What benefits can carers get?
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Knowing what benefits you and the person you care for are entitled to can make a real difference.
For example, you might be able to get a break from caring, or get help with pay for certain costs, or make a difference to your pension entitlements in the future.
There are three main types of benefits:
benefits if you're not in paid employment – "earnings replacement benefits"
benefits that help pay for extra costs, such as those relating to disability or having a child
benefits and tax credits that top up low income if you're in work – "means-tested benefits"
Carer's Allowance, an earnings replacement benefit, is the main benefit for carers. You may be eligible if you are looking after someone for 35 hours a week or more.
Your step-by-step guide to carers' benefits
You may be entitled to only one benefit or a combination of all three types. To work out which benefits you're entitled to, follow the steps below:
Step 1 – check earnings replacement benefits
Carer's Allowance is one of the earnings replacement benefits. Check if you're entitled to Carer's Allowance or another earnings replacement benefit – you could use the online benefits adviser. If you're entitled to more than one of these benefits, the one that offers the highest amount of money will be paid.
If you are over pension age and retired, you will be eligible for the State Pension. Between 2010 and 2020, the State Pension age for women will move gradually from 60 to 65. You can check your retirement age on GOV.UK. Most people who receive the State Pension automatically qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment as well.
Usually, you will not be able to receive Carer's Allowance once you receive your State Pension. However, you will still have an "underlying entitlement" to it, and this can help you qualify for other means-tested benefits and related payments such as the carer premium.
The carer premium is a payment included in the calculation of any means-tested benefits you get if you're also paid Carer's Allowance or have an underlying entitlement to it.
The exact amount you receive depends on your financial situation. Not everyone will receive the full amount.
Find out what the other earnings replacement benefits are.
Step 2 – check for benefits that can help with extra costs
Many carers not only look after someone, but are ill themselves. If you're aged 16 to 64 and have a long-term illness or disability, you could be entitled to Personal Independence Payment (PIP), or Attendance Allowance (AA) if you're 65 or over.
PIP helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill health or a disability. AA is paid if you're severely disabled and need help with personal care.
If you have children, Child Benefit should also be paid, and if your child is disabled, you can claim Disability Living Allowance on their behalf until they turn 16.
These benefits can be paid in addition to any earnings replacement benefit.
Step 3 – check for means-tested benefits
Check if you're entitled to any means-tested benefits or tax credits using the online benefits adviser. Means-tested benefits – sometimes called top-up benefits because they "top up" your income – can be paid in addition to other benefits you might also be getting.
The main means-tested benefits you may be eligible for are:
Income Support – this is paid to some people who are below the qualifying age for the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit, who are on a low income, and don't have to sign on as being unemployed, such as carers or single parents.
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance – this is a new benefit paid to people under 65 who have a limited capacity for work because of ill health or a disability. It can also help with the interest-only part of your mortgage payments.
Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance – this is paid to people who are actively seeking work. It can also help with some mortgage payments.
Pension Credit – this has two parts: the Guarantee Credit, which is paid to people who have reached the qualifying age to top up their income, and the Savings Credit, which is paid to people aged 65 and over and rewards them for having some savings. Pension Credit can also help with some mortgage payments.
If you're entitled to more than one, call Carers Direct on 0300 123 1053, or contact the Citizens Advice Bureau to get advice on which will pay you the most.
For more info go to NHS
Have you asked for it? What are your experiences?
Hello, i'm Susan M. I'm new carenity too!
Would I be able to get any benefits as a carer for my Mum even though I'm already on (the old name) Severe Disablement Allowance myself (can't remember what its new title is!)
i am new to the group but i do think being able to chat to people about the same or simliar things will help. xx
My partner has given up his job to look after me and we would like to know what is out there that we can claim
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look on the benefits pages on the internet to see what you can claim
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