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Welfare benefits

Benefits for carers

This information is for adults who care for another adult. Other support is available for carers who are under 18, and adults who care for children.

What financial help is available for carers?

As a carer, you can get an assessment of your support needs. Each nation has its own system of assessment. Financial support, like Carer’s Allowance and Carer’s Credit, is the same across the UK.

On this page:

  1. Carer's assessment
  2. Financial support

1. Carer’s assessment

Arrangements for assessing, providing and making support payments vary across the UK. Read information about each nation:

England  Wales  Scotland  Northern Ireland

When you have the assessment, make sure it is clear how much you do for the person you care for.


2. Financial support

If you look after someone with caring needs you may be entitled to

Carer’s Allowance

This is the main benefit available for carers across the UK. You may be eligible if you care for someone with substantial caring needs for 35 hours a week or more. You do not have to live with or be related to the person you care for. Your eligibility is based on your circumstances, such as:

  • your age
  • whether you work and what you earn
  • whether you get other benefits

If you get the state pension, get specialist advice before you apply for Carer’s Allowance, as the two benefits can’t be paid at the same time. Our helpline can advise you about this. Call 03000 030 555.

It also takes into account the benefits the person you are caring for receives. The person you care for must already get one of these benefits:

  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) daily living component
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at the middle or highest care rate
  • Attendance Allowance (AA)

Carer’s Allowance is non-contributory and non-means-tested. But any means-tested benefits you do get will be reduced by the same amount you get from Carer’s Allowance.

Carer’s Credit

You could also get Carer’s Credit if you care for someone for at least 20 hours a week. You cannot claim if you’re already claiming Carer’s Allowance.

Carer’s Credit is a national insurance credit. So if you have to stop work due to your caring responsibilities, contributions will still be paid. This means you can take on caring responsibilities without affecting your ability to qualify for the state pension.

Filling out the forms can be daunting.

Our specialist adviser can talk you through how to prepare for this. Call 03000 030 555 if you need help to complete them:

The person you care for may also be entitled to benefits:  

We also have information from carers about non-financial aspects of caring.

Other benefits including respite care

Other types of benefits and financial assistance that you and the person you care for might be eligible for are top-up benefits if you have a low income, such as council tax reductions and help with fuel costs

Taking a break (respite care)

Your carer’s assessment may identify that you need a break from caring from time to time. This is called respite care and may be provided by your council after your carer’s assessment or after the person you care for has had an assessment. Your council or local carers’ centre can give you information about what’s available in your area.

There are different ways you can take a break. Think about what type of break will suit you. You may want an hour every week, a day here and there, a week or two for a holiday, or a combination of all of these.

And think about what kind of service the person you look after will need while you’re away. Perhaps friends and family could take over caring for them, or you could arrange

  • for them to go to a day centre
  • for a professional carer to come to the home of the person you care for
  • short-term residential care
  • a holiday for them

There are many ways to arrange and pay for you to take a break. You may be able to get help from your local council, charities or benevolent funds, or you may need to pay for care yourself.

Carers UK has a useful factsheet Taking a Break including organisations that may be able to help arrange and fund a break. The Carers Trust is currently offering grants to fund breaks for adult carers and also details of grants and other sources of funding.

I got a payment to go towards a hobby Les

Les looks after his wife Ann full-time

My caring role started when Ann had breast cancer five-and-a-half years ago. Later she was also diagnosed with COPD.

I had a carers’ assessment three years ago – it was quite straightforward. I’m now on the county council’s carers’ register and I have a card in my wallet, so that if anything happens to me while I’m out, people will know Ann’s at home and needs help.

I also got a one-off payment of £130 for my hobby. I had a couple of days out fishing.

We joined our local Breathe Easy group, which is fantastic.

A lady from the Carers’ Federation talked to us about entitlements. We had no idea Ann could claim attendance allowance, but afterwards, we asked the local council.

Someone from the council came to talk to us and filled in the claim. He was very helpful. We heard just two weeks later that Ann was entitled to attendance allowance at the higher rate.

We’re reasonably comfortable, but the extra money makes a real difference.

We get some respite care through Oddfellows. We’ve had some two-week respite breaks at a really nice convalescence home.

Next: Top-up benefits >

Download our carer's benefits information (PDF, 298KB)

Last medically reviewed: September 2018. Due for review: December 2018

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.