Page created: 22 April 2021
Carers Allowance (CA)
Carer’s Allowance is the main benefit for carers. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply for the benefit.
Carers Allowance is a UK welfare benefit which can be paid to carers who have ‘regular and substantial’ caring duties for a ‘severely disabled’ person. These caring duties will need to be for at least 35 hours per week.
To qualify as a severely disabled person, someone would need to be in receipt of either: any rate of the Daily Living component for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), middle or high-rate Care component for Disability Living Allowance (DLA), any rate of Attendance Allowance (AA), Constant Attendance Allowance (CAA) or Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP).
To be eligible for Carers Allowance you will need to meet each of the following criteria:
- Be aged 16 and over.
- Not in full-time education.
- Earning less than £128 per week (before expenses) (not gainfully employed).
- Be resident in the UK and not subject to immigration control (given recourse to public funds).
Although Carers Allowance is taxable, it is non-means tested. This means that a claimant’s (or their partner’s), savings, assets or capital will not be considered for eligibility.
Income and expenses
You will not be eligible for Carers Allowance if you are earning more than £128 per week, after National Insurance and income tax deductions (net) and half of your personal pension contributions.
A partner’s earnings will not be considered when calculating eligibility for Carers Allowance.
You can bring your weekly earnings down by putting in expenses and applying certain disregards. These can include:
- Work travel costs – fuel or train fares (if not already paid for by an employer).
- Work equipment – clothing, stationary, ink etc.
- Self-employed business costs – computer costs.
- The first £20 for a boarder or lodger in your home, then 50% of any income you receive from the lodger or boarder.
- Maximum amount of 50% of the costs of having to pay someone else to care for the qualifying disabled person or your child while you work. The person you pay to care for the qualifying disabled person cannot be a close relative and the claimant (or partner) needs to be in receipt of Child Benefit for a child.
Carers Allowance is paid every week at the rate of £67.60, but you can request for CA to be paid every month if you wish.
How to apply for Carers Allowance
To apply for Carers Allowance, you can make an application online on Gov.UK.
Alternatively, if you are not able to apply online, you can fill out a DS700 application form here.
If you need to request an accessible format, you can do this by filling out this online request form here.
Failing any of the above, you can contact the Carers Allowance Unit on their general enquiries line on 0800 731 2070, further information can be found here.
To make an application for Carers Allowance, you will need to have certain personal details to hand, including your bank details, National Insurance number, employers’ details and payslips or your P45 if you have just finished working.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the UK government has confirmed that providing ‘emotional support’ to a qualifying disabled person can count towards ‘regular and substantial’ caring duties of 35 hours of care a week.
This means that if you are caring remotely due to coronavirus restrictions i.e., over the telephone or via video link, this can still count as caring duties.
These measures have been extended until August 2021.
You will also need information regarding the qualifying disabled person you are caring for as well, such as their date of birth, address, National Insurance number and details of which qualifying benefit they are currently receiving.
NB: Carers Allowance can be backdated for up to three months.
Carers Premium/Carers Addition
You could get a top-up payment called a ‘Carers Premium’ or ‘Carers’ Addition’ added to any of the following benefits if you get Carers Allowance:
- Pension Credit (PC).
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
- Income Support (IS).
- Housing Benefit (HB).
- Council Tax Support (CTS).
You could also get an additional element in your Universal Credit maximum monthly amount called a ‘carer element,’ if you already receive Carers Allowance, or even if you have an underlining entitlement to CA (see our Universal Credit web page for more details).
Please be aware, if you are receiving Carers Allowance and Universal Credit at the same time, because CA is an overlapping welfare benefit, this will reduce your UC maximum monthly amount pound for pound (£292).
You can take a temporary break from caring for your qualifying disabled person for up to four weeks, if:
- You have been caring for 35-hours per week for the past 22 weeks out of the last 26 weeks; or
- For 14 of the last 26 weeks, if the reason you did not provide care for 22 weeks was either you or the qualifying disabled person were in hospital or a similar situation.
Qualifying disabled persons can take a temporary absence abroad for up to 13 weeks and continue to receive their qualifying benefit – PIP/DLA/AA/CAA/AFIP.
If the qualifying disabled person is gone from the UK for longer than 13 weeks, and this is not in regard to medical treatment, their qualifying benefit will end and so too will your Carers Allowance.
Going into hospital
Your Carers Allowance will stop being paid if the qualifying disabled person you are caring for has been in hospital (NHS) or a care home for longer than 28 days.
Carers Allowance can run-on for a further eight weeks after a qualifying disabled person dies unless they were in hospital or a care home for more than 28 days before they died.
NB: Carers Allowance is set to be replaced in Scotland by Carer’s Assistance.
Until this new welfare benefit is introduced, claimants in receipt of Carers Allowance who are also residents in Scotland can continue to claim a further supplement of two lump sum payments per year of £230.10, on top of their weekly CA payment – one in June 2020/21 and one in December 2020/21.
Glossary of terms:
AA – Attendance Allowance.
AFIP – Armed Forces Independence Payment.
AFIP – Armed Forces Independence Payment.
CA – Carers Allowance.
CAA – Constant Attendance Allowance.
CTS – Council Tax Support.
DLA – Disability Living Allowance.
ESA – Employment and Support Allowance.
HB – Housing Benefit.
IS – Income Support.
JSA – Jobseekers Allowance.
NHS – National Health Service.
PC – Pension Credit.
PIP – Personal Independence Payment.
UC – Universal Credit.
England and Wales