Carer's Allowance is the main welfare benefit to help carers. You may still be able to claim it, even if you don't think of yourself as a carer.
How much could I get?
Carer's Allowance is worth £67.60 per week (for April 2021-22) and is usually paid every four weeks.
You'll also get National Insurance credits each week towards your pension if you're under pension age.
Am I eligible for Carer's Allowance?
You could be eligible if you:
- spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a disabled person (you don't have to live with them or be related to them)
- care for someone who receives the higher-rate or middle-rate care component of Disability Living Allowance, either rate of Personal Independence Payment daily living component, or any rate of Attendance Allowance
- do not earn more than £128 a week (after deductions)
- are not in full-time education
You don't have to be related to or live with the person you care for to claim Carer's Allowance. It's extra money each week for you to use as you want or need to.
If you think you won't be eligible to claim Carer’s Allowance because you have some savings, don't worry. Your savings and your National Insurance record won’t make a difference to your claim.
If you’re claiming Universal Credit, you may be able to get an extra amount because of your caring role without actually applying for Carer's Allowance. This is known as a carer element.
How do I claim Carer's Allowance?
- Call the Carer's Allowance Unit on 0800 731 0297 (textphone: 0800 731 0317).
- Visit GOV.UK to download a claim form or claim online.
After you submit your claim, you'll receive a decision in writing that will tell you if you have been awarded Carer's Allowance and from what date.
If your claim is turned down, read our information on challenging a benefits decision.
Need help with your claim?
We're here to help. Call Age UK Advice Line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. You can also get face-to-face support at local Age UKs.
More Carer's Allowance questions
What if my circumstances change?
If your circumstances change, for example you take a break from caring, stop being a carer altogether or the person you care for goes into hospital, make sure you let the Carer’s Allowance Unit know.
If you don't inform them of a change in circumstances and you're overpaid as a result, you may have to pay the money back. DWP might also impose a civil penalty if you fail to notify them of a change of circumstances.
What happens if the person I care for goes into hospital or moves into a care home?
If the person you care for goes into hospital and their stay is arranged by the NHS, payment of their qualifying benefit will stop after four weeks (12 weeks in the case of a disabled child under 16). As your Carer's Allowance entitlement depends on the person receiving a qualifying benefit, this will also stop at the same time.
Their benefits and your Carer's Allowance entitlement will also stop after 28 days if the person enters a care home and their fees are met in full by NHS continuing healthcare funding or in full or part by the local authority, or in Scotland if they receive free personal and nursing care payments.
If the person you care for is terminally ill and DWP know this, their qualifying benefit may continue if they go into a non-NHS hospice, therefore your entitlement will remain payable as long as you still provide care for 35 hours a week.
If the person you care for has regular periods of respite care, it may be possible to plan these periods so their qualifying benefit and your entitlement will not be affected. Seek advice if this applies.
Should I also get National Insurance credits?
If you're entitled to Carer's Allowance and have not yet reached State Pension age, National Insurance contributions are credited automatically to increase your future entitlement to the State Pension, unless you have retained the right to pay married woman’s reduced-rate contributions.
If you are under State Pension age and you become sick, you may qualify for ‘new style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)’ based on National Insurance credits from when you received Carer's Allowance.
An exception applies to carers, provided you have claimed Carer's Allowance for just one week in the last complete tax year before the year in which you claim ESA. This type of ESA is not means tested.
We're here to help
We offer support through our free advice line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 125 local Age UKs.