Carer's allowance, benefits and tax credits

Girl and dog on sofaCarer's Allowance

Carer's Allowance is a benefit for people who care for a child who gets Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at the middle or highest rate. You may be eligible, depending on various circumstances and your weekly earnings.

Personal Independence Payments (PIPs) have started to replace DLA for people aged 16-64, but if you're a carer you don't need to do anything, unless your circumstances change.

 

Working-age benefits

If you are under retirement age, there are certain benefits that you're be entitled to claim for:

  • Income Support

Income Support is extra money for people who are on a low income (including not working). You may be entitled to this if you are a carer and have a low income (and low savings).

  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance

If you're out of work or working less than 16 hours a week on average, you may be able to get Jobseeker's Allowance. To be eligible, you must be available for work and actively seeking work (hence the job-seeker bit).

 

Tax credits

You need to claim for tax credits as a couple (obviously by yourself if you're a single parent).

  • Child Tax Credit

Child Tax Credit can be claimed by anyone who is working and has a dependent child (whether or not the child has special needs). The amount is based on your circumstances. Any money due will be sent to the person who has the primary caring responsibility for the child or children.

If your child is eligible for the middle or higher rate of DLA or PIP, then you may be entitled to more Child Tax Credits, so bear this in mind when you're applying. If your child goes into hospital and DLA or PIP stops, you're still eligible for Child Tax Credits.

  • Working Tax Credit

This is extra money for families with children where at least one parent works 16 hours a week or more (other groups can also claim). The amount you get will depend on your circumstances and annual income, but not savings. You may qualify for help towards childcare costs.

If you are entitled to the childcare element of Working Tax Credit, this will be paid to the person with primary childcare responsibility (alongside payments of Child Tax Credit), rather than the person who is working. Yes, it is a tad complicated.

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Last updated: 17-Jun-2013 at 10:13 AM