Carer's Allowance

Carer’s Allowance is the main benefit for carers. Find out what financial help you may be able to get if you are caring for someone with cancer.

What is Carer's Allowance?

Carer’s Allowance is the main benefit for carers.

If you look after someone with a lot of care needs, you may be entitled to Carer’s Allowance. If you are getting Universal Credit (UC), you might be able to get the carer element, even if you do not qualify for Carer’s Allowance.

In Scotland, there is an extra payment called the Carer’s Allowance (CA) Supplement. There are 2 qualifying dates every year for the CA Supplement. To be able to claim, on these dates you must be:

  • a resident in Scotland
  • getting a payment of Carer’s Allowance.

It is paid twice a year. 

If you get Carer’s Allowance, or the carer element of Universal Credit, you are not affected by the benefit cap.

Can I claim Carer's Allowance?

You may be able to get Carer’s Allowance if:

  • you are aged 16 or over 
  • you are caring for someone for at least 35 hours a week.

The person you care for must be getting certain benefits (qualifying benefits) – usually one of the following:

We have more information about benefits for people with care or mobility needs.

It is important to know the following:

  • You do not need to be related to, or living with, the person you care for to claim Carer’s Allowance.
  • You can be working, but there is a weekly earnings limit – after certain deductions.
  • If you get State Pension, you cannot claim Carer’s Allowance at the same time. You will get the one that pays the highest amount. This means you cannot get Carer’s Allowance if your State Pension pays you more.
  • You cannot claim Carer’s Allowance if you are studying for 21 hours a week or more.
  • If you receive Carer’s Allowance, or the carer element in UC, the person you care for will stop getting a severe disability premium included in their benefits. This is an extra amount for severe disability paid with Pension Credit or reduced council tax. This is also paid with certain benefits.
  • You can choose to be paid weekly, in advance, or every 4 weeks.
  • You can usually backdate your claim by up to 3 months. But this can be longer if the person you care for has a delayed decision about their qualifying benefit. For example, this could be due to a long processing time or an appeal.
  • If there is more than 1 carer looking after the person you care for, the main carer should apply. Only 1 person can get Carer’s Allowance.
  • If you are a carer but you do not qualify for Carer’s Allowance, you may still be able to apply for Carer’s Credit.

If you have questions about being a carer, or about Carer’s Allowance, you can:

Related pages

What are overlapping benefits?

Carer’s Allowance overlaps with certain other benefits, including:

The rule for overlapping benefits is that you cannot get both benefits at the same time. Instead, you are paid the one that gives the highest amount.

Even if this rule means you cannot be paid Carer’s Allowance, it may still be worth applying for. If you are entitled to the benefit, but cannot receive it because of overlapping benefits, there may still be some advantages:

  • You could get an additional carer premium in any income-related benefit you are entitled to.
  • You may get credits that count towards National Insurance. This can protect your right to the State Pension or other benefits.
  • If the other overlapping benefit stops for any reason, you can be paid Carer’s Allowance straight away, without having to make a new claim.

If you are paid Carer’s Allowance, it can affect the benefits of the person you care for. You can speak to a welfare rights adviser about this. They can talk to you about which benefit would be best to claim for you and the person you care for.

How do I claim Carer's Allowance?

If you live in England, Scotland, or Wales, you can apply online at GOV.UK or by post. For information on how to make a claim, you can call the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0800 731 0297 or use textphone 0800 731 0317.

If you live in Northern Ireland, you can apply online at You can also call the Disability and Carers Service on 0800 587 0912, or use textphone 0800 012 1574 and ask them to send you a claim form. Or you can collect a claim form from your local Social Security or Jobs and Benefits office.

What is the Carer premium?

If you are entitled to, or get Carer’s Allowance and certain other benefits, you may also be able to get the carer premium. This extra payment can be added to:

Extra payments for being a carer can also be added to:

To claim any of these extra payments for carers, contact the service that pays you the benefit. You should tell them you are getting or are entitled to Carer’s Allowance. The payment should then be added to any benefit you are getting.

About our information

  • This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by Macmillan professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Macmillan’s Welfare Rights team.

    Our cancer information has been awarded the PIF TICK. Created by the Patient Information Forum, this quality mark shows we meet PIF’s 10 criteria for trustworthy health information.

Date reviewed

Reviewed: 01 May 2022
Next review: 01 May 2025
Trusted Information Creator - Patient Information Forum
Trusted Information Creator - Patient Information Forum

Our cancer information meets the PIF TICK quality mark.

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