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Guide to financial support for carers

There is a range of benefits, tax credits and other financial support that you may be able to receive as a carer. This is a general overview.

Carer's Allowance

You may be able to claim Carer's Allowance if you are aged 16 or over and you spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone.

Direct payments for carers

If you have been assessed by your local council as needing support services to help you in your caring role, you can choose direct payments. They allow you to buy in and arrange help yourself instead of receiving it directly from social services.

Caring and your pension

If you are not working  or do not earn enough to pay National Insurance contributions because you are caring for someone, you may still be able to build up an entitlement to additional State Pension. As a carer you may also qualify for extra Pension Credit.

Carer's Credits

From 6 April 2010, a new Carer's Credit will be introduced. It is a National Insurance credit which will enable carers to build up qualifying years for the basic State Pension and additional State Pension.

Income Support

If you are claiming Income Support and you are also entitled to Carer's Allowance, you may be able to get an extra amount included in your Income Support. This is called a 'carer premium'.

Community Care Grants

If you are getting certain benefits or payments and you need financial help to ease exceptional pressure on your family, you may be able to get a Community Care Grant. You could be eligible if you are caring for someone who is ill or disabled.

Caring for a disabled child

Child Tax Credit

Child Tax Credit is a means-tested allowance for parents and carers of children or young people who are still in full-time education. You may get an extra amount if you are caring for a disabled child.

Sure Start Maternity Grant

This is a one-off payment to help towards the costs of a new baby if you are on a low income and receiving certain types of financial support, including Income Support and Child Tax Credit, with an extra amount for a disabled child.  

Child Maintenance

If you are a lone parent, you may be able to claim Child Maintenance from your child's other parent through the Child Support Agency. You may get an extra amount if you have extra costs because your child is disabled.

The Disabled Child Premium

If you are responsible for a child under 19, or in certain circumstances under 20, you will get this premium if either:

  • the dependant is getting Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • the dependant is registered blind

The Enhanced Disability Premium (child rate)

If the dependant gets the highest-rate care component of DLA, you may get the enhanced disabled child premium.

You do not get either premium if the dependent child has capital of more than £3,000.

Home and housing

Housing Benefit

If you are on a low income and need financial help to pay your rent, you may be able to get Housing Benefit. You may get extra money if you are caring for a disabled child or adult.

Help with Council Tax

If you are on a low income and need financial help to pay your Council Tax, you may be able to get Council Tax Benefit. You may get extra money if you are caring for a disabled child or adult.

If you provide at least 35 hours of care a week for someone in your household, you may be able to get a separate reduction on your Council Tax bill. The person you are caring for cannot be your spouse, partner or child. This reduction can be made in addition to Council Tax benefit. There is also a separate Council Tax reduction for disabled people.

Vehicles and transport

The Motability Scheme

The Motability Scheme helps disabled people buy or lease a car at an affordable price. If you care for a disabled person who does not drive, they can still apply to buy or lease a car through the Motability Scheme with you as their driver.

You can also apply for a car on behalf of a child aged three or over who is entitled to the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance. 

Blue Badge parking scheme

The Blue Badge parking scheme provides a range of parking benefits for disabled people. If you are caring for a disabled person who does not drive, they can nominate you as their driver so that you can use their Blue Badge when driving them. 

Disabled Persons Railcard

If you are caring for an adult who has a Disabled Persons Railcard, you can receive the same discount as them when you are travelling with them.

If you have a disabled child who has a Disabled Persons Railcard, they will travel at standard child fare, but you will receive a discount of one third off the standard adult fare when you travel with them.

Out and about - accompanying a disabled person

Visiting places of interest

Many places of interest, including museums, sports venues, National Trust properties and English Heritage sites, offer discounted or free admission to a companion accompanying a disabled person.

Cinema Exhibitors' Association Card

The Cinema Exhibitors' Association Card is a national card for disabled people. It entitles the holder to one free ticket for a person accompanying them to the cinema. The card is valid for one year.

Financial support for the person you care for

Find out about the financial support available to disabled people, including Disability Living Allowance and direct payments, in the 'disabled people' section of Directgov.

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