Carer’s Allowance is a benefit for people who are giving regular and substantial care to disabled people in their own homes. Carer’s Allowance is a taxable benefit and forms part of your taxable income.
Check if you can get Carer’s Allowance
There are some exceptions to these conditions if you're living in another EEA country.
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.
However, 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 and you may need to get advice.
If in doubt, you should always make a claim for Carer's Allowance as this might also allow you to get extra amounts of means tested benefits such as Housing Benefit and the guarantee credit part of Pension Credit.
Always check with the person you are caring for before you make a claim for Carer's Allowance as they may lose some of the benefit they get, such as a severe disability addition, if you make a claim.
If you're not eligible for Carer's Allowance and you care for someone for more than 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. Find out more about Carer's Credits on GOV.UK.
You do not have to have paid any national insurance contributions to get carer’s allowance.
You may be able to get Carer's Allowance if you and the person you are caring for move to another EEA member state or Switzerland, 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.
How much Carer's Allowance you can get
Carer’s Allowance is paid at a standard rate for the person making the claim.
Claiming Carer's Allowance
To make a claim for Carer's Allowance you can:
If you were entitled before you make your claim, you can ask for benefit to be paid for an earlier period of up to three months. You should ask for this on your claim form. You do not have to give a reason why you are claiming late.
You will have to provide your national insurance number and evidence to show it belongs to you. If you not 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.
Your partner may have to attend an interview with a personal adviser as a condition of you getting Carer's Allowance.
Change of circumstances and fraud
You may commit a benefit fraud if you give incorrect or misleading information, or fail to report a change of circumstances which could affect your Carer’s Allowance, for example, you stop caring for the disabled person for as many hours each week. Even if you are not committing fraud, you can cause an overpayment that will have to be repaid.
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 paid as long as you continue caring for a disabled person for at least 35 hours a week and do not earn more than the earnings limit. It can continue regardless of your age although if you are getting certain other benefits, for example, the State Pension, this may affect whether you can get Carer’s Allowance as well.
If the person you are caring for goes into hospital, this may also affect your Carer’s Allowance.
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.
For more information about challenging benefit decisions and about complaining, see Problems with benefits and tax credits.