Carer's allowance

If you're caring for someone with dementia, you may be entitled to certain benefits. This page will tell you if you're entitled to Carer's allowance.

What is Carer's allowance?

This benefit can be paid to carers who spend at least 35 hours per week looking after or supervising someone who is receiving DLA (care component at the highest or middle rate), PIP (daily living component at either rate) or Attendance allowance (at either rate). You do not have to be related to, or living with, the person you care for.

The benefit does not depend on National insurance contributions, but it is taxable and can affect the amount you receive of some other means-tested benefits. It gives most carers who are under State pension age a National insurance credit each week to help protect their State pension rights.

You must be 16 or over when you first claim Carer’s allowance. In some cases, the person being cared for could lose some of their means-tested benefits if Carer’s allowance is paid, so it is important to seek advice before making a claim.

You are not eligible for Carer’s allowance if you earn more than a limited amount each week after the deduction of allowable expenses (such as Income tax and pension contributions), or if you are in full-time education.

See our benefits rates page for up-to-date information on the earning limits for eligibility.

How to claim benefits

Carer's allowance and other benefits

Some people may be entitled to Carer’s allowance but are unable to receive the payments because they already receive another ‘overlapping’ benefit such as a retirement pension, and the two benefits cannot be paid at the same time. You will receive the benefit that pays the highest rate, but that is not usually Carer’s allowance. In these circumstances although you cannot receive the payment of Carer’s allowance, you have an ‘underlying entitlement’ to it so it may still be useful to you when claiming any means-tested benefit.

If you are entitled to Carer’s allowance you may be entitled to additional amounts in other benefits if you’re also claiming them, such as Income support, Universal credit, Housing benefit or Pension credit. This may be the case even for those who are entitled to Carer’s allowance but cannot receive the payments because they receive an ‘overlapping’ benefit. If you are a carer and are unsure about your entitlement, contact Carers UK for advice (see ‘Other resources’).

Depending on your income, you may be able to claim a higher rate of benefit if your spouse or partner is dependent on you financially. If you have dependent children, you may also be able to claim Child tax credit or Universal credit.

If you’re not eligible for Carer’s allowance but you’re not working because of caring responsibilities, you may be able to claim Carer’s credit (if you care for at least 20 hours per week). It is a National insurance credit rather than a payment, so caring responsibilities will not affect your ability to qualify for the State pension.

The rules for Carer’s allowance and Carer’s credit are complex and it is important to seek advice from an experienced benefits adviser (see Other useful organisations).

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