Carer’s allowance is paid out to someone who cares full time for another person. While many people care for a family member who lives at the same property – a child, partner or parent for example – there is no requirement for the carer to care for a relation. Furthermore you do not have to live in the same property as the person in receipt of care.
Are you entitled to claim?
There are certain conditions that must be met if you wish to claim the carer’s allowance. Firstly you must spend a minimum of 35 hours every week caring for someone who is disabled in some way. As mentioned previously there is no need to live in the same property as they do; however a full 35 hours every week must be spent with them in order to claim.
The person you are caring for should also be in receipt of:
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance of at least the standard maximum amount
- Disability Living Allowance (this must be paid to at least the middle rate or higher with regard to the care element)
- Constant Attendance Allowance of at least the full day (otherwise known as the basic) rate
Be sure to read the up to date information on these allowances to ensure the disabled person is receiving a relevant benefit to determine your qualification for the carer’s allowance.
Can you apply for carer’s allowance at any time?
As stated above, you must meet certain conditions in order to be considered for carer’s allowance. If you do not meet these conditions you will not receive the allowance.
You must also be sure one of the above allowances or benefits is being paid to that individual. If this is not the case you should wait until they do apply and have been notified that the relevant benefit shall be paid to them.
In any event you should apply as quickly as possible once you know the conditions for payment have been met. This is because you can receive a backdated allowance if you have already been caring for a disabled person for a period of time. You must claim within three months of the relevant payment being made to the disabled person you care for, in order to avoid losing out on the backdated payments where relevant.
Does it matter if you are earning income from a job?
You should not be receiving more than £100 a week in earnings from any job or jobs you may currently have. This figure is worked out after deductions are taken away for income tax and National Insurance. However if you receive an income from one or more pensions that are related to an occupation or are paid to you privately, these are not included.
Finally a carer cannot be in full-time education and make a claim for carer’s allowance.
How do you claim?
In order to lodge a claim for carer’s allowance you will need to complete a claim form. This can be done online if you have access to the internet. Visit the official government website at to apply. Apply for carers allowance
Alternatively you can apply via post. Be aware there are two different forms. One is a form designed for those who are in receipt of the state pension. The other is for everyone else who wishes to make a claim. You can download the appropriate form (they are clearly labelled) from the official government website. Simply print the appropriate form and complete it. Download the carer’s allowance claim form
The PDF documents also contain several pages of advice and information to assist you in determining whether you can make a valid claim or not. Be sure to read through all this information prior to completing the form.
Does it matter where you live?
The forms mentioned above are applicable to people living in England, Wales and Scotland. If you live in Northern Ireland you should visit the NI Direct website to download and print your forms. You will find the appropriate claim notes as well, to help you fill in the details and find out more about the process.
If you cannot download the appropriate claim form you can call the Benefit Enquiry Line. Be sure to specify which form you require. They can send it to you. Alternatively your local job centre or social security office will have the forms. The Disability and Carers Service can provide you with one also.
Are you entitled to claim carer’s allowance if you have savings?
Yes. The level of savings you have is not taken into account when assessing whether or not you are entitled to claim the carer’s allowance.
Does payment of the allowance depend on any benefits the disabled person is receiving?
It may do. This tends to occur in cases where the individual is severely disabled. If they are in receipt of certain benefits these particular benefits will cease to be paid if you are granted carer’s allowance. You may wish to seek advice about this prior to applying.
Where can you get more information and advice?
The carer’s allowance is designed to provide financial support to someone who cares for an individual full time. However the rules and regulations surrounding the allowance can seem confusing.
If you have read through the notes provided with the claim form and you are still unsure about any particular aspect of whether you could reasonably claim or not, you can seek further advice.
There is a special Carers Allowance Unit available that will provide more information and advice whenever you need it. You can call them on 0845 608 4321, or alternatively by textphone on 0845 604 5312. You can also visit the official web page at www.gov.uk/carers-allowance to find more details about the allowance and how to apply.
Looking after another person full time is a challenging situation to be in. The carers allowance is designed to ease the financial strain you may experience. It is also designed to ensure you do not work full time as a carer with no financial input at all.