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Claiming Carer's Allowance when you're State Pension Age


If you are a carer of State Pension age, you could be missing out on some of the benefits you can claim if you’re unsure about how underlying entitlement to Carer’s Allowance works. Here we explain how Carers Allowance works for people who are State Pension age, how to claim, and what extra benefits, entitlements and discounts you could get.

Carer’s Allowance is a working aged benefit for people between the ages of 16 and 66. (Due to increase to 67 in 2024). It is paid to people who are providing 35 or more hours of care and are not earning more than £139 per week from paid employment. The rate is currently £76.75 a week. The person you are caring for must also be getting a qualifying disability benefit like Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance or Disability Living Allowance.

Once you reach state pension age (currently 66) and you begin to receive your government state pension, Carer’s Allowance will stop. This is because you can only effectively receive one benefit and you cannot effectively receive both.

If you meet all the eligibility criteria and make a claim Carers Allowance when you get to state pension age, you will automatically be given an underlying entitlement which sits in the background if you claim benefits in the future, so you won't need to apply again. This is because you meet the criteria for the benefit due to your circumstances of being a carer, but don’t due to being State Pension age.

If you are receiving £76.75 or more a week from at least one of these benefits, you can’t usually get Carer’s Allowance. Instead, you may be able to get underlying entitlement:

• State Pension
• Bereavement and Widow’s benefits
• Incapacity Benefit Getting underlying entitlement to Carer’s Allowance
• contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
• contributory Employment and Support Allowance
• Severe Disablement Allowance.

An underlying entitlement is where you meet all other qualifying conditions for Carer’s Allowance because of your circumstances of being a carer, except that you are State Pension age. It can act as a passport to other benefits and entitlements, which means that you get an increased amount of any other means-tested benefits you may currently be receiving, or are now entitled to benefits that you couldn’t get before.

If you receive Pension Credit or any other means-tested benefit, your underlying entitlement to Carer’s Allowance will enable you to receive the ‘Carer Premium’ or ‘Carer Addition’ with your qualifying benefit.  

Your underlying entitlement can also be used to prove you are a carer to services such as your GP Surgery or leisure attractions when asking for a carer’s discount or free entry.

Underlying entitlement can also act as a passport to other benefits, such as Pension Credit. Being able to claim Pension Credit leads to entitlements such as:

  • free prescriptions
  • free dental treatment
  • Warm Home Discount
  • Cold Weather Payment.
  • If you’re over 75 and have an underlying entitlement to Carer’s Allowance, you can apply for a free TV licence too.

The Carer Addition and Carer Premium can increase the amount of your means-tested benefit by £42.75 a week (2023/24 rate).
• Carer Addition – is paid with your Pension Credit
• Carer Premium – is paid with Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support, Income Support, Job Seeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance.

To get underlying entitlement, you will need to make a claim for Carer’s Allowance first. You can do this:

You should get a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) advising you of the outcome of your claim in a few weeks. If you meet the criteria for Carer’s Allowance but you’re receiving an overlapping benefit, the letter will say that you can’t be paid Carer’s Allowance. It will then confirm if you have an underlying entitlement and what extra money you could receive. If your claim is turned down, the decision letter should explain the reasons why. If you disagree, you can challenge the decision within one month.

Your frequently asked questions, answered...

Even if you meet all the criteria to qualify for Carer’s Allowance, you might not get it because you are already receiving a means-tested benefit which pays the same or more than Carer’s Allowance. Instead, you will be given an underlying entitlement to Carer’s Allowance, which can qualify you for extra money with other means-tested benefits you’re entitled to.

No. Unlike Carer’s Allowance, underlying entitlement won’t affect any benefits for the person you care for.

You can backdate your claim for Carer’s Allowance for up to three months as long as you met the qualifying conditions in this time. You can also claim Carer’s Allowance (or an underlying entitlement) up to three months in advance, as long as you can prove you’ll meet the conditions from that particular date onwards.

Your partner’s income and savings will not be considered unless they are being paid a State Pension and receive an extra amount for you. In this case the amount they receive for you may be affected.

If you don’t currently receive any means-tested benefits such as Pension Credit, you could qualify for them for the first time. If you’re thinking of making a claim, you should get advice to see how it may affect your existing benefits, what you might get and whether you’ll be better off financially. It’s also worth getting a benefits check if you’re awarded a new benefit or an increase to your benefit after making a claim.

Carers First provides access to the turn2us benefits calculator where you can check your eligibility. You can also call our helpline on 0300 303 1555 to arrange a free benefits check with one of our Carers First benefits advisers.

Benefits calculator

Try the turn2us free and confidential benefits calculator below to find out what benefits you are entitled to claim.

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.

Online support
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