Carer’s Benefit is a payment for insured people who leave their job to care for someone who needs full-time attention.You can get Carer’s Benefit for a total of 104 weeks per person you’re caring for. The weeks can be all in a row or taken separately across a longer period. However, if you claim Carer’s Benefit for less than six consecutive weeks then you’ll have to wait six weeks before claiming again for the same person. You can be taxed on Carer’s Benefit as a normal part of your income.
Am I entitled to Carer’s Benefit?
In order to qualify for Carer’s Benefit you will have to meet a number of conditions. You’ll have to be giving up work to become a full-time carer, meaning that you’re giving care and attention to someone who needs it round the clock. This can be to stop them endangering themselves or to help them carry out basic tasks.
In order to qualify for Carer’s Benefit, you’ll need:
- To be over 16 and under 66
- You have to have been employed for at least eight of the last 26 weeks for a minimum of 16 hours per week (or 32 hours per fortnight)
- You can’t be living in a hospital or institution
- The person you are caring for should be getting less than 13 weeks’ continuous care in a hospital or institution
- You can be doing some work and still qualify for Carer’s Benefit, but it has to be less than 18.5 hours a week
- You also can’t earn more than €332.50 a week in take-home pay and still get Carer’s Benefit payments
If you don’t qualify, you may instead be entitled to Carer’s Allowance, a different payment available to full-time carers.
Have I made enough insurance payments?
In order to get Carer’s Benefit you will have to have made at least 156 PRSI contributions. At least 39 of these contributions must have been paid in either the relevant tax year or the 12 months leading up to your application for carer’s benefit.
Alternatively, you can have made 26 contributions in the relevant tax year and 26 the year before that. The “relevant tax year” is the second last complete tax year before the year in which you apply, i.e. if you’re looking to claim Carer’s Benefit in 2019, the relevant tax year is 2017.
Your contributions only count if they are class A, B, C, D, E or H. Class S (self-employed) contributions don’t count. Periods of insurance paid in other EU member states may be counted, but your most recent payment will need to have been made in Ireland.
How much is a Carer’s Benefit payment?
There are different rates of payments depending on how many people you’re caring for.
- Caring for one person. Your maximum weekly rate is €220
- Caring for two people. Your maximum weekly rate is €330
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.
- Full-rate increase (if you’re single, widowed, separated or not living with your civil partner). Your maximum increase is +€36
- Half-rate increase (if you’re living with your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant). Your maximum increase is +€18
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 can I apply?
You can apply for Carer’s Benefit using the CARB1 application form. It’s recommended you apply ten weeks before you leave employment. Part four of the form should be filled out by your employer. Part 10 should be completed by the person you will be caring for, and their doctor should complete, sign and stamp the Medical Report.
If you’re applying for carer’s benefit for a second person you should use the CARB2 form available here.