Carer’s Allowance: The Basics

Carer’s Allowance is a benefit which is non-means tested and non-contributory. This means that your income is not taken into account and you don’t need have to sufficient NI contributions to claim it.

To be eligible it, people must meet the following criteria:

– Provide care to someone for 35 hours per week.

– The person they care for must get Disability Living Allowance DLA (the middle or highest rate of the care component) or Personal Independence Payment PIP (the Daily Living component).

Only earn a maximum of £120 per week (as at April 2018): this is an absolute earnings limit; however, earnings and savings are disregarded in full and every Carer’s Allowance claimant gets the same rate of benefit.

Income support

Carers may also be able to claim Income Support which is a means-tested benefit that replaces earnings and can top up Carer’s Allowance.

Entitlement to Income Support depends on the carers’ income and savings meeting certain thresholds. Carer’s Allowance counts as income for the calculation of Income Support.

Carer premiums

Once a carer is awarded Carer’s Allowance, they will qualify for a carer premium which will increase their entitlement to other means-tested benefits such as JSA, ESA, Income Support, Housing Benefit.

An important consideration when claiming Carer’s Allowance is the financial impact it will have on the person cared for.

Disabled people often have an extra disability premium added to their benefit when they live alone without any carer: this is known as the severe disability premium.

An award of Carer’s Allowance would mean that the person cared for would stop being entitled to this severe disability premium.

Come and speak to us (0131  442 2100) if you want to discuss how claiming Carer’s Allowance could affect your benefits or those of the person you care for.

Premiums under UC

With Universal Credit, you will get a carer premium if you claim Carer’s Allowance, but there will be no more disability premiums, so the fact that you claim Carer’s Allowance won’t have any impact on the finances of the person you care for.

Case study

Chris is a lone father to his 16-year-old son, Daniel. Daniel suffers from a severe learning disability and autism.  He is concerned financially as he has reduced his working hours to care for Daniel and because Daniel’s Disability Living Allowance (DLA) has recently stopped as he turned 16.

CHAI helped Chris apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for Daniel. We helped him request and complete a PIP form and also advocated on behalf of Chris to collect medical records from varying medical specialists to support Daniel’s claim.

The PIP claim was successful, and Daniel was awarded Enhanced Daily living and Standard Mobility equating to an additional £105.10 per week.

CHAI also advised Chris that he was now eligible for Carer’s Allowance as he earned less than £116.00 per week and cared for his son over 35 hours per week.  He was happy to discover he could continue working and the Carers Allowance claim boosted his income by a further £62.70 a week.

Due to Chris’ reduced earnings, he was eligible for further help to cover his rental charge. CHAI contacted the council to update them of Chris’s change in circumstances. His Housing Benefit increased, and he was now also eligible for a Carer’s Premium.

Overall, CHAI successfully maximised Chris’ annual household income by £16,425. Chris now feels more confident about his financial situation.