Carer’s Allowance is a benefit delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to people across the UK who are looking after a friend or family member for at least 35 hours each week. Eligible claimants receive a weekly payment of £69.70, but if you live in Scotland, you will also receive Carer’s Allowance Supplement, an additional payment of £245.70 which is made twice each year - the next one is due in December.
The Scottish Government is working towards delivering a new benefit that will replace Carer’s Allowance by the end of next year, with a full national rollout planned for spring 2024. Scottish Carer's Assistance promises to provide an ‘improved service’, designed with carers to meet their needs, and in line with Scottish Government principles of fairness, dignity and respect.
However, many people may not be aware that unpaid carers who do not qualify for Carer’s Allowance may qualify for Carer’s Credit.
You could get Carer’s Credit if you’re caring for someone for at least 20 hours each week. It is a National Insurance credit that helps with gaps in your National Insurance record and is important because your State Pension is based on your National Insurance record.
To qualify for any State Pension payment you need at least 10 years’ worth of National Insurance credits. For the full New State Pension - currently worth £185.15 per week - you will need 35 years.
It also means that you can take on caring responsibilities without affecting your ability to qualify for the State Pension.
To get Carer’s Credit you must be:
- aged 16 or over
- under State Pension age
- looking after one or more people for at least 20 hours a week
The person you’re looking after must get one of the following:
- Disability Living Allowance care component at the middle or highest rate
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment - daily living part
- Adult Disability Payment - daily living part
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Child Disability Payment care component at the middle or highest rate
DWP guidance on GOV.UK adds that if the person you’re caring for does not get one of these benefits, you may still be able to get Carer’s Credit. When you apply, fill in the ‘Care Certificate’ part of the application form and get a health or social care professional to sign it.
Breaks in caring and eligibility
You can still get Carer’s Credit even if you have breaks from caring (up to 12 weeks in a row).
For example, you’ll still get Carer’s Credit for 12 weeks if:
- you take a short holiday
- someone you look after goes into hospital
- you go into hospital
Keep the Carer’s Allowance Unit updated if you have a break in caring of more than 12 weeks in a row.
Who does not need to claim
You do not need to apply for Carer’s Credit if you:
- get Carer’s Allowance - you’ll automatically get credits
- get Child Benefit for a child under the age of 12 - you’ll automatically get credits
- are a foster carer, you can apply for National Insurance credits instead - find out more here
How to apply Apply using a form
Download the Carer’s Credit claim form from GOV.UK here.
The form includes a Care Certificate - ask a health or social care professional to sign it for you.
You can also get the form by calling the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0800 731 0297.
You can find out more about Carer’s Credit on GOV.UK here.
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