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How to apply for a carers allowance

McCarthy Stone’s Entitlements Manager offers expert advice on claiming Carer’s Allowance. Read her guide.

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Property advice
Posted 23 April 2024
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Carer’s Allowance is taxable and complicated but still worth claiming

Our ‘Five star’ Entitlements Manager and benefits expert, Aleks Clayton explains the pros and cons of claiming Carer’s Allowance in this guide. 

We offer free help filling in Carer’s Allowance application forms

Aleks offers free advice and practical support to our customers, helping them to claim thousands of pounds they often had no idea they were missing out on and allowing them to enjoy life to the full in a McCarthy Stone property

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“If you spend 35 hours a week or more caring for someone — it can be a partner, family member or friend, you could qualify for Carer’s Allowance, if they receive a qualifying  disability benefit.” 

Aleks Clayton, Entitlements Manager, McCarthy Stone

What is Carer’s Allowance?

Carer’s Allowance is for people that regularly look after someone and offer substantial support for at least 35 hours a week. Carers do things like washing, cooking, housework, shopping and managing bills for the person they are caring for. The allowance is worth £81.90 a week and you can backdate your claim by up to three months. However making a claim can affect other benefits, including negatively affecting the means tested benefits that the person you care for is claiming (see below for more information) and Carer's Allowance is taxable. Always seek professional advice if in doubt about making a claim.  

Who is eligible for Carer’s Allowance?

If you spend 35 hours a week or more caring for someone — it can be a partner, family member or friend (you don’t have to live with them), you could qualify for Carer’s Allowance, as long as the person you look after is claiming a disability allowance. This could be a Personal Independence Payment – the daily living component, Disability Living Allowance - the middle or highest care rate or Attendance Allowance. Read Aleks’s advice on claiming Attendance Allowance.

What should I look out for when claiming Carer’s Allowance?

While it is generally a good idea to make a claim, there are some things you should be aware of: 
  • Only one person can claim for caring for an individual, even if there are several carers, and you can only claim once, even if you care for more than one person. 
  • You must not earn more than £151 a week after tax, National Insurance and other allowable expenses (average earnings may be used). 
  • If you receive Carer's Allowance it may adversely affect the benefits of the person you are caring for. For instance, if they receive a severe disability premium or an extra amount for severe disability paid with Pension Credit, they will lose these payments and may also lose other benefits, for example Pension Credit, Council Tax Support and Housing Benefit.
  • It gets even more complicated if you claim a Carer’s Allowance and state pension.

Can I claim Carer’s Allowance and state pension?

The interaction between Carer’s Allowance and state pension is quite complex.

  • If your state pension is less than £81.90 a week, Carer’s Allowance will top-up your payments to this amount.
  • If you are yet to reach state pension age, claiming Carer’s Allowance will give you National Insurance credits towards your state pension. 
  • If you receive more than £81.90 a week in state pension, you won't get Carer's Allowance payments, but, as Aleks explains below, applying can still be helpful.

Why is it good to claim Carer’s Allowance and state pension when I get over £81.90 a week? 

If your state pension is over £81.90 a week you can claim Carer's Allowance but you won’t be paid anything. However a successful claim will prove you have an ‘underlying entitlement’ to it. This could qualify you for means-tested benefits like Pension Credit or Housing Benefit. 

My partner and I care for each other—should we claim Carer’s Allowance?

Yes, if you claim Attendance Allowance you can both claim Carer's Allowance for looking after each other. If your individual state pensions are below £81.90 per week, Carer's Allowance will top it up. If you receive over £81.90 per week, underlying entitlement may help you to qualify for Pension Credit. If you’re already in receipt of Pension Credit, you could both receive a carer's addition, currently £45.60 each per week. 

You can find more information on Carer’s Allowance on the government website. For Scotland visit Mygov.scot and Northern Ireland go to NI Direct.

Find community where we care about you

Life in a McCarthy Stone home gives you a beautiful private property full of clever ‘hidden’ adaptations, like non-slip bathroom flooring and arthritis friendly taps. You’ll also benefit from a personal emergency alarm and the support of a friendly community and house manager just outside your door. If you opt for a Retirement Living PLUS development you’ll have a manager on-site 24/7, bespoke domestic and personal care services available and additional amenities like an on-site bistro. It means there’s always help on hand—and a good meal, there if you need it.  

Find the right retirement home near you right now, call our friendly team on 0800 201 4811 or contact us online for more information.

 

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