If you look after a person who needs support because of their age, disability, physical illness or mental illness you may be entitled to receive Carer’s Allowance.
What is Carer’s Allowance?
Carer’s Allowance is a payment available to people on low incomes to help them with their caring duties. It is 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.
What is the difference between Carer’s Allowance and Carer’s Benefit?
Carer’s Allowance is another form of financial assistance you can apply for as a carer. While Carer’s Allowance is a means-tested payment (based on the amount of income you and others in your household are receiving), Carers’ Benefit is not means-tested and is based on your recent PRSI payment record. Find out more about Carer’s Benefit.
Am I eligible for Carer’s Allowance?
In order to be eligible for Carer’s Allowance, you must meet certain requirements.
You will likely be able to receive Carer’s Allowance if:
- You are 18 or over
- You are habitually resident in the Irish State
- You are not employed, self-employed or in training or education for more than 18.5 hours per week
- You are living with or providing full-time care to a person who needs constant support
- You do not live in a hospital, convalescent home or other similar institution
- You satisfy a Means Test for the Carer’s Allowance. This is a review of your income and any income from others in the household. Any payment made by the Department of Social Protection is not taken into account in the means test for Carer’s Allowance
- The person you are caring for doesn’t normally live in an institution and is not receiving hospital treatment for more than 13 straight weeks
- The person you are caring for has 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
What does it mean to need full-time care?
A person is regarded as requiring full-time care and attention when 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. More information on the full-time care and attention requirements are set out in section 99  of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005
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.
- If you are under 66, your maximum weekly rate is €224
- If you are 66 or over, your maximum weekly rate is €262
You may be eligible for extra money on top of the maximum rate if you have another child who is financially dependent on you. This is known as an Increase for a Qualified Child.
- If your other child is under 12 years of age, your maximum Increase for a Qualified Child is €40
- If your other child is 12 years of age or over, your maximum Increase for a Qualified Child is €48
Full-time carers also receive a yearly tax-free payment of €1,850, 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 and it is not taxable. Find out more about the Carer’s Support Grant.
What is half-rate Carer’s Allowance?
If you are getting certain social welfare payments and you are providing full time care to someone, you might be able to keep your main social welfare payment and get Half-Rate Carer’s Allowance. In order to be eligible for this, you must meet all of the other requirements for Carer’s Allowance.
- If you are under 66, your maximum weekly rate of half-rate Carer’s Allowance is €112
- If you are 66 or over, your maximum weekly rate of half-rate Carer’s Allowance is €131
You may be eligible an Increase for a Qualified Child if you are receiving half-rate Carer’s Allowance.
- If your other child is under 12 years of age, your maximum Increase for a Qualified Child is €20
- If your other child is 12 years of age or over, your maximum Increase for a Qualified Child is €24
How to apply for Carer’s Allowance
You can apply for Carer’s Allowance by filling in the application form (CR1). You will need to include a medical report that is 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.
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 details 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 might take the Department of Social Protection some time to process your form, so it is a good idea to check if you’re entitled to Supplementary Welfare Allowance while you wait.
Need more information?
We are here to answer your questions and talk through your options. Our online chat service is for 16 to 25 year olds and is available Monday to Friday, 4pm to 8pm. Chat to us now about your situation.