Carers Allowance

Carers allowance (previously Invalid Carers Allowance) is a benefit paid to people who provide regular and substantial care for a severely disabled person.

It is a weekly benefit payable from a Sunday through to the following Saturday. C.A is taxable but not means-tested, which means the claimant's savings do not affect the amount of benefit payable. Currently the rate of payment is £48.65 per week.

How do I qualify?

Carers Allowance may be paid to people who meet the following criteria:

  • Claimants must be spending at least 35 hours a week caring for a person who receives the higher or middle rates of the DLA care component, Attendance Allowance or Constant Attendance Allowance.
  • Claimants may be employed but not earning more than the earnings limit after deductions. (Currently £87.00 per week)
  • Claimants must not be in full time education.
  • Claimants must be between 16 and 65 years of age.
  • Claimants must satisfy the residence and presence conditions.
  • Only one award of C.A is payable, even if the claimant cares for more than one person.

If I claim Carers Allowance will it affect the benefits paid to the person I look after?

Yes, if the person you look after lives alone it may affect their entitlement to Income Support, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit as they will lose their severe disability premium. However it will not affect a married couple where one of them is disabled as they do not qualify for the severe disability premium.

Claiming Carers Allowance will entitle the claimant to the carers premium for Income Support, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.

The Carers Allowance rules allow breaks of care of up to 12 weeks within a 26 week period without affecting payment of benefit. Four weeks can be for holidays or respite care and the further eight weeks allow either the carer or the disabled person to be treated as an in-patient in hospital.

However, in practice, if the disabled person goes into hospital their DLA/AA may stop before this period and in which case the Carers Allowance will also stop.

Carers Allowance is claimed on form DS700.

It is important for people to claim as soon as possible, where applicable claims should be made at the same time as the claim for Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance.