An introduction to Carer's Allowance

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. The weekly amount is £62.10. The allowance can affect other benefits that you or the person you care for receive.

Applying for Carer's Allowance

To apply for this allowance, you need to care for somebody who is getting one of the following benefits:

  • Personal Independence Payment (at either rate of the daily living component)
  • Disability Living Allowance at the middle or highest rate for personal care
  • Attendance Allowance
  • 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
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment

Two carers looking after one person

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

Caring for more than one person

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

Carers in the same household

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. Your savings don't affect your claim for Carer's Allowance.

Caring at weekends only

The 'caring week' runs from Sunday to Saturday.  You could be entitled to Carer's Allowance if you give at least 35 hours of care over weekends.

Eligible for Carer's Allowance

To be eligible, all of the following  apply:

  • you live permanently in Northern Ireland
  • you've lived in Northern Ireland for at least two of the last three years before your claim
  • you're Northern Ireland when you claim
  • you aren't subject to immigration control

Certain people can be treated as being in Northern Ireland. For example, if you're in the Armed Forces, or live with someone in the Armed Forces and you are based abroad, you are regarded as living in Northern Ireland.

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

People who aren't eligible for Carer's Allowance

There are some circumstances when you may not qualify for Carer's Allowance.

Education

You can't get Carer's Allowance if you are on:

  • a full-time education course
  • holiday from a full-time education course 

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 you need to attend for 21 hours or more each week, the course is treated as full-time.

Work and earnings

You can't get Carer's Allowance if you earn more than £110 a week after money has been taken off for your expenses.

Expenses that are allowed are:

  • some National Insurance (NI) 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

After allowing for these things, you are allowed up to half the rest of the money you earn to help pay someone, except a close relative, to look after a child or the person you care for, while you are at work.

Residing or remaining in Northern Ireland

You can't get Carer's Allowance if the Home Office limits or restricts your right to live or stay in Northern Ireland.

How much  you could get

Your savings don't affect your claim for Carer's Allowance. The weekly rate is £62.10 but the amount is less if you're also getting certain other benefits including State Pension.

If you receive £62.10 or more in benefits a week, you cannot get Carer's Allowance. You may have to pay tax on the amount you receive.

Effect on other benefits and entitlements

Claiming Carer's Allowance may affect other benefits, allowances, State Pension, pensions and entitlements you, or the person you care for, receive.

How Carer's Allowance is paid

Carer's Allowance is paid into your bank or building society account. You may be able to get someone else to collect your Carer's Allowance. You’ll need to ask your bank or building society about arranging this.

For more information about other ways you can be paid,  contact the Disability and Carers Service.

How to claim

You can claim Carer's Allowance online or by filling in a claim form.  

Changes in circumstances

Changes to your circumstances - and those of the person you care for - can affect your claim for Carer's Allowance, or the amount you get. 

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