The main state benefit that carers can claim is Carer's Allowance. Carer's Allowance is a benefit for people who regularly spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone with a severe disability who receives a Disability Living Allowance (Middle or Higher Rate for Personal Care) or Attendance Allowance, and is currently set at £53.90 a week.
To qualify for a Carer's Allowance you need to meet the following criteria:
- You must be 16 years old or over
- You must look after someone for at least 35 hours a week
- The person you look after must receive a qualifying disability benefit
- If you work you must not earn more than £100, although this figure is revised every April, so be sure to check
- You must not get one of a list of other benefits
- You must be living in the UK when you claim Carer's Allowance
- You must not be a full-time student. This is defined as supervised studying for over 21 hours a week
For more information about the Carer's Allowance, you can visit your local Carers Centre or local Citizens Advice Bureau, or check out the CAB's online advice guide.
You can also claim online via the DWP site.
You cannot receive Carers Allowance and a State Retirement Pension. If however you are a carer who would qualify for Carers Allowance, you may be entitled to what is known as Underlying Entitlement, which may entitle you to benefits that your retirement pension does not.