In the UK, approximately 22% of the population, accounting for 14.6 million individuals, lives with some form of disability. These individuals have access to various disability benefits for needed financial support. But what about those dedicated to caring for them? Carers, often overlooked, play a crucial role in supporting the disabled. Recognizing their efforts, the UK’s Carer’s Allowance offers vital financial assistance to these unsung heroes. If you’re a carer wondering whether you qualify for this allowance, this article is tailored specifically for you. Join us as we delve into understanding how you can claim what you rightfully deserve.
- What Is Carer’s Allowance?
- Who Can Apply for Carer’s Allowance?
- Which Type of Care Qualifies for Carer’s Allowance?
- How Are Other Benefits Affected?
- How To Claim Carer’s Allowance
- A Weekly Allowance that Looks After the Carers
What Is Carer’s Allowance?
Carer’s Allowance is aimed at those who look after someone with an illness or disability for a significant portion of the day. It’s a £69.70 payment paid weekly or monthly to the recipient. The payment is not taxable, and anyone eligible automatically gains National Insurance (NI) credits. It is a way to ensure you are up to date with National Insurance (NI) payments when you can’t have other work due to taking care of someone else.
Who Can Apply for Carer’s Allowance?
To be entitled, there are several rules in place. The carer and the person they are looking after must meet some conditions. Some things to take note of are:
- There is no need to live in the same home or be a family member.
- The benefit is a fixed sum; there is no additional payment for caring for numerous people.
- If more than one person looks after the individual, only a single person can obtain the Carer’s Allowance.
The Requirements for the Carer
The person who acts as a carer and wants to claim the Carer’s Allowance must:
- Be aged at least 16
- Look after the infirm for at least 35 hours per week
- Have Lived in Scotland, Wales, or England for a minimum of 2 of the previous 3 years (not applicable for people with humanitarian protection or refugee status). They can live overseas by serving in the military forces.
- Not be in education full-time. This means they can’t study for 21 hours or more.
- Hold an immigration status that allows them to claim benefits, such as income support.
- Earn less than £132 per week after National Insurance, tax, and expense deductions (this applies to self-employment and employment). Expenses can include:
- 50% of a person’s pension contribution
- Travel costs between different work sites that are not covered by the employer
- Specialist equipment for work (such as tools not covered by the employer)
- Self-employment costs, like buying a computer or hiring office space
The Requirements for the Recipient
The person with the ailment must be a benefit recipient. This means they must receive one of the following benefits:
- Allowance for attendance
- Allowance for constant attendance at the basic rate with War Disablement Pension payments
- Allowance for constant attendance at the normal maximum rate or higher with Disablement Benefit for Industrial Injuries
- Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
- Disability payment for adults – daily living component at the standard or higher rate
- Disability Payment for a child at the middle/highest rate
- Living allowance for disability at the middle/highest care rate
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
What If You Share Caring Responsibilities with Others?
If a number of people carry out caretaking, further stipulations are in place. Only a single person can claim Carer’s Allowance. You are ineligible for Carer’s Allowance if another person:
- Is already claiming the benefit
- Obtains a caring allowance as part of their Universal Credit payments
It is possible to swap payments such that you receive the Carer’s Allowance in place of someone else.
Which Type of Care Qualifies for Carer’s Allowance?
The care you provide can include all or any of the following:
- Helping someone with cooking and washing
- Helping out with household assignments, such as shopping and managing their bills
- Taking them to hospital and doctor appointments
How Are Other Benefits Affected?
Other benefits received by the caregiver and the person receiving the care may be affected. There are several calculators available to determine how your payments will change. Find them here.
The Person Receiving the Care
With Care Allowance, the care receiver will no longer obtain:
- Severe Disability premium payments
- Additional payments received from pension credit due to severe disability
The discount they receive on their council tax bills may also end.
The Person Providing the Care
Future Universal Credit payments will subtract the payment received for Carer’s Allowance. However, if the person being cared for is receiving a benefit related to disability, an additional payment will be made through Universal Credit.
The pension credit amount will increase for people receiving pension credit. Some people delay receiving their pension to increase the amounts when they claim at a later date. During the period the Carer’s Allowance benefit is collected, people cannot build up their state pension.
How To Claim Carer’s Allowance
Application for the Carer’s Allowance should be done online through this link. Alternatively, for those who prefer to use the mail, you can print the application form here, complete it, and send it by post to the address listed on the form.
Before applying, have the following details at hand:
- National Insurance Number (NIN),
- Building society/Bank details (not required if you are receiving a State pension)
- If working, employment information, including current payslip
- P45 if you recently ended working
- For those studying, your course information
- Expense details
You will also need some details regarding the person receiving the care. These are:
- Date of birth
- National Insurance Number (NIN) if aged 16 or older
- Reference details for Disability Living Allowance if under 16
It is possible to backdate the application by a maximum of 3 months.
A Weekly Allowance that Looks After the Carers
Carer’s allowance is one of the many benefits available in the UK. This payment rewards people making an effort to look after those who need care. We hope this article has given you a greater understanding of the benefits you can claim when you are a carer.