If you are caring for a loved one, there are various benefits that you might be eligible to receive.

Carer’s Allowance

This is a government benefit to help you out financially if you are aged 16 years plus and care for someone for at least 35 hours a week.

It is worth up to £81.90 per week (2024–25) and you don’t have to be related to or live with the person you care for.

Carer’s Allowance eligibility criteria

The person you care for must already get certain benefits. These benefits include:

There are other eligibility criteria, which include that you cannot get Carer’s Allowance if you share the care of someone and the other carer is already claiming Carer’s Allowance for that person.

In addition, your earnings must be £151 or less a week after tax, National Insurance and expenses (although exceptions can be made based on average earnings).

For more details on eligibility, go to GOV.UK’s Carer’s Allowance ‘Eligibility page. This page also explains how your earnings are calculated and what can be included in expenses.

Carer’s Allowance, benefits and the State Pension

It’s important to be aware that if you claim certain benefits, receipt of Carer’s Allowance may affect other benefits that you or the person you are caring for receive.

For example, when you get Carer’s Allowance, the person you care for will usually stop getting a severe disability premium. They might also stop getting reduced Council Tax.

For you, other benefit payments, such as Pension Credit or Universal Credit, may change, but your total benefit payments will usually either stay the same or go up as you may get an extra amount called Carer Addition. Carer’s Allowance doesn’t count towards the benefit cap, which is a limit on the total amount of benefit you can get.

State Pension: If you are getting State Pension, you can claim Carer’s Allowance, although if your State Pension pays more than Carer’s Allowance, you won’t be paid Carer’s Allowance.

Nevertheless, it can still be worth claiming Carer’s Allowance as by doing so you will have what’s called an ‘underlying entitlement’.  The advantage of an underlying entitlement is that other means tested benefits, such as Universal Credit and Pension Credit (see below), may increase. You may also become eligible for receive Carer Addition if you receive some means-tested benefits.

For the more information on this subject, go to the GOV.UK’s Carer’s Allowance ‘Effect on other benefits’  page. There are also links on this page to how to make a claim and report a change in circumstances.

Carer’s Credit

Even if you aren’t eligible to receive Carer’s Allowance because of your income or you are receiving other benefits, you may still qualify for Carer’s Credit. This benefit isn’t means tested, although there are eligibility criteria.

Carer’s credit is designed to make sure there are no gaps in your National Insurance record if you’re unable to make National Insurance payments because you can’t work due to caring responsibilities. This will ensure you are still entitled to the State Pension at State Pension age.

To receive Carer’s Credit, you need to be:

  • caring for someone for at least 20 hours a week
  • aged 16 or over and under State Pension age.

The person you are caring for must be receiving a benefit, such as the Disability Living Allowance care component at the middle or highest rate, Attendance Allowance or Personal Independence Payment daily living part. You may, however, still be able to receive Carer’s Credit by filling in the ‘Care Certificate’ part of the application. A health or social care professional will need to sign it.

Go to the GOV.UK Carer’s Credit  page for more information on eligibility and how to make a claim.

Universal Credit

You may be entitled to Universal Credit if you are on a low income and unable to work because of your caring responsibilities. The benefit is means tested.

To claim, you will need to be:

  • aged 18 or over and under State Pension age
  • have £16,000 or less in money, savings and investments.

If you are unable to work because you are caring for your partner, there are different eligibility rules. For example, if your partner has reached State Pension age and you as carer meet the criteria for eligibility, you can still apply for Universal Credit on a joint application.

Go to the GOV.UK Universal Credit  page for more information on eligibility, what you’ll get and how to make a claim.

Pension Credit

Pension Credit gives you extra money to help with living costs if you are over State Pension age and on a low income.

Pension Credit eligibility criteria

When you apply for Pension Credit your income is assessed and then, if necessary, Pension Credit will be paid to top up your income to:

  • £218.15 per week if you are single (2024-25)
  • £332.95 per week if you have a partner (2024-25).

You may get additional money if, for example, you have other responsibilities, have a severe disability, care for another adult or have housing costs. For full details on the amount of additional money that’s potentially available, go to the GOV.UK Pension Credit ‘What you’ll get’ page .

To receive this money as a carer, among other things, you will need to be caring for your partner and be living at the same address. You must also both be of State Pension age and one of you must be getting Housing Benefit.

What you might receive in addition to payments

If you are eligible for Pension Credit, as a carer, you might get a discount on Council Tax and help with such items as NHS dental treatment, glasses and transport costs.

Go to the GOV.UK Pension Credit  page for more information on eligibility and what is and isn’t included in your income calculations. There are also links on this page to how to make a claim.

Carers Trust grant

Carers may be able to apply for grants of up to £300 for items or activities that will benefit them in their caring role, such as getting a break from caring, making home repairs or to pay for courses and materials to develop your skills.

To apply for this grant, contact your nearest Carers Trust Network Partner using the search tool at the foot of the Carers Trust grants and discounts  page. There is further information on this page about how to find and apply for other carer grants that may be available.

Receiving benefits as a carer can affect other benefits you or the person you’re caring for can claim.

If you or your partner have a choice over which benefits to claim, it is worth getting a benefits check or using a benefits calculator, as one benefit might be financially better than another, depending on your circumstances. For example, Carer’s Allowance can affect the other benefits that you and the person you care for get. One such benefits calculator is run by the national charity Turn2Us .

Related pages

  • Your needs as a carer: the role of a carer can be very challenging, but there's help out there for you, both financially and to support your mental health.
  • Carers' rights at work: as a carer you have legal rights at work, including compassionate leave, flexible working and protection from discrimination.
  • Carer support at Katharine House Hospice: each fortnight, the Living Well centre holds a family and carers’ group get together; find out more.

The EPiC Resource Centre is kindly sponsored by Cleenol: working for a cleaner, safer, kinder world.