Carer’s Allowance is a benefit for people who are giving regular and substantial care to disabled people. Carer’s Allowance is a taxable benefit and forms part of your taxable income.
Check if you can get Carer’s Allowance
You can usually get Carer’s Allowance if all of the following apply:
- you're aged 16 or over
- you're not in full time education
- you spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a disabled person
- you don't earn more than £139 a week from employment or self-employment – after deductions such as income tax, National Insurance and half of your pension contributions
The person you're caring for must get one of the following benefits, called 'qualifying benefits':
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- the care component of Disability Living Allowance at the middle or highest rate
- the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (either rate)
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
You usually have to be in Great Britain when you claim. There are some exceptions, for example, for members and family members of the Armed Forces.
You might be able to get Carer's Allowance if you and the person you are caring for move to the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein, or if you’re already living in one of these countries. You can find out more about claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad on GOV.UK.
If you've lived outside of the UK
You must have lived in Great Britain for 2 out of the last 3 years - this is known as the ‘past presence’ test. Great Britain is England, Wales and Scotland. It doesn’t include Northern Ireland.
Your time spent in Great Britain doesn't need to have been in one go. For example, you could have lived in England for 1 year, the USA for 1 year and Wales for 1 year.
If you haven’t been in the UK for long enough, check if there’s another way to pass the past presence test or if you can get Carer’s Allowance without passing the test.
If you get a pension or benefit from the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein
Your eligibility for Carer’s Allowance could be affected. The rules in this area are complicated and it’s best to get advice before you apply. You can get help from your nearest Citizens Advice.
If you’re not a UK citizen
You can only get Carer’s Allowance if your immigration status lets you claim public funds.
You can claim public funds if you have any of the following:
- British or Irish citizenship
- pre-settled or settled status from the EU Settlement Scheme
- indefinite leave - unless you came to the UK on an adult dependent relative visa
- refugee status or humanitarian protection
- right of abode
If you have any other immigration status, check if your immigration status lets you claim public funds.
If the person you’re caring for gets a disability benefit from the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein
You might be able to get Carer’s Allowance. You’ll need to show evidence of the benefit the person you are caring for gets from another country. Contact your nearest Citizens Advice before you apply.
If you're not eligible for Carer's Allowance
If you care for a person or people for at least 20 hours a week, you might be able to get Carer's Credits. These are credits that fill in gaps in your National Insurance record - this decides whether you can get:
- State Pension
- contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
Find out more about Carer's Credits on GOV.UK.
How much Carer's Allowance you can get
Carer’s Allowance is paid at a standard rate for the person making the claim.
You can check the current rate of Carer's Allowance on GOV.UK.
If you get other benefits
You’ll get no Carer’s Allowance or less if you get some other benefits including:
- state retirement pension
- contributory ESA
- contribution-based JSA
- Maternity Allowance
If your Carer's Allowance is either the same as or less than the other benefit, you will get the other benefit rather than Carer's Allowance.
If the other benefit is less than your Carer's Allowance, you will get the other benefit and the balance of your Carer's Allowance on top.
The rules about this are complicated - you can get help from your nearest Citizens Advice to check you’re getting what you should.
If you get any benefits based on your income
These are known as ‘means tested benefits’. Carer’s Allowance counts as income when these benefits are worked out.
You get an extra amount of Universal Credit called a ‘carer element’ if you’re eligible for Carer’s Allowance – even if you don’t apply for Carer’s Allowance.
You can get an extra amount called a ‘Carers’ Premium’ or ‘Carers’ Addition’ added to any of the following benefits if you get Carer’s Allowance:
- Pension Credit
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax Support
Claiming Carer's Allowance
If the person you’re caring for gets a benefit with a Severe Disability Premium or Addition
The person you’re caring for can’t get the Premium or Addition while you’re getting Carer’s Allowance. They should contact the DWP or their local council to let them know you’re getting Carer’s Allowance.
The person you’re caring for might get a Severe Disability Premium or Addition as part of:
- income-based JSA
- income-related ESA
- Income Support
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax Support
- Pension Credit
Always check with the person you’re caring for before you apply for Carer's Allowance.
To make a claim for Carer's Allowance you can:
- use the online Claim Carer's Allowance service on GOV.UK
- download and print a Carer's Allowance claim form, fill it in and send it by post
You can't make a claim by phone.
If you need help making your claim, contact the Carer's Allowance Unit.
Carer's Allowance Unit
Telephone: 0800 731 0297
Textphone: 0800 731 0317
Relay UK - if you can't hear or speak on the phone, you can type what you want to say: 18001 then 0800 731 0297
You can use Relay UK with an app or a textphone. There’s no extra charge to use it. Find out how to use Relay UK on the Relay UK website.
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Mail Handling Site A
Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.
You can find out more about Carer's Allowance on GOV.UK.
You will have to provide your national insurance number and evidence to show it belongs to you. If you don't know your national insurance number, but you think you have one, you should provide evidence to help the office to find it. If you do not have a national insurance number, you will have to apply for one.
Check if you can get your Carer’s Allowance backdated
Your claim can be backdated for up to 3 months if you were eligible. You don’t have to give a reason why you’re claiming late.
If the person you’re caring for has recently been awarded a qualifying benefit, try to claim Carer’s Allowance within 3 months of the award. This means your Carer’s Allowance can be backdated to when they started their claim for the qualifying benefit - even if that was more than 3 months ago.
Ask for your Carer’s Allowance to be backdated when you apply – you should ask for this on the claim form where it asks ‘When do you want your Carer’s Allowance to start’?
Change of circumstances
Tell the DWP as soon as you know about a change that might affect your Carer's Allowance. For example, tell them if:
you stop caring for the disabled person - this includes if a child you were caring for stops living with you
you start earning more money
You won't save money by reporting it later. If you tell the DWP late you could get paid too much and have to pay your benefits back to the DWP. This is called an overpayment - check how the DWP deals with overpayments.
If the person you’re caring for goes into a care home or hospital
Disability benefits will usually stop after someone has been in a care home or hospital for 28 days. If they go into a care home or hospital more than once in 28 days, the time from each visit will be added together.
If disability benefits stop for the person you’re caring for, you can’t keep getting Carer’s Allowance - you should contact the DWP to let them know that the person’s disability benefits have stopped.
Civil penalties for causing an overpayment
In some cases, you may have to pay a civil penalty if you do something careless which causes an overpayment. This can happen if, for example, you give wrong information or you keep quiet about something, and as a result you get more Carer's Allowance than you're supposed to be getting. You can only be asked to pay this penalty if you haven't committed fraud. If you have committed fraud, different rules apply. You can appeal against a decision to impose a civil penalty.
It could be benefit fraud if your Carer’s Allowance is affected because you:
- give the DWP information you know is misleading or wrong
- don't tell the DWP when your circumstances change – for example if you stop caring for the disabled person for 35 hours each week
Your circumstances can be checked at any time while you are claiming and fraud officers can also get information about you from other government agencies and from your employer, bank or utility companies. Benefit fraud is a criminal offence and you can be prosecuted or asked to pay a penalty. If you are being investigated for benefit fraud, your benefit will be suspended. If you committed benefit fraud, your benefit can be reduced or stopped in the future.
For more information on what to do if you are asked to attend an interview under caution, see Problems with benefits and tax credits.
How Carer’s Allowance is paid
Carer's Allowance is usually paid directly into a bank, building society or Post Office card account. If you cannot open or manage an account, the DWP will pay you using the Payment Exception Service – find out how the Payment Exception Service works on GOV.UK.
You’ll keep getting Carer’s Allowance for as long as you’re still eligible.
Problems with Carer’s Allowance
If you are refused Carer’s Allowance or you think you are getting the wrong amount of benefit, you can challenge the decision. You should do this within one month of the decision.
If you are unhappy with the service you have received from the local benefits office or the DWP you can complain. This might be because of errors, delays, rudeness or difficulty getting in touch. You can do this whether or not you also want to challenge a decision.
For more information about challenging benefit decisions and about complaining, see Problems with benefits and tax credits.
Other help for carers
You can call the Carers UK helpline on 0800 808 7777 for confidential information and advice. The helpline is open from 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday. The helpline is closed on bank holidays.