Benefits and tax credits you can claim as a carer

Money Advice Service

If you’re a carer there is financial support out there to help you. Find out what’s available and how to apply for your entitlements.

Carer’s Allowance

Did you know?

Millions of pounds of carers’ benefits go unclaimed every year, according to Age UK.

Carer’s Allowance is £66.15 a week in 2019/20.

You might be able to claim it if you:

  • spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone
  • are aged 16 or over
  • aren’t in full-time education or studying for 21 hours a week or more.
  • earn £123 a week or less (after taxes, care costs while you’re at work and 50% of what you pay into your pension).

The person you’re caring for must also be getting a benefit because of their illness or disability, for example:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment.

Carer’s Allowance is taxable and can also affect other benefits you might be already getting so you might be paid less in another benefit. It can also affect the benefits of the person you’re caring for.

You cannot usually get Carer’s Allowance if you are already claiming State Pension or certain income-replacing benefits such as contributory Employment and Support Allowance (also known as contribution-based ESA).

However, it’s still worth making a claim, although you will not get the benefit. If you qualify in all other respects then you might be entitled to top up income on other benefits you receive.

Your local Jobcentre Plus (or Jobs and Benefits Office in Northern Ireland) will be able to tell you which benefits to apply for.

Find out more about Carer’s Allowance on the GOV.UK website, or to watch a video and find examples of how it’s applied go to

If you live in Scotland, carers will also get a supplementary payment of £226.20 a year. This will be made in two payments.

For more information please visit the Scottish Government website.

Carer’s Credit

Carer’s Credit is a National Insurance credit towards your State Pension while you’re not making any contributions because of your caring role.

You might be able to get Carer’s Credit if:

  • you are aged 16 or over
  • you aren’t yet getting State Pension
  • you don’t qualify for Carer’s Allowance
  • you spend at least 20 hours a week caring for someone
  • the person you are looking after receives a benefit because of their illness or disability, for example, Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment. If the person you’re caring for doesn’t get one of these benefits then you might still be able to claim by completing a ‘Care Certificate’.
Find out more about Carer’s Credit on GOV.UK (England, Scotland and Wales).

Carer Premium

You might be entitled to an additional Carer Premium if you already get:

  • Income Support
  • Universal Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance.

Ask about the Carer Premium at your local Jobcentre Plus or Jobs and Benefits Office.

Pension Credit

This is a benefit you can get if you have reached your State Pension age.

It’s made up of two parts: Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit.

Savings Credit is only payable if you or your partner reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016.

How much you’ll get depends on your income and savings and whether you’re single or have a husband, wife or civil partner.

If you get Pension Credit, you may be able to get the additional amount for carers added to it, if you claim Carer’s Allowance or have an underlying entitlement to it.

Local welfare assistance

If you have an unexpected and urgent financial need, you might be able to get local help. This is called local welfare assistance.

Other benefits you might be able to claim

As a carer, there are other benefits and support you might be eligible for. Getting Carer’s Allowance might affect how much you get in these benefits.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is replacing these benefits:

  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support

If you’re making a new claim for means tested benefits, you will probably have to claim Universal Credit.

Find out more in our guide Universal Credit explained.

If you’re caring for a severely disabled person for at least 35 hours a week, you might qualify for the carer element of Universal Credit.

Learn more about the carer element and find out how much is Universal Credit.

If you’re getting legacy benefits

If you’re currently getting any of the benefits being replaced by Universal Credit, you will continue to get them until:

  • you have to make a new claim because of a change in circumstances
  • the DWP asks you to start claiming Universal Credit.

A change in circumstances can include events like starting a new job, having a child and starting or stopping being a carer.

If you do not have a change in circumstances, the Department for Work and Pensions does not intend to start moving people onto Universal Credit until November 2020 at the earliest.

Help with housing costs

If you’re renting, you might get help with your housing costs through the Housing Costs element of Universal Credit or Housing Benefit.

If you’re a home owner, you can get help with your mortgage interest payments through Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI), which is offered as a repayable loan.

Other help if you’re on a low income

You might also be entitled to financial help with your:

  • fuel
  • health costs
  • Council Tax
  • home repair services.

Other schemes and entitlements

Motability scheme

If you’re caring for someone with limited mobility, they might be able to get support from the Motability scheme.

This can help provide a:

  • car
  • wheelchair
  • powered scooter.

Blue badge parking

Blue badge parking permits allow drivers who have passengers with mobility issues to park in more convenient locations, such as disabled parking bays.

You can also park on single or double lines for up to three hours.

Disabled Persons Railcard

The Disabled Persons Railcard entitles the cardholder and a carer or companion one third off most adult rail fares on the National Rail network.

It costs £20 a year or £54 for a three-year card. You can buy one at any staffed ticket office or apply online.

Cinema Exhibitors’ Association Card

This card entitles you to one free ticket when you take the person you’re caring for to the cinema. You can apply for the card online, and all national cinema chains accept it.

Other discounts

There are lots more free or discounted entry offers available to carers at museums, leisure centres and National Trust sites across the country, although they aren’t always advertised.

Just ask when you’re buying tickets.

Several local authorities also offer carers’ shopping, leisure and other discounts, Ask your local authority what extra support is available.

Where to get help and advice about benefits

Claiming carers benefits can be complicated and you might need an expert benefits check to make sure you are getting the right entitlements.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

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Some important information about Rest Less Money

We want you to understand the positives, but also the limitations of using our site. We operate in a journalistic manner and therefore all information, guidance or suggestions provided are intended to be general in nature, and you should not rely on any of the information on the site in connection with the making of any financial decision.

When we set out to build Rest Less Money, we wanted to be a trusted place where you could find helpful information about financial matters affecting the over 50s. As a free to use resource, we try hard to provide the best information we can, but we cannot guarantee that we won’t occasionally make mistakes. So please note that you use the information on our site at your own risk, and we can’t accept liability if things go wrong.

Key things to remember when using Rest Less Money:

We do not offer financial advice – As a journalistic site, it’s important to know that we do not provide financial advice. You should always do your own research before choosing any financial product so that you can be certain it is right for you and your specific circumstances. If you are in any doubt, please seek professional financial advice from a regulated financial advisor.

No Liability – please note that you use the information on Rest Less Money at your own risk and we can’t accept liability for how you choose to use the information given on our site. We will often provide links to content or products and services available on other third-party websites. These are provided purely for your convenience and we cannot be held responsible for any content, or any of the products and services offered on any website that we link to.

 

Accuracy of Information – We try to make sure that all the information provided on Rest Less Money is correct at the time of publishing as we want it to be the most helpful resource possible. Sadly, we are not perfect however, and so we can make no guarantees as to the completeness, accuracy, adequacy or suitability of the information available on the site.
Whilst we work hard to try and provide accurate information, deals and prices can change, so whilst they may be correct at the time of writing, providers may subsequently decide to alter them later – so always double check first.

A final note on the Rest Less Community Forums – always remember that anyone can post their opinion on the Rest Less Community Forums, so it can be very different from our own opinion and may not be factual or well researched. Always be wary of any content posted on the forums and be sure to do your own research and due diligence on anything suggested. 

We hope you find Rest Less Money a useful resource and we would welcome your feedback at [email protected] on how to make it even better. For more information on any of the above you can read our full terms and conditions.

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