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Carer's Allowance

Published
22/08/21

Carers Allowance is a benefit paid by the Department for Work and Pensions for people who are looking after someone for 35+ hours a week; who could not manage without their support. You may be able to claim it even if you don't see yourself as a carer.

You may be able to claim Carer’s Allowance if you are aged 16 or over and spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a severely disabled person who receives one of the following disability benefits:

  • Disability Living Allowance higher or middle rate care component
  • Personal Independence Payment standard or enhanced daily living component
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Constant Attendance Allowance paid with an industrial injuries benefit or war disablement pension
  • Child Disability Payment (Scotland) higher or middle rate care component
  • Adult Disability Payment (Scotland) standard or enhanced daily living component

You will not be eligible for Carer’s Allowance if you are in full-time education. If the course you are doing is described as full-time by the school, college or university you go to, or involves you attending for at least 21 hours a week, then you are usually considered to be in full-time education.

You must also not be gainfully employed, which is described as earning over £132 a week. You can take off any care costs you might have for your children or the severely disabled person you care for while you work, up to a maximum of half your net weekly earnings.

If you receive a State Pension you might not be paid Carer’s Allowance, even if you are eligible, because they are both considered to be earnings-replacement benefits and you can only receive one of these at a time. You will only receive some Carer’s Allowance if your pension is lower than the Carer’s Allowance rate. But don’t be put off making a claim, because if you’re eligible then you could be awarded an extra amount called a carer premium in other benefits you might claim, such as Pension Credit or Housing Benefit.

If you’re claiming Universal Credit, you may be able to get an extra amount because of your caring role without actually applying for Carer's Allowance. This is known as a carer element. The conditions to be eligible for a carer element are the same as for Carer’s Allowance, except there is no limit on how much you can earn. For further information see our 'Universal Credit' guide.

Carer’s Allowance is paid at a weekly rate of £81.90.

If you receive a State Pension you might not be paid Carer’s Allowance, even if you are eligible, because they are both considered to be earnings-replacement benefits and you can only receive one of these at a time. You will only receive some Carer’s Allowance if your pension is lower than the Carer’s Allowance rate. But don’t be put off making a claim, because if you’re eligible then you could be awarded an extra amount called a carer premium in other benefits you might claim, such as Pension Credit or Housing Benefit.

If you’re claiming Universal Credit, you may be able to get an extra amount because of your caring role without actually applying for Carer's Allowance. This is known as a carer element. The conditions to be eligible for a carer element are the same as for Carer’s Allowance, except there is no limit on how much you can earn. For further information see our Universal Credit page.

A claim for Carer’s Allowance can affect the benefits of the person you care for. If they receive something called a Severe Disability Premium they will lose this if someone claims Carer’s Allowance for looking after them. Because of this it is important to seek benefits advice before making a claim.

You can download a claim form or make a claim online from the GOV.UK's Carer's Allowance webpage.

You can also get a claim form by calling the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0800 731 0297 between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. For other methods of contact see GOV.UK’s Carer’s Allowance Unit contact details.

You will automatically be credited with Class 1 National Insurance contributions, which help you qualify for a State Pension, for each week you are entitled to Carer’s Allowance. You can still qualify for Carer’s Allowance during temporary breaks in caring and for a further eight weeks if the person you care for dies. For further information see our 'Protecting your State Pension as a carer' guide.

Carer’s Allowance is going to be replaced by a new benefit called Carer’s Assistance for people living in Scotland. This new benefit will be paid at a higher rate than Carer’s Allowance.

A Carer’s Allowance Supplement is being awarded to people living in Scotland and getting paid Carer’s Allowance as a short term measure until the new benefit is introduced. This takes the form of two lump sum payments each year; for 2024 they are £288.60. You will be eligible if you are living in Scotland and getting Carer’s Allowance on the qualifying date for each payment.

There is no need to claim this benefit. If you are eligible it will be paid to you automatically by Social Security Scotland into the same bank account as your Carer’s Allowance.

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Online Help and Advice

Visit our online support section where we have provided advice and guidance on a range of relevant topics to help you in your caring role.

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