Guide to financial support for carers
There is a range of benefits, tax credits and other financial support that you may be able to receive as a carer. This is only a general guide.
Throughout the 'caring for someone' section of nidirect, the word 'carer' means someone who looks after a friend, relative or neighbour who needs support because of their illness, age or disability.
Carer's Allowance is a benefit to help people who look after someone who has a disability. You don't have to be related to or live with the person you care for.
Direct payments for carers
If you've been assessed by your local trust as needing support services to help you in your caring role, you may want to choose direct payments. They allow you to buy in and arrange help yourself instead of receiving it directly from social services.
Caring and your pension
You may be concerned about protecting your pension if you're not working because you're caring for someone. For detailed information about State Pension, State Second Pension, Pension Credit and more, see 'caring and your pension'.
A new Carer's Credit was introduced on 6 April 2010. It is a National Insurance credit which will enable carers to build up qualifying years for the basic State Pension and additional State Pension.
If you can't be available for full-time work and don't have enough money to live on, you may be able to get Income Support benefit. Whether you qualify or not and how much you get depends on your circumstances.
Community Care Grants
If you need financial help to live independently in the community or to ease exceptional pressure on you and your family you may be able to get a Community Care Grant. You don't have to pay it back.
Caring for a child with disabilities
Child Tax Credit
Child Tax Credit is a means-tested allowance for parents and carers of children or young people who are still in full-time education. You may get an extra amount if you're caring for a child with disabilities.
Sure Start Maternity Grant
If you're on a low income, the Sure Start Maternity Grant is a one-off payment to help towards costs of a new baby. The grant comes from the Social Fund and you don't have to repay it.
Child Maintenance (CM) is money paid by a non-resident parent to the parent with care to help towards the child's everyday living costs.
The Disabled Child Premium
This applies if you have a dependant who is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) Higher Rate Care Component. You will not qualify if the dependant child has capital of more than £3,000.
The Enhanced Disability Premium (child rate)
If the dependant gets the highest rate care component of DLA, you may get the enhanced Disabled Child Premium. You do not get either premium if the dependent child has capital of more than £3,000.
Home and housing
If you're on a low income and need financial help to pay all or part of your rent or rates, you may be able to get Housing Benefit/Rate Relief.
Vehicles and transport
The Motability Scheme
The Motability Scheme helps people with disabilities buy or lease a car at an affordable price. If you care for a person with disabilities who doesn't drive, they can still apply to buy or lease a car through the Motability Scheme with you as their driver. You can also apply for a car on behalf of a child aged three or over who is entitled to the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance.
Blue Badge parking scheme
The Blue Badge parking scheme provides a range of parking benefits for people with disabilities. If you're caring for a person with disabilities who does not drive, they can nominate you as their driver so that you can use their Blue Badge when driving them around.
Out and about - accompanying a person with disabilities
Visiting places of interest
Many places of interest, including museums, sports venues, National Trust properties and Environmental Heritage sites, offer discounted or free admission to a companion accompanying a person with disabilities.
Financial support for the person you care for
Find out about the financial support available to people with disabilities, including Disability Living Allowance and direct payments, in the 'people with disabilities' section of NIDirect.