If you care for someone who claims a disability benefit you may be entitled to Carer's Allowance. If you are claiming Universal Credit you may be enttled to the Carer's Element.
To claim Carer's Allowance you must:
In addition, the person for whom you care must be claiming (or waiting to hear about):
You must be over 16 to claim but there is no upper age limit. The person you care for can be anyone, including a relative. It can be paid to more than one person in a household, such as a couple caring for each other.
To claim the Carer's Element of Universal Credit the eligibility rules are the same as for Carer's Allowance, but there is no earnings limit involved. Also, if you are receiving a Limited Capability for Work element (LCW or LCWRA) in your Universal Credit the same person can't get the Carer's Element as well, whichever element is highest will be awarded.
If the person you are caring for gets a means-tested benefit they may lose their severe disability premium if you start claiming Carer’s Allowance (this does not apply if you are eligible but not receiving any money) or the Universal Credit Carer's Element. For more information see disability premiums in benefits.
The weekly rate of Carer's Allowance from April 2019 is £66.15. This is reduced by the amount of certain other benefits that you get, including State Pension, Maternity Allowance, contributory Employment and Support Allowance, contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Widows' Benefits and Bereavement Benefits or Incapacity Benefit. If you receive one of these benefits at £66.15 or more a week, you do not get a Carer's Allowance payment as well but you can get an extra amount called a carer premium in Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.
The monthly rate of Carer's Element in Universal Credit is £160.20. If you receive Carer's Allowance your Universal Credit will be reduced by £1 for every £1 you receive. This means financially you will be no better off if you claim Carer's Allowance and the Carer Element of Universal Credit, instead of just claiming the Carer's Element, but you will not be worse off either.
Even if you don't qualify for Carer's Allowance or the Carer's Element of Universal Credit you may be able to claim Carer’s Credit, where entitlement to the state pension can be built up by people caring 20 hours a week or more. For more information see Carer’s credit.
Due to the complexities of carers' benefits, and the potential for it to have a detrimental effect on the benefit of the cared for person, we strongly advise you to seek further advice from a recognised advice agency before claiming Carer's Allowance and the Carer's Element of Universal Credit. Your local AgeUK branch or CAB may be able to help, or for more information about advice agencies see our more advice page.
If you are entitled to Carer's Allowance (even if you don't receive a payment due to other benefits you receive)or the Carer's Element of Universal Credit, your household will be exempt from the benefit cap.