Looking after someone is not only emotionally tough; it can also have a huge impact on your financial situation, especially if you have given up your job.
The financial help available to you is dependent upon your individual circumstances; however, it is worth checking both you and the person you are looking after are getting all the benefits you are entitled to claim.
Some local councils offer benefits advice to people with care and support needs.
Carer’s Allowance is paid to carers over 16 on a low income who spend 35 hours or more a week caring for someone.
You don’t have to be related to, or live with, the person you look after; however, they must be receiving certain disability benefits. You can only receive one weekly payment regardless of how many people you are caring for.
Carer’s Allowance is taxable and could affect other benefits you and the other person receive, for example, Working Tax Credits and Child Tax Credits.
If you get Carer’s Allowance for looking after someone, their severe disability premium and additional Pension Credit (for severe disability) will also stop.
Moving to a country in the European Union
Carer’s Allowance is one of the few benefits which can continue to be paid when the claimant moves to an EU country. You must, however, have a genuine link with the UK.
Contact the Exportability Team to find out more.
Underlying entitlement to Carer’s Allowance
The ‘overlapping’ rule means you can’t get certain benefits at the same time. For example, you can’t get Carer’s Allowance if you are claiming the State Pension.
Even if you are not eligible for Carer’s Allowance because of the ‘overlapping’ rule you may still have what is called an ‘underlying entitlement’. For example, carers get extra in Pension Credit, Universal Credit and Jobseeker’s Allowance.
When you give up your job to look after someone, you may have gaps in your National Insurance record (which will affect your State Pension in the long-term).
Carer’s Credit fills in these National Insurance gaps if you are caring for someone for at least 20 hours a week.
You must be over 16 and under State Pension age and the person you are looking after must get certain benefits. You might qualify for Carer’s Credit even if you don’t get Carer’s Allowance.
Note: you don’t need to claim Carer’s Credit if you get Carer’s Allowance or Child Benefit (for a child under 12) as you are automatically getting NI credits.
Carers UK provides comprehensive financial advice for carers.