Benefits and respite
It is often the case that many carers do not recognise they have become carers and therefore do not realise their entitlement to claim a range of benefits. To enable you to ascertain your rights to financial support and benefits, it is important to arrange a carer assessment because this will identify the level of financial support and benefits you are entitled to. This is about meeting your needs and understanding how caring affects you.
This section covers two areas:
- Benefits – government benefits that you may be entitled to
- Respite – localised resources that support you to carry on caring.
The most up-to-date information about government benefits for carers is available from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or the Money Advice Service and contact details for these organisations are listed on page 22. It may help to start by looking for the following information:
- The main benefits and tax credits that you can claim
- How benefits interact with each other
- How to claim each benefit
- How much you will get
- Where to go for further help.
Carer’s Allowance is for anyone aged 16 or over who provides at least 35 hours a week caring for someone. However, there are certain conditions that have to be met. For example, you can’t get it if you earn more than £128 a week (2021) or if you are in full-time education. The person you claim for has to be in receipt of Attendance Allowance (AA), or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for daily living, or either the middle or higher rate of Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
The care you provide does not have to be nursing or personal care. It can include help with shopping, cleaning, keeping someone safe and generally helping to meet someone’s needs for support. You do not have to be related to, or live in the same house as, the person you look after. You can be considered for Carer’s Allowance for looking after your partner. If you or your partner are both carers, you can both get Carer’s Allowance if you are caring for different people (including each other).
You can’t get Carer’s Allowance if you are getting a national insurance benefit such as a retirement pension, but we still advise you to claim to prove you are a carer, as that ‘underlying entitlement’ can help you get extra on other benefits.
If the person you care for lives alone and has an extra amount for severe disability included in the calculation of their means-tested benefits, they will lose this if you are actually paid Carer’s Allowance. If this applies to you, then we suggest you seek advice before claiming. Carer’s Allowance has continued as a separate benefit after the introduction of the Universal Credit (which replaced several existing benefits such as income support, housing benefit, child tax credit, etc) from 2016 onwards.
Many carers are also eligible for Carer’s Credit – national insurance contributions credits – and all carers receiving Carer’s Allowance are automatically eligible for this benefit.
More information about financial benefits for carers is available from:
National Carers UK Helpline: 0808 808 7777 - Monday to Friday, 10am-4pm
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
www.gov.uk - select the link to ‘Benefits’
The Money Advice Service
Telephone 0800 138 7777 - Monday to Friday, 8am-8pm; Saturday, 9am-1pm
See also organisations listed in the ‘Directory of Carer Contacts’ on page 34.
Respite in the context of caring means that you receive support that provides you with some assistance or temporary relief in your caring role. This could mean that you are able to take a short break for an hour or two a week, have a day to yourself or a holiday. We will talk to you about the local resources that can help you achieve this.