Carer's Allowance

If you’re aged 16 or over and spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone who is ill or has a disability, you may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance.

Eligibility

To get Carer’s Allowance there are certain criteria you and the person you care for must meet.

The person you care for

The person you care for must get one of the following benefits:

  • Personal Independence Payment - daily living component
  • Disability Living Allowance - the middle or highest rate for personal care
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance  - at no less than the full day rate
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment

Your eligibility

You must earn no more than £123 a week after the following expenses have been taken off:

  • some of your National Insurance contributions
  • Income Tax
  • half of any money you pay towards personal or occupational pension schemes
  • other expenses you must pay as part of your job, for example, equipment

You are allowed up to half of the rest of your earnings to pay someone, except a close relative, to look after children or the person you care for, while you are at work.

You must also:

  • be aged over 16
  • spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone who is ill or has a disability
  • have lived in Northern Ireland for at least two of the last three years before your claim
  • live permanently in Northern Ireland, or live abroad as a member of the armed forces or with someone in the armed forces
  • be living (or treated as living) in Northern Ireland when you claim
  • not be under immigration control
  • not be in full time education (21 hours or more a week)

You might still be eligible if you’re moving to or already live in another EEA country or Switzerland.

If someone else also cares for the same person, only one of you can get Carer's Allowance.

If you care for more than one person, you cannot add together the hours you do to make 35 hours.

More than one person in the same household can claim Carer's Allowance. For example, a couple caring for each other can make separate claims.

How much you’ll get

The weekly rate is £66.15 but you’ll get less if you get certain benefits or State Pension.

Your savings don't affect how much you get.

How you’re paid

Carer's Allowance is paid into your bank or building society account. For information on other ways you can be paid, contact the Disability and Carers Service.

You can choose to be paid weekly in advance or every four weeks.

Effect on other benefits

Carer's Allowance can affect other benefits that you, or the person you care for, receive.

Your benefits

Carer's Allowance is taken into account when calculating certain benefits and Pension Credit.

If you get State Pension or certain benefits paid at a rate that is the same or more than Carer's Allowance, you may not receive payment of Carer's Allowance but may have 'underlying entitlement' to it.

If you receive Carer's Allowance or have an underlying entitlement to it, you will qualify for the ‘carer premium’ in any of the following benefits you get:

  • Income Support
  • Employment and Support Allowance (income related)
  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Rate Relief

Benefits of the person you care for

When you receive Carer's Allowance, the person you care for may stop getting:

  • the severe disability premium in their income-related benefit
  • the extra amount for severe disability in their Pension Credit

If you have an underlying entitlement to Carer's Allowance and are not actually paid it, this will not affect the benefits of the person you care for.

How to claim

To claim Carer’s Allowance, apply online.

If you can’t apply online, you can download an application form below or ask the Disability and Carers Service or your local Jobs and Benefit office to send you one. If you are:

Backdating a claim

Most claims can be backdated three months. You may be able to backdate it further if the person you care for was awarded their qualifying benefit in the last three months.

If you think the decision is wrong

If you disagree with a decision about your claim, you must first ask the Disability and Carers Service to formally reconsider it. This is known as mandatory reconsideration.

For more information, see appeal a benefits decision.

Claiming other benefits

If you qualify for Carer's Allowance, you may also be entitled to:

SMS messages

When claiming Carer's Allowance you may receive text messages (SMS) from the Department for Communities (DfC). They will always be clearly marked as DfC and will never ask you to give, or click a link to give, personal information or financial details by message or email.

If you’re concerned or unsure about any text messages (SMS) you receive from about Carer's Allowance you should contact Disability and Carers Service directly. If you suspect you have received a fraudulent message as a scam, please contact Disability and Carers Service immediately.

  • Further information is available at: scamwiseni

Change in circumstances

You must report any change in your circumstances or those of the person you care for. You can do this online or by contacting the Disability and Carers Service.

Information on changes you need to report is at the following page:

To report the death of the person you’re caring for, contact the Bereavement Service instead. 

Temporary breaks in caring

You can still get Carer's Allowance if you temporarily stop providing care for someone. For example, you may get Carer’s Allowance for up to:

  • 12 weeks if either of you go into hospital
  • four weeks if either of you go on holiday
  • four weeks if the person you care for has a stay in a care home

Help and advice

For more information or advice about Carer’s Allowance, contact the Disability and Carers Service.

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