If your child gets DLA for personal care at the middle or high rate, or the standard rate of the daily living component of PIP, you may be able to claim Carer’s Allowance (CA)
Carer’s Allowance is a weekly cash payment for anyone who spends at least 35 hours a week looking after someone who gets the care component of DLA at the middle or higher rate, (or either rate of the daily living component of PIP) but is not paid to do this. Even if your child is at school, it’s easy to see that most parents will clock up many more hours than this.
If you are a student, you can claim as long as you are studying for less than 21 hours a week. If you work full time and someone else cares for your child they can claim the benefit instead. CA is taxed. At the time of publication, carers may earn up to £120 a week after taxes and expenses and still claim. Expenses include up to 50% of what you pay into a pension, and childcare costs worth up to half your income (after other deductions have been made). However, the amount you can earn changes yearly so be sure to check what you can earn before you claim.
You can only claim CA for one person. If you have more than one child with additional needs, it may be that if someone else does a lot of caring, they can claim for CA for them instead. You don’t have to be related to or living at the same address to claim CA. But you do need to be at least 16 years old.
Even though CA is taxable and counted as income if you are on other means tested benefits, there are good reasons to claim. It’s worth claiming CA if you are on Income Support, because although CA is deducted from your Income Support, claiming it protects your pension and makes you eligible for a Carer’s Premium, so overall you will be better off. If your family claims tax credits or universal credit, be sure to tell HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) if you start claiming CA or you may be overpaid.
Be aware that when you start claiming CA, the person you care for may stop receiving certain benefits, such as a severe disability premium or reduced Council Tax.
How do I get Carer’s Allowance?
You can get claim packs from the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0800 731 0297. You can claim online at the government’s Gov website. This is straightforward because you are only asked for basic information. The online format takes account of your answers and skips irrelevant questions. You are sent a paper copy to sign and return.
Making a claim
The claim pack is simple and easy to understand. You are guided to relevant pages and it takes only a few minutes to complete. You can make a claim when you apply for DLA and as long as you meet the qualifying criteria, CA will be paid as soon as an award for DLA is made.
Claims can be backdated up to three months, so you can wait and make a claim for CA once your child’s award for DLA is agreed.
If your child’s claim for DLA is turned down, or they are only awarded the low rate of the care component, apply for CA as soon as you can, while you challenge that decision. This ensures that your backdated CA is safe if the decision is revised.
If you are not sure about whether your child gets DLA at the higher or middle rate of care, check out our page on Disability Living Allowance (DLA).