Benefits and tax credits you can claim as a carer

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 £62.10 a week in (2015/16).

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
  • earn £110 a week or less

The person you’re caring for must also be getting a benefit because of their illness or disability, for example, Attendance Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

Carer’s Allowance can affect other benefits you might be already getting so you may 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 contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance.

However, it’s still worth making a claim as you may be entitled to top up income on your other benefits, instead of Carer’s Allowance.

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

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 may be able to get Carer’s Credit if:

  • you are aged 16 or over
  • you spend at least 20 hours a week caring for someone
  • you don’t qualify for Carer’s Allowance
  • you aren’t yet getting State Pension
  • the person you are looking after receives certain Payments or Allowances
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
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Support
  • Universal Credit

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

Pension Credit

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

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

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

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 may affect how much you get in these benefits.

Income Support

If you’re on a low income and below State Pension age, you might be able to claim this means-tested benefit. Income Support is non-taxable.

Employment and Support Allowance

You might be eligible for income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you have your own health problems as well as caring responsibilities. You might not get Carer’s Allowance if you’re getting contribution-based ESA.

Jobseeker’s Allowance

If you’re caring for someone while looking for work you might be able to claim income-related Jobseeker’s Allowance. It’s taxable and means-tested.

Tax credits

If you’re on a low income, you might be entitled to Working Tax Credit to top up your income. It’s means-tested and non-taxable.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new financial support for people in or out of work, which replaces Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Housing Benefit and tax credits.

Other help if you’re on a low income

You might also be entitled to financial help with your Council Tax, fuel and health costs, adapting your home or carrying out repairs.

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, powered scooter or wheelchair.

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 by post 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 may need an expert benefits check to make sure you are getting the right entitlements.