We understand that looking after someone can be financially demanding. Your responsibilities as a carer may result in you incurring certain costs and/or they may affect your working life and result in a loss of earnings.
There is a range of benefits and other financial support you may be able to receive as a carer. You may be able to apply for one or more of the following, but this will depend on the circumstances of both you and the person you care for.
Please note the information contained on this page is about benefits specific to your role as a carer. Depending on your personal circumstances it may be that you are entitled to other benefits, and as mentioned at the bottom of the page it is always advisable to check.
Carer’s Allowance is the government’s main state benefit for carers, and the weekly rate is £66.15 (as at April 2019). You do not have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for to receive Carer’s Allowance.
To qualify you must meet all the rules, which include the following:
- The person you look after must receive a qualifying disability benefit, such as Attendance Allowance or the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment
- You look after that person for at least 35 hours per week
- If you work you must earn less than £120 per week after taxes (incl. national insurance), care costs while you are at work, and 50% of any pension contributions made (as at April 2018).
- You are aged 16 years old or over
- You are not a full-time student.
Carer’s Allowance is a taxable benefit.
CHECK BEFORE YOU MAKE A CLAIM. If you claim Carer’s Allowance it could affect the amount of benefit the person you care for receives. Therefore, BEFORE you make a claim for Carer’s Allowance check with the person you are caring for.
Telephone: 0845 608 4321
Address: Palatine House, Lancaster Road, Preston PR1 1HB
Open: Monday – Thursday 8:30am to 5pm; Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm.
To apply for Carer’s Allowance you can now do this ONLINE by clicking here. If you would prefer not to use the online service you can apply by post by contacting the government’s Carer’s Allowance Unit (contact details above).
Even if you are not eligible to receive Carer’s Allowance you may be able to get National Insurance credits.
Carer’s Allowance & Christmas Bonus
If you are in receipt of Carers Allowance each year, just before Christmas, you will receive a tax-free Christmas Bonus with your Carer’s Allowance. You will only get a Christmas Bonus with your Carer’s Allowance if you do not get a Christmas Bonus with another benefit.
Protecting your State Pension
As a carer protecting your entitlement to the State Pension is an important issue, especially if you have to give up work to look after someone. Here are some ways in which you can protect your State Pension.
National Insurance (NI) Credits
If you are in receipt of Carers Allowance you will automatically be credited with Class 1 NI contributions for each week in which the benefit is paid.
If you are a carer, but do not qualify for Carer’s Allowance, you may be able to be credited with Class 3 National Insurance contributions, which can help you build up a better State Pension or additional State Pension. Carer’s Credit can also help if your spouse or civil partner ever needs to claim bereavement benefits.
To qualify for Carer’s Credit you must care for someone for more than 20 hours per week, not be in receipt of Carer’s Allowance, and the person you care for must receive either:
- Disability Living Allowance care component at the middle or highest rate; or
- Attendance Allowance at any rate; or
- Constant Attendance Allowance at any rate.
If the person you care for is not in receipt of an appropriate qualifying benefit, you may still be eligible for Carer’s Credit if you supply a Care Certificate, which needs to be signed by a health or social care professional. For more information click here and/or contact the Carer’s Allowance Unit (details above).
Carer’s Allowance & Pensioners
If you are in receipt of the basic State Pension you cannot normally receive both Carer’s Allowance and State Pension because of the government’s “overlapping” benefit rules.
However, if you are caring and your basic State Pension is less than Carer’s Allowance, it can be topped up to the level of Carer’s Allowance – so it may still be worth making a claim.
Even if your basic State Pension is more than the level of Carer’s Allowance you will not get a top-up but you will still have an “underlying entitlement” to it, which may help you to get means tested benefits such as Pension Credit.
For more information on Carer’s Allowance click here to download Carers UK’s factsheet entitled “Carer’s Allowance“.
CHECK YOU ARE RECEIVING THE CORRECT BENEFITS
We understand the rules relating to benefits are complicated, and if you need any help please Contact Us. We are here to help.
In addition to the services offered by Brent Carers Centre there are a number of other local and national voluntary organisations that will help. You can find a detailed list on our Local Services page (selecting the filter option “Money, Benefits & Debt Counselling”). Here are just a few:
If you are an older carer or care for an older person Age UK Brent offer advice on claiming benefits, etc. For details of their services click here.
Offer a Benefit Claims Service to help people navigate the complex welfare benefits system. For more details click here.
Turn2us is a charity that helps people in financial need to access welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help, and you can use their online Benefits Calculator and a Grants Search facility.
Click here to use the online Turn2us Benefits Calculator.
Click here to use the online Turn2us Grants Search Facility.
Other Financial Help
To find out what other help and assistance is available have a look at our Other Financial Help page.