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Benefits for carers

Your benefits

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As a carer you may be able to claim several benefits. There are three main types:

Your step-by-step guide

You may be entitled to only one benefit or a combination of all three types. To work out which benefits you're entitled to, follow the steps below:

Step 1 - check earnings replacement benefits

Carer’s Allowance is one of the earnings replacement benefits. Check if you're entitled to Carer’s Allowance or another of the earnings replacement benefits (you could use the online benefits adviser). If you're entitled to more than one of these benefits, the one that offers the highest amount of money will be paid.

Step 2 - check for cost contributions

Personal Independence Payment

From 8 April 2013, a new benefit called Personal Independence Payment will replace DLA for disabled people aged 16 to 64.

Many carers not only look after someone but are ill themselves. See if you're entitled to Disability Living Allowance (DLA) if you make a claim before you're 65, or Attendance Allowance (AA) if you make a claim after 65. DLA is paid if you're severely disabled and have poor mobility (ability to get around) or need help with personal care. AA is paid if you're severely disabled and need help with personal care.

If you have children, Child Benefit should also be paid.

All these benefits can be paid in addition to any earnings replacement benefit.

Step 3 - check for top-ups

Check if you're entitled to any top-up benefits or tax credits. Check with the Benefit Enquiry Line on 0800 882200 or use the online benefits adviser. Top-up benefits are also known as means-tested benefits because they're only paid if you have limited income and capital. They're paid in addition to other benefits to top up income, depending on the benefits you're receiving.

You may be entitled to one of four means-tested benefits. If you're entitled to more than one, call the benefit enquiry line (0800 882200) for help or use the Citizen's Advice Bureau's online advice guide to work out which will pay you the most. The benefits are:

  • Income Support. This is paid to some people, who are below the qualifying age for the guarantee credit part of Pension Credit, who are on a low income and who don’t have to sign on as being unemployed, such as carers or lone parents.
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance. This is a new benefit paid to people under 65 who have a limited capacity for work because of ill health or a disability. It can also help with the interest-only part of your mortgage payments.
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance. This is paid to people who are actively seeking work. It can also help with some mortgage payments.
  • Pension Credit. This has two parts: the guarantee credit, which is paid to people who have reached the qualifying age, to top up their income, and the savings credit, which is paid to people aged 65 and over and rewards them for having some savings. Pension credit can also help with some mortgage payments.

In addition to one of the means-tested benefits from the four above, you may also be able to claim one of these means-tested benefits:

  • Housing Benefit. This is paid to people who pay rent and have a low income.
  • Council Tax Benefit. This is paid to people who are liable for Council Tax and have a low income.

Being awarded the Carer’s Allowance, DLA or AA increases the amount of income you have coming in while still receiving one of the means-tested benefits. Because of this, if you've just started to get DLA or AA, it's worth checking if you're entitled to a means-tested benefit, even if you have previously been refused one.

Entitlement to means-tested benefits often enables a person to receive other benefits, such as free school meals, health benefits and social fund payments.

There are two types of tax credits that you may be eligible for:

  • Child Tax Credit, which is means tested and paid if you are in or out of work and have responsibility for a child.
  • Working Tax Credit, which is paid if you work and have a low income.

Your age may affect the combination of benefits that you will be able to claim. For more information read the pages about:

If the person you care for receives a severe disability premium, you should also read about how your Carer's Allowance may affect their severe disability premium.


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Comments are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

jlhols said on 11 August 2010

The online benefits adviser link to the right takes you to the Welsh language page (as of 11/08/2010). Here is the correct link for the English language page:

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Last reviewed: 27/04/2011

Next review due: 27/04/2013

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