Benefits for carers
What financial help is available for carers?
On this page:
Arrangements for assessing, providing and making support payments vary across the UK. Read information about each nation:
When you have the assessment, make sure it is clear how much you do for the person you care for.
If you look after someone with caring needs you may be entitled to
- Carer’s Allowance – and – in Scotland only – Carer’s Allowance Supplement
- Carer’s Credit
- Other benefits, including respite care
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 Allowance Supplement in Scotland
Carer’s Allowance Supplement is an extra payment for people living in Scotland who are getting Carer’s Allowance on a set date. It’s paid 2 times a year.
In 2019, the qualifying dates are Monday 15 April and Monday 14 October.
You’ll get a letter from Social Security Scotland if you’re due to get this payment.
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:
- Citizens Advice has detailed information on their website and you can chat online with an adviser or visit your local Citizens Advice. Sometimes Citizens Advice is based in GP surgeries or community centres
- Get in touch with your local carers service or local Age UK
- Search for other other local help using your postcode on the Turn2Us website.
The person you care for may also be entitled to benefits:
- Personal independence payment (PIP)
- Disability living allowance (DLA) is paid for eligible children aged under 16. It’s also paid to people who already got DLA before PIP was introduced.
- Attendance allowance
- and, if they are unable to work, statutory sick pay, employment and support allowance or universal credit
- Industrial injuries disablement benefit (IIDB) if their condition was caused by their work
We also have information from carers about non-financial aspects of caring.
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
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.
How can I get help with heating costs?
Find out if you could be entitled to winter fuel or cold weather payments.