Welfare Benefits

Often caring responsibilities mean that your finances are hit. The benefits system is complicated, with each benefit having its own set of rules. Working out what benefits you might be entitled to can feel like a battle. Having the right information and support can make a huge difference.

The key benefits for carers are below. Click on each heading for a more detailed leaflet provided by Carers UK. At the bottom of this page there are links to other organisations who can offer help and advice.

Carers Allowance: is the main benefit for carers. If you are looking after someone for 35 hours a week or more, you may be eligible. You don't have to be related to or live with the person you care for to claim Carer's Allowance.

Am I eligible?
Carers Allowance is not a means tested benefit which means any savings you have are not taken into consideration.
You may be able to claim carers allowance if you:

  • spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a disabled person
  • have caring responsibilities for someone who receives the higher or middle-rate care component of Disability Living Allowance, either rate of Personal Independence Payment daily living component, or any rate of Attendance Allowance
  • don’t earn more than £120 a week after deductions. 
  • are not in full-time education

How do I claim Carer's Allowance?
Call the Carer's Allowance Unit on 0800 731 0297 (textphone: 0800 731 0317) or visit GOV.UK to download a claim form or make a claim online.

Attendance Allowance: is a benefit for older people who may need extra help to stay independent at home, due to an illness or disability. If you are a carer who has care needs, you can claim Attendance Allowance for yourself and this will not affect your Carer’s Allowance.

It’s paid at 2 different rates and how much you get depends on the level of care needed because of their disability.
Am I eligible?
Attendance Allowance can be paid regardless of your income or savings and is a tax free benefit.
You could get to help with personal support if you are:

  • aged 65 or over
  • need help looking after yourself because you have a disability or illness
  • have had the disability or illness for at least six months

There are no restrictions on how you can spend your Attendance Allowance. You do not have to spend it on paying for the care that you need.
How do I claim Attendance Allowance?
Get a claim form by calling the Attendance Allowance helpline on 0800 731 0122 (textphone: 0800 731 0317), you can download a claim form from the GOV UK website

Personal Independence Allowance (PIP): Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit for people aged between 16 and 64 who may need help with daily activities or getting around because of a long-term illness or disability. It’s not designed to help people whose disability or illness affects them in the short term.

PIP has a Daily Living component and a Mobility component, both have standard and enhanced rates. You can receive payments for one or both of these components.
Am I eligible?
PIP can be paid regardless of your income or savings and is a tax free benefit.

  • You must be aged between 16 -64 years
  • You can get PIP even if you are working or studying.
  • If you are a carer who has care needs, you can claim PIP for yourself and this will not affect your Carer’s Allowance.

How do I claim PIP?
You will need to go through a process to make a claim. To start your claim call the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on 0800 917 2222 (textphone 0800 917 7777).

They will ask for basic information and then send you a claim form which asks you how your disability or illness makes it hard for you in daily life. Your claim will be assessed by a healthcare professional and you might have a face-to-face assessment

Employment Support Allowance (ESA): is a benefit that could give you some money if you have an illness or disability that affects your ability to work.

There are two types of ESA:

  • contribution-based ESA – you can get this if you’ve paid enough National Insurance contributions
  • income-related ESA – you can get this if you’re on a low income, either on its own or in addition to contribution-based ESA

If the outcome of your claim is that you’re eligible for ESA, you’ll be put into a group, which will affect how much ESA you continue to receive. You may be put in to either:

  • the work-related activity group: This is for people who will prepare to return to work and will get some support to do that.
  • the support group: This is for people who are unable to return to work due to their illness or disability.

Am I eligible?
To claim either contribution-based or income-related ESA you need to:

  • be under State Pension age
  • have an illness or disability that affects your ability to work.not be claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support or Statutory Sick Pay

To be eligible to claim income-related ESA, you also need to:

  • have no income or a low income
  • not be claiming Universal Credit or have savings of more than £16,000.

How can I claim Employment and Support Allowance?
To claim ESA call Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688 (textphone 0800 023 4888). They’ll ask you questions over the phone and fill in the form for you. Alternatively, you can download a claim form from GOV.UK You’ll need to include a medical certificate from your GP and provide your GP contact details.

For support with PIP and ESA forms click here >>

If you are in a Universal Credit (UC) full (digital) service area, you will no longer be able to claim ESA, and will have to claim UC instead.To find out whether you are in a UC full (digital) service area or whether you are in an area where you still need to meet the gateway conditions to claim UC you can enter your postcode on the revenue benefits website.

Universal Credit: Universal Credit (UC) is a means-tested benefit that is being gradually introduced. UC is replacing Income Support, income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit. These are referred to in this information as ‘legacy benefits’. When UC will affect you will depend on your circumstances and where you live. 

Am I eligible?
Universal Credit is gradually being rolled out across the UK, and is already available nationwide for single people. However, for couples and families, Universal Credit is currently only available in certain areas.
To claim Universal Credit, you must:

  • be under State Pension age
  • have a low income
  • have savings below £16,000
  • not be studying or training full-time
  • accept a ‘Claimant Commitment’.

You can’t claim Universal Credit if you’re already receiving certain benefits, such as Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, or income-related Employment and Support Allowance. If you are claiming these benefits, you will be moved to Universal Credit in the future.

If you want to find out whether your area is a full (digital) service area or a gateway area then you can enter your postcode on a website called Revenue Benefits, and it gives you this information. If you are in a full (digital) service area it will say Universal credit is available in your postcode area and is part of the full (digital) service’; and if you are in a gateway area it will say ‘ It is not currently possible to make a new claim for Universal Credit in your area".

Disability Living Allowance: is a benefit for those looking after a child with a health condition or disability who is under the age of 16 years. This can help towards the extra costs of bringing up a disabled child. DLA is NOT means testing. Note, people aged 16-64 can no longer make a new claim of DLA, and should instead claim  Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Attendance Allowance if you are 65 years of age or older.

Pension Credits: is a means-tested benefit for people who have reached 'state pension credit age' and who have income and capital below a certain amount. 

Help with Council Tax: Council tax is a local form of taxation on domestic property and is collected by local councils (often referred to as local authorities). There are a number of ways in which people can get help with council tax. Read more >>

If you would like to speak to someone at Carers FIRST about support what benefits you may be entitled to you can call our Carers Hub on 0300 303 1555. Alternatively there are several other organisations who can give you advice on benefits:

Carers UK offer a wide range of information about benefits including challenging benefits decisions. They also have an Advice Line open on Mondays and Tuesday between 10am and 4pm - 0808 808 7777 

Turn2Us is a charity supporting people to get back on track and access what they are entitled to. Their free Benefits Calculator and Grants Search tools will help you find financial support you may be able to access, They also have a help line open 9 am - 5:30 pm, Monday – Friday 0808 802 2000. Turn2us can't give advice about personal benefits or grants issues. If you need personal advice about your specific situation, use their Find an Adviser tool to look for a local adviser to help you.

Age UK offers a wide range of information about benefits and also has a Benefits Calculator to help find out what you may be entitled to. They have an advice line 0800 055 6112 and also provide expert support with claiming benefits. Contact your local Age UK if you need help.

To find out what the current benefit rates arclick here >>