  • care for between one and three people for an average of 16 hours a week, and have been for at least the past three months.
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Other types of support for young carers

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There are lots of other types of financial and practical support available to young carers. But  you’ll need to have a carer’s assessment first.

This is a chance for you to chat with a social worker and tell them what help you need with your caring.

If you’re under 16, you can ask for a carer’s assessment the next time the person you’re looking after is having their own assessment.

If you’re over 16, you can ask your local council to carry out an assessment at any time.

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How to apply for a carer’s assessment

If you’re in England, Wales or Scotland, you’ll need to speak to the social services department of the local council responsible for the person you’re caring for.

If you’re in Northern Ireland, you’ll need to speak to the Health and Social Care Trust of the person you’re caring for.

Who else can help?

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It’s not easy being a young carer – and money is only one of the challenges. There might be other sources of financial help available from charitable funds.

The Carers Trust might be able to put you in touch with one of these organisations.

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If you feel your role as a carer is affecting your education and schoolwork, or if it’s making you feel anxious or upset, it’s important to talk to someone about it.

There are plenty of people who’ll be more than happy to listen and help you cope with the responsibilities of being a young carer.

You could start close to home, with a relative or friend who already knows your situation, or even your local doctor.

Then there are organisations that have been set up to offer advice and support to young people, such as:

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More information

There are lots of organisation offering help and advice available for young carers on all aspects of caring:

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