Carer’s Allowance is a non-means tested benefit paid to carers who meet the criteria.
You may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance if you spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone who gets a qualifying disability benefit and meet other criteria outlined on the government web page.
If you’re over pension age, you can still apply but you may not receive any additional money.
If you’re over pension age and you’re unsure whether to apply, you could contact the Carers UK helpline for advice on 0808 808 777, or contact RCN Direct to book an advice appointment with the Lamplight Support Service.
The person you care for must get one of these benefits before you can be awarded Carer’s Allowance:
If you meet the criteria, you can apply online on the Gov.uk website here.
Carer’s Allowance will not reduce your total benefit entitlement. In some cases total income will stay the same and in some cases your total benefits income will increase.
In many cases Carer’s Allowance will have no effect on the benefits of the person you support. Carer’s Allowance will never affect the person’s disability benefit. However, if the person you care for gets an extra amount called a ‘severe disability premium’ then this will stop once you claim Carer’s Allowance.
The Carer’s UK website and helpline can explain this in more detail if you want to know more.
You might qualify for one or more means tested benefits. This will depend on your household circumstances.
Universal Credit is a new benefit replacing most means-tested benefits across the United Kingdom. The system is now in place for the whole of the United Kingdom for most new claims. You can find out more and apply online here.
You won’t be allowed to apply for Universal Credit if you’ve reached State Pension Age or you get a Severe Disability Premium in your current benefit award.
Universal Credit includes an element for carers, including carers who work. You can find out more here.
If you’ve paid National Insurance in the past two tax years, and you’re currently unwell or a jobseeker, you might qualify for a contribution-based benefit.
Contribution-based benefits aren’t affected by savings and aren’t affected by some types of income.
You can’t claim one of these benefits at the same time as Carer’s Allowance.
Carers are often exempt from paying council tax. Ask your local council for a list of their Council Tax Discounts and Exemptions. These exemptions are not related to your income. Exemptions and discounts can be backdated.
Regardless of whether you get Carer’s Allowance, local councils have a duty under the Care Act 2015 to assess the needs of both carers and those with care needs. Any needs identified should then be supported financially (in some cases) or with other forms of help and support.
In practice, the money and help offered to carers varies depending on the area. The Carers UK website for more information about Carers Assessments and Needs Assessments.
The Equality Act 2010 is another law that affects carers. The Equality Act has helped to set in place the way businesses should take into account the needs of customers with disabilities, with reasonable adjustments in place that allow accessibility at no extra cost.
For example, if you support someone to go to the cinema or another leisure activity such as the zoo or swimming, you should be entitled to free entry in many cases.
A card for free cinema entry is available here and in other cases, speak to centre managers or customer services to enquire about free carer entry.
If you would like further advice on this subject, please contact the lamplight team.
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