Making sure you receive your entitlement to financial support can take away some of the worry.
As a carer you may be entitled to a range of benefits, some of which are will depend upon the amount of your income and the essential expenses that you have.
You may be entitled to carer’s allowance of £61.35 a week to help you look after someone with substantial caring needs. You don’t have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for, however you do have to be 16 or over and spend at least 35 hours a week caring for them. To qualify for carer’s allowance you must also:
- Have lived in England, Scotland or Wales for at least 2 of the last 3 years
- Normally live in England, Scotland or Wales, or live abroad as a member of the armed forces
- Not be in full time education or studying for more than 21 hours a week
- Earn less than £102 a week (after taxes, care costs while you’re at work and 50% of what you pay into your pension)
And the person you care for must already get one of these benefits:
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP) daily living component
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA) - the middle or highest care rate
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the normal maximum rate with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, or basic (full day) rate with a War Disablement Pension
- Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
Carer’s Allowance is taxable and can affect your other benefits such as:
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Universal Credit.
If you are receiving one of the above benefits then an extra amount (called the ‘carer premium’) will be included in the calculation of your means-tested benefits.
Carer’s allowance may also affect the benefits of the person you care for. For example if they receive severe disability premium, this will stop. It can also affect their Council Tax reduction. You will need to talk to your local council for information about Council tax reduction.
The rules are different in Northern Ireland. You can claim carer’s allowance if you look after someone who is getting or has recently been awarded:
- Attendance Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance (at the middle or highest rate of the care component)
- Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the normal maximum rate as an addition to Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the basic (full day) rate as an addition to a War Disablement Pension
The NI Direct Government Services website has more information about these benefits.