Financial help for carers
Carers may face financial costs when they are caring for someone with cancer, but there is help available.
Carer’s Allowance (NMT/NC)
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Carer’s Allowance is a weekly benefit that helps people who look after someone with substantial care needs. Carer’s Allowance is £61.35 a week.
You may be eligible if you’re caring for someone who’s receiving one of the following benefits:
Do I qualify?
You need to be aged 16 or over and be caring for someone for at least 35 hours a week.
You don’t need to be related to or living with the person you care for. You can be working, but there’s a weekly earnings limit of £102 a week (after certain deductions). You can’t claim Carer’s Allowance if you’re studying for 21 hours a week or more.
Students and carers who don’t qualify for Carer’s Allowance may be able to protect their State Pension entitlement by applying for Carer’s Credit (see below for more information).
If you get Carer’s Allowance, you may also be able to get the carer premium. This is an extra payment that can be added to Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance and income-related Employment and Support Allowance. There is also an extra amount for caring that can be included in Pension Credit.
A carer payment may also be included in a claim for Universal Credit. To claim any of these extra payments for carers, contact the relevant department to tell them you are getting Carer’s Allowance. The payment should then be added to any benefit you are getting.
Claiming Carer’s Allowance
Carer’s Allowance overlaps with certain benefits, including:
You can’t be paid Carer’s Allowance if you receive the same amount or more from these overlapping benefits. However, it may still be worth applying for Carer’s Allowance, as this may help you claim a means-tested benefit such as Pension Credit. You may also receive credits that count towards national insurance. This is important, as you need enough national insurance contributions to be able to receive a state pension.
Claiming Carer’s Allowance can affect the benefits claimed by the person you care for. It’s a good idea to speak to a welfare rights adviser. They can advise you on the best course of action for you and the person you care for.
How to claim
Call the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0845 608 4321 or visit gov.uk/carers-allowance
Carers may be entitled to other financial help. For more information, speak to a welfare rights adviser by calling us free on 0808 808 00 00.
In order to receive State Pension when you retire, you must have paid national insurance for a minimum number of years through working. However, if you are caring for someone with cancer, you may not be working. To make up for this gap in your national insurance record, you may be able to get Carer’s Credit.
This is a national insurance credit for carers of working age. It helps you build up qualifiying years for the basic State Pension and additional State Pension.
If you get Carer’s Credit, you do not receive any actual money, but it protects your entitlement to State Pension later in life.
To qualify for Carer’s Credit, you must care for one or more disabled people for 20 hours or more a week. Normally, each person you care for must be getting one of these disability benefits:
Constant Attendance Allowance at any rate – this is a benefit for people in need of constant care or attention, who already receive Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit or a War Disablement Pension.
If the person you’re caring for doesn’t receive a qualifying benefit, Carer’s Credit may still be awarded if you fill in the 'care certificate’ part of the application form. This will need to be signed by a health or social care professional.
Is it right for you?
You don’t need to make a separate application for Carer’s Credit if you’re already receiving benefits such as Carer’s Allowance, Income Support as a carer, or Child Benefit for a child under 12.
If you receive these benefits, you don’t need to collect credits to qualify for the State Pension. Your entitlement to State Pension is already protected during this time.
You may benefit from claiming Carer’s Credit if you:
care for someone for more than 20 hours but fewer than 35 hours a week
help care for an ill or disabled person where someone else is claiming Carer’s Allowance for looking after them
look after several people but don’t care for any one person for 35 hours or more a week
combine caring responsibilities with paid work and don’t earn enough to pay national insurance contributions for the whole year
care for someone and are self-employed
care for someone and are a full-time student.
Carers claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance may benefit from extra national insurance contributions for their State Pension if they apply for Carer’s Credit.
Help with finding paid work
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If you want to combine caring with paid work or would like help finding work when you stop being a carer, your local Jobcentre Plus can help. You may be able to get help with care costs if you’re attending interviews or training. Find out more at gov.uk/moving-from-benefits-to-work/help-for-parents-and-carers
Contact the Disability and Carers Service or call the Northern Ireland Benefit Enquiry Line. You can also download a claim form at nidirect.gov.uk.
You may be entitled to other financial help, such as Income Support, Pension Credit, disability benefits or help with health costs.
Welfare reform in Northern Ireland - Summer 2014 update
The Northern Ireland Welfare Reform Bill is still under consideration. The latest news on the reforms can be found on our welfare reform page and also at nidirect.gov.uk.
Macmillan Cancer Support, in partnership with Citizens Advice, provides a dedicated Welfare Rights Service to people affected by cancer in Northern Ireland. For information and support, or to arrange an appointment, please call 0300 1 233 233. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am-12.30pm and 1pm-4pm.
You can also call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00.
For benefits information and support in Northern Ireland please visit nidirect.gov.uk or call 0800 232 1271.
You can also contact the Northern Ireland Benefit Enquiry Line on 0800 220 674, or textphone 028 9031 1092 if you are deaf or hard of hearing.