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Benefits for carers

Information about benefit entitlement if you are caring for someone who receives:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • the middle or higher rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance
  • the 'daily living' element of Personal Independence Payment
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Constant Attendance Allowance as part of the Industrial Injuries or War Pensions schemes

For more detailed information or for more help to make a claim please contact us.

Carer's Allowance

Carer's Allowance is worth £69.70 per week and can increase your entitlement to other benefits. Some older claims may include extra payments for family members, but these have been abolished for new claims.

To qualify you must:

  • be over 16 years old
  • be caring for someone who receives Attendance Allowance, the middle or higher rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance, the 'daily living' element of the new Personal Independence Payment Armed Forces Independence Payment, or Constant Attendance Allowance as part of the Industrial Injuries or War Pensions schemes
  • spend at least 35 hours a week looking after the person (this might be made up of a variety of activities such as personal care, shopping, talking to them, keeping an eye on them in case of accidents, helping them with tasks around the home) - it does not have to be 35 hours of hands-on personal help
  • earn less than £132 net per week (after deducting income tax, national insurance, 50% of any personal or occupational pension contributions and certain care costs) – however, it's possible to claim additional help as a carer under Universal Credit even if you earn more than this sum
  • not be in full-time education (21 hours or more a week of supervised study) - this normally includes any time spent in directed study or set work as a necessary part of the course
  • be present and ordinarily resident in the UK

Even if you care for more than one person, you can only get one payment of Carer's Allowance.

Claiming and being paid Carer's Allowance or the carer element of Universal Credit may affect the benefits of the person for whom you care. Seek advice.

You claim on a form DS700 - or a DS700(SP) if you get a State Retirement Pension.

You can get a claim form from:

Backdating your claim

You should make your claim as soon as possible and you can have it backdated for up to 3 months during any period that you qualified for it.

It can be backdated for longer if the person you care for has only recently received the decision awarding Attendance Allowance, or Personal Independence Payment or Disability Living Allowance, and the award starts more than 3 months ago. In this case it can go back to the date their claim begins as long as you claim within 3 months of the date of their benefit decision.

National Insurance contributions if you are of working age

If you're entitled to Carer's Allowance you will be credited with National Insurance contributions towards your State Retirement Pension and other benefits.

By claiming Carer's Allowance you may be able to claim, or increase, the amounts of the following benefits:

The 'carer premium' in all benefits apart from Universal Credit is £37.70 a week. In UC, the 'carer element' is paid at a monthly rate of £163.73

If you're of working age, you'll need to claim Universal Credit instead of these benefits if you make a new claim - seek advice. UC does not replace Council Tax reduction.

If you receive Jobseeker's Allowance and you become a carer, contact our helpline for advice. You may be able to reduce your job-search on JSA or change your claim to another benefit.

If you receive Universal Credit and you become a carer you should be able to reduce the work-related 'conditionality' in your UC claims you should not be expected to seek work.

'Overlapping benefits' and claiming CA

Various benefits 'overlap' with Carer's Allowance. If receive one of these and you then claim Carer's Allowance, you'll not receive more than the amount of the higher benefit.

However, making a claim for CA can create an 'underlying entitlement' to Carer's Allowance. This means that you may get the Carer Premium / Carer Element in other means-tested benefits even though you don't get paid Carer's Allowance.

Benefits that overlap with Carer's Allowance are:

  • State Retirement Pension
  • Contributory Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit, Contributory Employment and Support Allowance
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Widow's Pension or Bereavement Allowance
  • Widowed Mother's or Widowed Parent's Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance

Health benefits

You may be able to get help towards the cost of prescriptions, dental or optical costs and fares to hospital if you get certain benefits - for example, Income Support and Pension Credit, or you are on a low income. Universal Credit has its own rules.

Council Tax exemption and discounts

If you're caring for someone you may be able to claim a 25% discount on your council tax bill. It doesn't depend on your income or your savings.

  • you must be caring for someone who lives in your home
  • the person you care for must get the higher rate of Attendance Allowance or the middle or higher rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance
  • you must be caring for them for at least 35 hours a week
  • the person you care for cannot be your partner
  • you must not be the parent of the person you care for if they are under 18

For this purpose, it doesn't matter whether you claim Carer's Allowance or not.

There may be other reductions in your council tax bill available depending on your circumstances. For example:

  • there may be a reduction if a property is modified or arranged for the needs of someone who is 'substantially and permanently disabled'
  • your property may be exempt if you have had to leave it empty while you go to provide personal care for someone
  • an exemption may apply to a self-contained part of a property occupied by a dependent relative

You may be able to backdate exemptions and reduction for a considerable time if you could have claimed previously.

Breaks from caring

You remain entitled to Carer's Allowance and underlying entitlement during short breaks from caring - up to 4 weeks in any 6 months and longer if either you or the person you care for is in hospital.

Decisions and appeals

If you make a claim for benefit and the decision isn't the one you were expecting you should seek advice about whether you can challenge that decision. You may be able to persuade them to change the decision or you may have to appeal to an independent tribunal.

The Welfare Rights Service will be able to advise you of your rights and we may be able to help you challenge the decision, including representing you in an appeal. Please contact us for further advice.

You can keep up-to-date with benefit changes in Derbyshire.