Who qualifies for Carer’s Allowance?
Do you look after a person who needs support because of their age, disability, illness or mental issues
If you look after a person who needs support because of their age, disability, illness or mental issues you may be entitled to receive carer’s allowance. This is a payment to people on low incomes to help them with their caring duties. It’s not the same as Carer’s Benefit, which is a payment for people who leave insured jobs and become carers. You pay tax on carer’s allowance payments as a normal part of your income.
Am I eligible for Carer's Allowance?
You can receive Carer’s Allowance if:
- You’re living with or providing full-time care to a person who needs constant support.
- The person you’re caring for shouldn’t normally live in an institution or be receiving hospital treatment for more than 13 straight weeks.
- You must be 18 years old or over and not employed, self-employed or in training or education for more than 15 hours per week.
- The person you’re caring for will have to be aged 16 or over and need full-time care for at least 12 months. They can be under 16 if they’re getting a Domiciliary Care Allowance. Needing “full-time care” means that they need constant supervision throughout the day. This can be to stop them endangering themselves or to help them carry out their basic daily tasks.
How much is a carer’s allowance payment?
There are several different rates of payment for people receiving carer’s allowance. The amount you get will depend on whether you’re over or under 66, how many people you’re caring for and whether you have any child dependents. There is no extra money available for adult dependents you may have, other than the person you’re caring for.
- Under 66 and caring for one person. Your maximum weekly rate is €214
- Under 66 and caring for two or more people. Your maximum weekly rate is €321
- 66 or over and caring for one person. Your maximum weekly rate is €252
- 66 or over and caring for two or more people. Your maximum weekly rate is €378
From the week beginning 25 March 2019, These rates will increase by €5.
On top of these rates, you can get extra money on top of the maximum if you have another child who is financially dependent on you (as well as the person you’re caring for). The amount depends on whether you’re getting a full-rate or half-rate increase.
If you’re getting...
- Full-rate increase (if you’re single, widowed, separated or not living with your civil partner). Your maximum increase is +€31.80
- Half-rate increase (if you’re living with your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant). Your maximum increase is +€15.90
Full-time carers also receive a yearly tax-free payment of €1,700, usually on the first Thursday in June. This used to be called the Respite Grant but is now known as the Carer’s Support Grant. You can use this grant in any way you wish.
How to apply
You can apply for carer’s allowance by filling in the application form (CR1) available here. This includes a medical report to be signed by the person you’re caring for and their doctor. You don’t need a medical report if you’re caring for a child getting Domiciliary Care Allowance. You can find more information on how to fill out this form here.
If you are caring for more than one person, you will also need to fill in a CR2 form.
Both the CR1 and CR2 forms require a lot of personal information about you, including about your income and means. You can get help filling out the forms at your local social welfare office or Citizens Information Service which also give out copies of the forms. It will take the Department of Social Protection a long time to process your form, so you should check if you’re entitled to Supplementary Welfare Allowance while you’re waiting to hear back.
Before you can get Carer’s Allowance you will have to go through a means test.
- This means that the Department will check to see if you already have enough money to support yourself.
- When working this out, they’ll take into account all your sources of income with a few exceptions.
- The value of your home and your first €332.50 income (€665 for a couple) aren’t counted.
- Money you pay for PRSI, trade union dues, pension contributions and travel expenses are also not counted.
- Your income can be from work, welfare or a mix of both.
If you’re already receiving a welfare payment, you may be offered half-rate Carer’s Allowance on top of it. Eligible welfare payments include Illness Benefit, One-Parent Family Payment and increased jobseeker’s payments for a qualified adult.