What is CA?
Carer’s Allowance is a non-means tested non contributory benefit
paid if you cannot work because you are caring for a severely
Who can claim?
- be spending at least 35 hours a week caring for a person who is
receiving Attendance Allowance , Constant Attendance Allowance or
DLA Care (Middle or Higher Rate).
- be aged over 16
- not be in full time education or earning more than £82.00pw
from paid employment.
CA can be backdated for up to 3 months if the claimant has been
looking after a severely disabled person who has been receiving
AA/DLA during that time, or if an award of AA/DLA is backdated.
Other benefits of a CA claim
Apart from the monetary value of CA, there are other benefits to
making a claim:
- National Insurance credits - Carers on CA receive Class 1
National Insurance credits, which will help towards any other claim
for contributory non-means tested benefits.
- Child addition - to CA is non-taxable but was abolished for new
claimants in April 2003.
- Carers Premium - Receipt of CA, or an underlying entitlement to
it, qualifies you for Carer’s Premium in Income Support and Housing
& Council Tax benefit.
- Signing-on – If you are in receipt of CA you do not need to
sign on as available for work to get benefit.
- Carers aged 16 and 17 - they are exempt from the restrictions
on Income Support for under 18 year olds.
- Pensioners - CA can lead to extra income in retirement (see
CA and Earnings
You cannot get CA if you earn more than £82.00 a week. Earnings
are calculated as net earnings (less tax, National Insurance and
half of any occupational pension contributions). Any expenses that
are “wholly, exclusively and necessarily” incurred during work can
also be ignored. Earnings are averaged out over a number of
There are also rules about the earnings of any adult dependant,
which affect the entitlement to adult and child dependant
- if the adult dependant earns more than the value of the adult
addition, that payment is lost.
- if the adult earns more than £170 a week, one child addition is
lost. A further addition is lost for each extra £22.
How long is CA paid for?
CA is payable for as long as you satisfy the conditions. You can
have a break for up to four weeks in every 6 months, when you stop
looking after the disabled person, but continue to get CA. CA will
stop if someone’s DLA Care/AA stops, after 4 weeks in hospital,
residential care etc. This period is 12 weeks if the DLA claimant
is a child under 16 in hospital.
CA and other benefits
Carer's Allowance is an ‘overlapping’ Benefit
You cannot be paid Carer’s Allowance while you are getting the
same amount or more from another overlapping benefit. It may still
be worth putting in a claim to establish an "underlying
entitlement" to CA - this will then entitle you to the Carers
Premium with Income Support, Housing and Council Tax Benefit. You
can get Carer’s Allowance while claiming Disability Living
Allowance (Care or Mobility) or Attendance Allowance for your own
care and mobility needs - there is no contradiction in being a
carer and being disabled.
Ca And Means Tested Benefits
CA counts in full as income against any means tested benefit
that you may be claiming. As a result you do not stand to gain the
full value of the CA:
- Income Support, Pension Credit & HB/CTB: An award of CA
(even if it is not paid because of an “overlapping” benefit) leads
to a Carers Premium of £25.80. So CA is worth up to £25.80 if you
are on Income Support. Two Premiums can be paid if there are two
carers in the household.
- HB/CTB only: An award of CA leads to the Carers Premium as
To Claim Or Not To Claim Ca?
In the situations above, you will not receive the full value of
CA, but may only gain £25.80 Carers Premium. At the same time the
fact that CA is paid will prevent the person you care for from
having the Severe Disability Premium included in their IS or HB/CTB
calculation (assuming they pass the “living alone” test for SDP).
At most SDP can be worth £45.50 to the person with disabilities. So
where you are considering claiming CA, a comparison should be made
between the value of the CA to you against the loss (if any) to the
person you care for.
Having Your Cake And Eating It
If you receive another non-means tested benefit (e.g.
Bereavement Allowance) you cannot be paid CA as well because of the
“overlapping” benefit rules – you retain an “underlying
entitlement” to CA. However, you can still gain by having the
Carer’s Premium included in any Income Support, Pension Credit or
HB/CTB calculation. This is because the CP is included where you
receive or have an underlying entitlement to CA. Since October
2002, CA has been available to over 65s. Most will not receive it
however as it will ‘overlap’ with Retirement Pension. A claim
however will increase many pensioners’ Pension Credit. In this
situation though, the person being cared for can still get the
Severe Disability Premium/addition, as the relevant SDP condition
says that a carer must not be receiving CA. So where CA is not
actually paid, you can get Carer’s Premium while the person being
cared for can still benefit from a Severe Disability
CA can be backdated for up to three months if you satisfy the
qualifying conditions over this period, you do not have to show any
reasons why your claim is late. CA can be backdated further than
this if: you made a claim for CA which was refused on the grounds
that the person you care for was not receiving a qualifying
benefit, and the disabled person had made a claim for
DLA/Attendance Allowance which had not yet been determined but
subsequently resulted in an award of Attendance Allowance or DLA
Care middle or higher rate and a further CA claim was made within 3
months of the DLA/Attendance Allowance decision.
In this situation, your CA can be backdated either to the date
of the earlier CA claim or the date of the DLA/Attendance Allowance
award whichever is later.
Last Updated: 29.07.2008 at 17:36