Becoming a carer

Becoming a carer can be quite daunting for anyone. If you’re injured and need care, your carer may be eligible for financial help if they spend most of their time caring for you. Millions of pounds of carers’ benefits go unclaimed every year, so bear this in mind, just in case.

Here's an introduction to what's available with links to where you can find out more and apply.

Carer's Allowance

Carer's Allowance is £64.60 a week in 2018/19. For people who

  • Spend more than 35 hours a week caring for someone
  • Are aged 16 or over 
  • Aren’t in full-time education or studying for 21 house a week or more
  • Earn £116 a week or less (after taxes, care costs while at work and 50% of pension contributions). 

The person they're caring for must also be getting a benefit because of their illness of disability, for example,

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment or Armed Forces Independence Payment.

Carer's Allowance is taxable and can also affect other benefits they're already getting so they might be paid less in another benefit. 

Carer's can only get Carer's Allowance if they aren’t already claiming a State Pension or certain income-replacing benefits such as contributory Employment and Support Allowance (also known as contribution-based ESA).

However, they should still claim, although they will not get the benefit. If they qualify in all other respects then they might be entitled to top up income on other benefits they receive. For more information see the Gov.uk website (England, Scotland & Wales) and the NIDirect website (N Ireland).

Carer’s Credits

Carer's Credit is a National Insurance credit towards their State Pension while they're not making any contributions because of their caring role. For more information see the Gov.uk website (England, Scotland & Wales) and the NIDirect website (N Ireland).

Carer Premium

For carers who already receive Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support or Universal Credit. Ask your Armed Forces Champion about the Carer Premium at your local Jobcentre Plus or Jobs and Benefits Office.

Local welfare assistance 

If the carer has an unexpected financial need they may be able to get local help. This is called local welfare assistance.  

If you live in England, contact your local council to find out more about what help they may be able to provide.
If you live in Scotland, find out more about the Scottish Welfare Fund on the Scottish Government website.
If you live in Wales, the Welsh Government is introducing the Discretionary Assistance Fund.
If you live in Northern Ireland find out more about their Social Fund on the nidirect website.

Other benefits they might be able to claim

As a carer, there are other benefits and support they might be eligible for. Getting Carer's Allowance may affect how much they get in these benefits.

  • Income Support - If they’re on a low income and below State Pension age. It is means tested. Income Support is non-taxable.
  • Employment and Support Allowance – They might be eligible for this if they have their own health problems as well as caring responsibilities. They may not get Carer's Allowance if they're getting contribution-based ESA. 
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance - If they’re caring for someone while looking for work. It’s taxable and means-tested.
  • Tax credits - If they’re on a low income, they might be entitled to Working Tax Credit to top up their income. It’s means-tested and non-taxable.
  • Universal Credit - 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.

If they’re on a low income they might also be entitled to financial help with Council Tax, fuel and health costs, adapting your home or carrying out repairs. Find out more on the Gov.uk and NIDirect websites. Also see Adapting a home for more information.

Other schemes and entitlements

  • Motability scheme- If they're caring for someone with limited mobility, they might be eligible for support from the Motability scheme, which 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. They can also park on single or double lines for up to three hours. There are special arrangements for issuing permits to families serving overseas and you should contact your unit HR for advice.
  • Disabled Persons Railcard - entitles the cardholder and a carer or companion to one third off most adult rail fares on the National Rail network. Costing £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 - entitles the carer to one free ticket when they take the person they’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 carer's shopping, leisure and other discounts. Ask your local authority what extra support is available.

Support may also be available from Service charities such as The Royal British Legion, the White Ensign Association and the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund.

For information about help with making decisions see Power of attorney.

Last reviewed: 10/04/2018