If you’re regularly looking after someone who is ill, elderly or disabled, you might be described as a carer. It’s not just the physical aspects of support that makes you a carer, but also the emotional elements. Care can involve washing, feeding, and helping a person move around. However, it can also include supervising someone who can’t be left alone or keeping them company.
While some people are carers by profession, others are unpaid family members or friends of an individual. It’s worth noting that unpaid carers may be entitled to certain state benefits.
Benefits you may be entitled to as a carer
If the person you are caring for receives official illness or disability benefits, and you spend over 35 hours a week caring for them, you might be entitled to Carer's Allowance. This is the main state benefit for carers. You’ll receive £67.25 a week (working out to £6,656 over a year).
To qualify for Carer's Allowance, you also have to be aged over 16. You can’t be in full-time education or studying more than 21 hours a week. However, you don’t have to live with, or be related to, the person you care for in order to receive Carer’s Allowance.
It’s worth bearing in mind that you do not get paid extra if you care for multiple people.In addition, if someone else also cares for the same person that you do, only one of the carers can claim Carer’s Allowance.
You are not entitled to Carer’s Allowance if your weekly take home pay is more than £128 after deductions — that is after tax, National Insurance and expenses are taken out.
Not eligible for Carer’s Allowance? Don’t worry, you might be able to get Carer’s Credit. This is a National Insurance (NI) contribution that fills in the gaps in your NI record, ensuring that you don’t miss out on social security benefits, like a State Pension. You can get it if you are aged 16 or over and look after someone for more than 20 hours a week
You can still get Carer’s Credit even if you have small breaks from caring. For example if you go on holiday or if the person you care for goes into hospital (up to 12 weeks in a row).
If you already receive Child Benefit for a child under the age of 12, you don’t need to apply for Carer’s Credit as you’ll automatically get NI credits. It’s a similar situation if you are a foster carer — you will already be eligible for National Insurance credits without applying for Carer’s Credit.
This is an allowance you can get on top of certain benefits, such as Income Support or Housing Benefit. If you get Universal Credit or Pension Credit, both of these need to have the ‘carer element’ or ‘carer addition’ included within for you to be entitled to the Carer Premium.
You need to ask about the Carer Premium at your local Job centre Plus or Jobs and Benefits Office. If you do qualify for it, the payment will usually be added automatically to your regular benefits.
Disability Living Allowance for children
Are you the parent carer of a disabled child? If the child is under 16 and has difficulty walking, you might be eligible to receive between £23.60 and £151.40 a week through the Disability Living Allowance. You may also qualify if your child has no difficulties with walking but requires significantly more care than a child of the same age without disabilities.
You can claim Disability Living Allowance whether you are working or not. There are certain other eligibility criteria that you and your child must meet. For example, the child must have lived in Great Britain for at least 6 of the last 12 months. You can learn more on the
What other benefits can I claim with Carer’s Allowance?
There are certain rules about which benefits can be received together — for example, if you have Carer’s Allowance, you cannot get Carer’s Credit. It might help to look at a benefits calculator to check if you're entitled to more than the Carer's Allowance. It’s worth investigating as carers can qualify for Universal Credit and even help with housing costs.
What are carers entitled to in the UK?
As detailed above, there are various state benefits that carers may be entitled to in the UK. In addition, you may be eligible for support or local welfare assistance from your local council.
A Carer’s Assessment will identify whether you can get help — for example, free training or money towards taxi fares. Anyone over 18 can apply for a free assessment from their local council.
Benefits and financial assistance can be daunting. If you are nervous to ask for help or find things hard to understand, you can even ask for an advocate. They can help you work out what benefits you’re entitled to as a carer.
There are also extra schemes and entitlements designed to help carers in the UK. For example if you are caring for someone with limited mobility, they might be eligible to get support from the Motability scheme. They can potentially help by providing a car, wheelchair or powered scooter.
There are also many additional free or discounted entry offers available to carers at cinemas, museums, leisure centres so it’s always worth asking when you’re out and about.
Affordable loans for carers
Benefits are available to support unpaid carers. Whether you’re an unpaid carer or work in a healthcare profession, you may also be eligible for a personal loan. Whilst loans should always be approached with caution, you may find that an affordable loan can help tide you over in times of sudden expenses.
As Salad Money, it’s our goal to put an end to toxic lending and ensure NHS staff, public workers, and carers can take out fair, ethical loans. You can apply for a Salad Money loan of up to £1000. Why not learn more about our easy open-banking loans and apply here?