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Are you a carer?

You are a carer if you provide help and support for someone, without being paid, due to their ill health or disability. 

Find out what benefits are available to you, where to get support, and what other entitlements and funding you could get to help you.


Can I claim Carer’s Allowance?

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.

Carers UK logo

Carers UK

Advice and support for Carers

The person you care for

The person you care for must get one of these benefits before you can be awarded Carer’s Allowance:

  • Personal Independence Payment - daily living component
  • Disability Living Allowance - the middle or highest care rate
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the normal maximum rate with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at the basic (full day) rate with a War Disablement Pension
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment

If you meet the criteria, you can apply online on the Gov.uk website here.

Will Carer’s Allowance affect other benefits?

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. 

What else can I claim?

You might qualify for one or more means tested benefits. This will depend on your household circumstances.

Benefit calculators are websites designed to estimate the benefits you could claim. For example, betteroffcalculator.co.uk or entitledto.co.uk will estimate benefits based on the details you input.

Universal Credit is a new benefit replacing most means-tested benefits across the United Kingdom. Areas where most people have to claim this benefit if making a new claim are called Universal Credit Full Service Areas. Benefit calculators might tell you if your area is a Full Service Area and how this will affect your benefit claims. Another way is to check this website: Universalcreditinfo.net

Contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance or Jobseeker’s Allowance

If you have no entitlement to means tested benefits (for example because of your partner’s income), and you have paid enough National Insurance contributions over the last two years, you are likely to receive slightly more money on a contribution-based benefit than on Carer’s Allowance, although you would then have to either look for work or regularly show evidence of ill health. 

You can read more about contribution-based benefits here.

Council Tax Exemptions

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.

Carer’s Assessments

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

Free entry for carers

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.

Do you need further advice?

If you would like further advice on this subject, please contact the lamplight team. 

If you have an appointment booked with Lamplight, preparing will help you get the best from it.  


0345 772 6100  

8:30am - 8:30pm, 7 days a  week

How to book an appointment

To speak with someone about the Lamplight service and schedule a telephone appointment:

  • RCN members can call RCN Direct on 0345 772 6100;
  • Individuals not in RCN membership can call 0345 772 6200.

Lines are open 8:30am - 8:30pm, 7 days a week.

Before booking an appointment, have a look at our advice guides further up this page. You may find the answer to your query there without the need of an appointment.

How to prepare for an appointment

After you have booked an appointment we need you to complete the pre-appointment questionnaire. This will provide us with the information necessary to give you advice specific to your circumstances. Do not complete the questionnaire before booking an appointment.

At the time of your appointment make sure you are somewhere that you can receive a call and speak in confidence. We will text you a reminder of your appointment before your appointment. 

How to cancel an appointment

Please cancel your appointment if you can’t make it so someone else can have it. You can cancel by:

  • Replying “CANCEL” to the text message that you receive confirming the time of your appointment.
  • Emailing lamplight@rcn.org.uk with your name and time of appointment.

To rebook follow the instructions within “how to access the service” detailed above.

Pre-appointment questionnaire

Complete after you have booked your appointment.