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Carer's Allowance - eligibility

You may be eligible for Carer's Allowance if you are aged 16 or over and you spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone who is ill or has a disability.

Who can get Carer's Allowance

You need to be caring for somebody who is getting one of the following benefits:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance at the middle or highest rate for personal care
  • 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

If someone else is also looking after the same person, only one of you can get Carer's Allowance. If you are caring for more than one person with disabilities, you cannot add together the hours you do.

Carer's Allowance can be claimed by more than one person in a household, such as a couple caring for each other. Carer's Allowance is not affected by any savings you may have.

Caring at weekends only

The 'caring week' runs from Sunday to Saturday. Therefore, you could still be entitled to Carer's Allowance if you provide at least 35 hours of care but only over weekends.

If you have come from, or live, abroad

To be eligible, the following must apply:

  • you must have been present in Northern Ireland for at least 26 weeks in the 12 months prior to your date of claim
  • you must be in Northern Ireland when you make your claim
  • you are not subject to immigration control

Certain people can be treated as being present in Northern Ireland. For example, if you are a member of the Armed Forces, or living with a member of the Armed Forces, and you are based abroad, you are regarded as living in Northern Ireland.

  • Claiming disability benefits if you live in another country (people with disabilities section)

Under certain circumstances, Carer's Allowance may be paid to people who leave Northern Ireland to live elsewhere in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

Who cannot get Carer's Allowance

Education

You can't get Carer's Allowance if:

  • you are on a course of full-time education
  • you are on holiday from a course of full-time education

Full-time education means a course which is described as full-time by the educational establishment providing it. If the educational establishment describes the course as part-time, but attendance is required for 21 hours or more each week, it will be treated as full-time.

Work and earnings

You can't get Carer's Allowance if you earn more than £100 a week after money has been taken off to allow for your expenses.

Expenses that are allowed are for things like:

  • some National Insurance (NI) contributions
  • Income Tax
  • half of any money you pay towards personal or occupational pension schemes
  • other expenses you have to pay because they are a necessary part of your job

After allowing for these things, you are allowed up to half the rest of the money you earn to help meet the cost of paying someone else (but not a close relative) to look after a child or children, or the person you look after, while you are at work.

Residing or remaining in Northern Ireland

You can't get Carer's Allowance if your right to reside or remain in Northern Ireland is subject to limitation or restriction by the Home Office.