You are here:

Benefits for carers

Benefits if unable to work

If you're not in paid employment, you may be able to get earnings-replacement benefits. You cannot usually get more than one of these benefits at the same time:

If you're entitled to more than one earnings-replacement benefit, you'll usually receive whichever is the highest. This is called the overlapping benefits rule. There are some exceptions to this rule.

See below for detailed information on some earnings-related benefits, the overlapping benefits rule, and how these rules affect payment of your means-tested benefits.

The official online source of government information on benefits is GOV.UK.

Click on the bars below for more detailed information about benefits for people who are unable to work.

If more than one benefit is payable

There are rules that can stop you getting more than one earnings-replacement benefit. These are called the overlapping benefits rules.

Earnings-replacement benefits

You cannot usually receive more than one of the benefits below at the same time.

The following benefits are based on National Insurance contributions:

  • State Pension
  • Contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Contributory Employment and Support Allowance
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Widow’s Pension or Bereavement Allowance
  • Widowed Mother’s or Widowed Parent’s Allowance

The following benefits are not based on National Insurance contributions:

  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance

If you or the person you care for are entitled to more than one of these benefits, a benefit based on National Insurance contributions will be paid in preference to one that does not depend on National Insurance contributions.

If you're entitled to two benefits, you'll get the benefit that pays the higher amount.

If you're entitled to a benefit based on National Insurance contributions but this is worth less than another benefit not based on contributions, you'll be paid the benefit based on National Insurance contributions plus the difference between the two benefits.

Example

Sunita is a 68-year-old carer. She receives a State Pension of £45 a week. A State Pension is based on National Insurance contributions. Her state pension is lower than Carer’s Allowance, which is £61.35 a week. Therefore, she gets her state pension plus £10.55 of Carer’s Allowance each week so that she is not worse off.

Increases for adult dependants

Some earnings-replacement benefits may give you an increased amount if you have an adult dependant. You'll only receive one increase for an adult dependant, even if you get more than one earnings-replacement benefit. You'll receive the highest increase that can be paid.

Carer’s Allowance and Severe Disablement Allowance

If you're entitled to both Carer’s Allowance and Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA), Carer’s Allowance can be paid in full with a top up to the balance of SDA.

However, if your SDA is the same amount or more than Carer’s Allowance (£61.35 a week) you could ask to be paid SDA in full instead.

This is particularly useful if you're looking after someone who may lose their severe disability premium if you claim Carer’s Allowance.

Overlapping benefits

There are rules that can stop you or the person you care for receiving more than one type of earnings-replacement benefit at the same time. These are called the overlapping benefits rules.

Earnings-replacement benefits

You cannot usually receive more than one of the following earnings-replacement benefits at the same time:

  • Carer’s Allowance
  • State Pension
  • Contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Contributory Employment and Support Allowance
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Widow’s or Bereavement Pension
  • Widowed Mother’s or Widowed Parent’s Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance

If you cannot be paid any Carer’s Allowance because you're being paid another earnings-replacement benefit, you still have an underlying entitlement to Carer’s Allowance. Although you won't be paid Carer’s Allowance, it's worth making a claim for it. This is because the underlying entitlement to Carer’s Allowance means that an amount called a carer premium, or carer addition for Pension Credit, can be included in the calculation of any means-tested benefits you're entitled to.

The carer premium or addition can make it more likely that you'll receive a means-tested benefit, or that more of a means-tested benefit is paid to you.

Example

Carol is 64 and looks after her husband. She gets a State Pension and Pension Credit. She makes a claim for Carer’s Allowance, but is told that she cannot be paid it because it overlaps with the State Pension she receives. The letter she receives from the Carer's Allowance Unit will tell her that although Carer’s Allowance cannot be paid, she has underlying entitlement to it.

Carol can then send a copy of this letter to the Pension Service (who pay her Pension Credit), and they will increase the amount of Pension Credit she receives. This is because a carer’s addition will be added to her Pension Credit.

A carer addition can be paid as part of Pension Credit. A carer premium can be paid as part of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Housing Benefit

Comments

Ratings

How helpful is this page?

Average rating

Based on 23 ratings

All ratings

Add your rating

Page last reviewed: 09/04/2014

Next review due: 09/04/2016

Call Carers Direct on 0300 123 1053

Confidential information and advice for carers.

Lines are open 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday (except bank holidays), 11am to 4pm at weekends. Request a free call back or an interpreted call back in one of more than 170 languages including ربي, বাংলা, 中文, Français, ગુજરાતી, Polski, Português, ਪੰਜਾਬੀ, Soomaali, Español, Türkçe and .اردو.

You can talk to an adviser live online or send a query by email.

Find out more about the Carers Direct helpline.

Services near you