Your guide to care and support

What benefits can carers get?

Carer's Allowance

Carer's Allowance is the main state benefit for carers. It is currently £62.70 a week, with a one-off £10 Christmas bonus in December.

You are eligible for Carer's Allowance if you spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone.

Claim Carer's Allowance online.

Online benefits calculator

Check if you're entitled to Carer's Allowance with this online benefits calculator.

Carer's credit

You are entitled to Carer's Credit if you look after someone for more than 20 hours a week.

Carer's Credit is a National Insurance contribution. It can help ensure you don't lose out on some social security benefits, such as the State Pension, because of gaps in your National Insurance record. It's available if you look after someone for 20 or more hours a week and you do not get Carer's Allowance.

Claim carer's credit online.

Means-tested benefits

Means-tested benefits are sometimes called "top-up benefits" because they top up your income. They can be paid in addition to other benefits you might also be getting.

Universal Credit is a benefit for people who are either out of work, or in work but on a low income.

Income Support is paid to people on a low income or no income at all. You might qualify for a disability premium – an extra amount automatically added to your Income Support if you are disabled.

Child Tax Credit

Working Tax Credit

Housing Benefit is paid if you rent and have a low income.

Pension Credit is extra money for pensioners to bring weekly income up to a minimum amount.

The Cold Weather Payment is paid out between November and February.

Benefits for carers who are unable to work

If you're not in paid employment, you may be able to get earnings-replacement benefits. Usually, you can't get more than one of these benefits at the same time. Earnings-replacement benefits include:

Bereavement benefits

Bereavement benefits are not means-tested, but they will be considered as income if you claim any means-tested benefits.

A Bereavement Payment is a one-off, tax-free lump-sum payment of £2,000 paid in some circumstances if your spouse or civil partner dies.

Bereavement Allowance is a regular taxable payment made if you were aged 45 or over when your spouse or civil partner died. It's payable for 52 weeks.

Widowed Parent's Allowance is a regular taxable payment for widowed men or women under pension age who have dependent children. It is also payable to pregnant women.

Carer premium and carer addition

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 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. Getting the carer premium or carer addition could mean you're eligible for more means-tested benefits, or you're eligible for means-tested benefits when you weren't before.

On the other hand, your eligibility for means-tested benefits depends on your income, so any increase in your income – including getting Carer's Allowance – could mean you're no longer eligible or you get less benefit.

The best way to find out what you're entitled to, and how getting Carer's Allowance could affect this, is to get a full benefits check. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau, welfare rights organisation or carers centre may offer this service. Speak to the Carers Direct helpline on 0300 123 1053.

Benefits for parent carers

Benefits that parent carers can apply for include:

You may be able to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant from your local authority. This can help to pay for some adaptations to make your home more suitable for your child’s needs.

The Family Fund is a charity that gives grants to low income families who have a severely disabled child.

To see what benefits you could be entitled to, contact the Disability Benefits Centre.

How to challenge a benefit decision

If you were receiving Carer's Allowance or any other carer's benefit and payment has been stopped. Or you've made a claim for Carer's Allowance or any other carer's benefit and been refused, you can challenge the decision.

Find out how to challenge a benefit decision.

Page last reviewed: 19/01/2018
Next review due: 19/01/2021