The main source of Government funding for carers is the Carer's Allowance.
This is a taxable benefit paid to carers over 16 years caring for over 35 hours a week.
To receive the Carer Allowance the adult or child you care for is in receipt of certain benefits.
The Carers Allowance is currently paid at £67.25 a week and is classed as taxable income.
To qualify your earning must be below an earnings threshold of £128 a week (from April 2020).
(Full details on eligibility can be found on the gov.uk website.)
The main stumbling block to carers receiving the Allowance is the criteria:
You must not earn more than £128 a week (2020/21)
What is often missed is this is the sum you can earn after deducting:
So, do make sure you make these deductions before discounting your eligibility.
If you are self-employed or on a variable income you may still be eligible by taking an average of your earnings.
By claiming the Carer's Allowance you are credited with National Insurance (NI) contributions . This helps safeguard other benefits and your state pension.
If you are not eligible for the Carer's Allowance and care for over 20 hours a week you may still receive a Carer's Credit.
This also provides a National Insurance credit to safe guard any gaps in your contributions.
If you receive other benefits you may not receive Carers Allowance. This is due to the Overlapping Benefits rules.
However, if you have an underlying entitlement to the Allowance you may receive a Carers Premium. This may increase any other means tested benefits.
Carers Allowance is a complex benefit!
As there are so many conditions it is advisable to take advice from an advice agency before applying.
They will also be able to tell you whether your application will affect the income the person you are caring for.
To claim the Carer's Allowance:
Carers in Northern Ireland will need to either contact the Disability and Carer's Service on 028 9090 6186.
The Benefit Enquiry helpline on 0800 22 06 74 or visit their local Jobs and Benefits/Social Security office.
Carers in Scotland receiving the Carers Allowance on a certain date will also receive an additional payment twice a year called the Carers Allowance Supplement.
The Scottish Government has introduced a package of help for young carers. This includes the Young Carers Grant worth £300 a year for young people aged 16 to 18 years caring for over 16 hours a week.