What is Carer’s Allowance and who can get it?
Carer’s Allowance is a benefit for people aged 16 or over, who earn less than £128 per week and who spend 35 hours or more a week caring for a person who:
- has a severe disability
- receives the middle or higher rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance, or
- receives the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment, or
- receives the care component of Attendance Allowance.
You don’t have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for.
Is Carer's Allowance means tested?
Carer’s Allowance is not means tested, or based on any National Insurance Contributions. Savings and unearned income do not affect Carer’s Allowance, but earnings from work do.
If you are already receiving an income replacement benefit, such as a state retirement pension, universal credit or income based employment and support allowance you may not receive Carer's Allowance as they are subject to the 'overlapping benefit rules'.
However, you will still receive a Carer's Premium which may increase the amount of the other means tested benefits that you receive.
If the person that you care for receives the Severe Disability Premium then they will lose that benefit once you start receiving Carer's Allowance. It could also have an impact on your means tested benefits.
You should consider what the impact will be on your benefits, and the benefits of the person that you care for before applying for Carer's Allowance. Citizens Advice can carry out 'better off calculations' to help you figure out the best option, or you can do your own calculations using the Turn2Us benefits calculator.
Is Carer's Allowance taxable?
Carer's Allowance is taxable. However, carers will only have to pay tax if they have other sources of taxable income such as occupational or personal pensions or part-time earnings, and if this combined income takes them over the threshold for paying tax. Carer's Allowance on its own is below this threshold.
If you are paid Carer's Allowance, it will count as income when your means-tested benefits are calculated. However your means-tested benefits calculations will include a Carer Premium, Carer Addition or carer element.
What are the benefits of Carer's Allowance?
You will get National Insurance contribution credits, which count towards your entitlement to basic state pension and other benefits.
You are also allowed to earn a set amount of money in addition to your Carer’s Allowance – this amount is calculated net of tax, National Insurance contributions and allowable expenses - such as paying someone else to care. However, you must tell the Carer’s Allowance Unit if you plan to take on any work.
As mentioned above, you will be entitled to the additional Carer's Premium, which may increase the amount of means tested benefits you receive.
To receive the Carer Premium, you need to be claiming one of these other benefits:
- Income support
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- pension credit
- housing benefit
- council tax support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).
You will also qualify for a Christmas bonus.
We've created some useful factsheets and precedent letters (which are designed to address complex legal situations) to help you know your rights and when to get advice about a problem.
You can access these on our Information and advice resources page.
If you need advice on completing a letter, please contact the Learning Disability Helpline.
How to get the support you need
Contact the Learning Disability Helpline, our advice and support line, for guidance and information about what support we can offer you.
Or why not take a look at our online community? This is a place for parents and family carers of people with a learning disability to share experiences, advice and support.