Carer’s Allowance is the main benefit for carers and pays £67.25 a week.
If you look after someone with a lot of care needs, you could be entitled to Carer’s Allowance. If you are receiving Universal Credit, you might be entitled to the carer element, even if you do not qualify for Carer’s Allowance.
If you live in Scotland, there is an extra payment called the Carer's Allowance Supplement. This is available for people who get Carer’s Allowance on a particular date and is paid twice a year. Find out more at mygov.scot
If you are entitled to Carer’s Allowance, or the carer element of Universal Credit, you will not be affected by the benefit cap.
You might 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 already be getting certain benefits – usually one of the following:
- the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment at either rate
- the care component of Disability Living Allowance at the middle or higher rate
- Attendance Allowance.
We have more information about disability-related benefits.
It is also important to know that:
- 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 of £128 a week (after certain deductions).
- If you get the State Pension, you cannot claim Carer’s Allowance at the same time. You are paid whichever one gives the highest amount. This means you cannot get Carer’s Allowance if your State Pension is more than £67.25 a week.
- You cannot claim Carer’s Allowance if you are studying for 21 hours a week or more.
- If you receive Carer’s Allowance, 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. Check with the person you are caring for before you apply.
- You can choose to be paid weekly in advance or every 4 weeks.
- You can backdate your claim by up to 3 months.
If there is more than one carer looking after the person you care for, the main carer should apply. Only one 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:
Call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00.
You can also talk to other carers and share experiences on our Online Community.
Carer’s Allowance overlaps with certain other benefits, including:
- State Pension
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- contribution-based, or new style, Employment and Support Allowance
- Incapacity Benefit
- bereavement benefits – but not Bereavement Support Payment
- contribution-based, or new style, Jobseeker’s Allowance.
The rule for overlapping benefits is that you cannot be paid 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 it. This is because if you are entitled to the benefit, but cannot claim 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 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 claimed by the person you care for. You can speak to a welfare rights adviser about this. They can advise you about which would be the best benefit to claim for you and the person you care for.
- If you live in England, Scotland, or Wales, call the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0800 731 0297, use textphone 0800 731 0317. You can also apply online at gov.uk/carers-allowance or by post.
- If you live in Northern Ireland, call the Disability and Carers Service on 0800 587 0912, use textphone 028 9031 1092 or visit nidirect.gov.uk. You can also ask your local Social Security or Jobs and Benefits office for a claim form.
If you get Carer’s Allowance, or are entitled to it, and get certain other benefits, 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
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax Reduction.
Extra payments for being a carer can also be added to:
- Pension Credit – the extra payment is called the carer addition
- Universal Credit – the extra payment is called the carer element.
To claim any of these extra payments for carers, contact the service that pays you the benefit and tell them you are getting Carer’s Allowance. The payment should then be added to any benefit you are getting.