Benefits for Students in Scotland Handbook
Part 1: Benefits and tax credits
Chapter 1: Carer's allowance
2. Who is eligible
You are eligible if you are a part-time student and you satisfy the basic rules on . You are not eligible if you are in full-time education.
You are in full-time education if an overall consideration of your course requirements and your performance against these suggests this. If you are on a full-time course of education, you are normally taken to be in full-time education for the purpose of carer's allowance (CA). If you think that, given your circumstances, you are not in full-time education, you may be able to argue that you are a part-time student.
You are also treated as being in full-time education if you 'attend a course' (see below) at a university, college or other educational establishment for 21 hours or more a week. These 21 hours include not just classes, lectures and seminars, but also individual study for course work. Meal breaks and unsupervised study are ignored. However, you are regarded as studying under supervision if you are doing course work, whether at home or at college, alone or in the presence of a supervisor. Unsupervised study is work beyond the requirements of the course.
If your college or university says that it expects students to spend 21 hours or more a week in supervised study and classes, the DWP usually assumes that you are in full-time education.
In practice, if you want to show that you spend fewer hours on course work than the college or university expects, you need to provide detailed evidence and be prepared to appeal. If your particular circumstances mean that you are not expected to satisfy the normal requirements of the course (eg, because you are exempt from certain subjects), you may be able to argue that your hours of study are fewer than those expected of other students on the course.
'Attending' a course means being enrolled on and pursuing a course. You are treated as still being in full-time education during short and long vacations, and until the course ends or you abandon it or are dismissed from it. You are still regarded as being in full-time education during temporary interruptions. If you have taken time out to care for someone and the interruption is not temporary (eg, if you have agreed with your institution to take a whole year out of your course), you may be able to claim CA.
As well as being a student who is eligible to claim, to qualify for CA you must satisfy all of the following conditions. You are aged 16 or over. You spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone. The person for whom you care gets the middle or highest rate of disability living allowance care component, the daily living component of personal independence payment, attendance allowance, constant attendance allowance or armed forces independence payment. You are not working and earning more than £123 a week. You satisfy certain rules on residence and presence in the UK and are not a 'person subject to immigration control'. See CPAG's Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook for details.
The amount of carer's allowance (CA) is £66.15 a week (April 2019 rate). In Scotland, you are also paid a supplement to increase your CA to the level of jobseeker's allowance. This is paid in two lump-sum payments each year.
You claim carer's allowance on Form DS700, available from local Jobcentre Plus offices or from www.gov.uk/government/publications/carers-allowance-claim-form. You can also claim online at www.gov.uk/carers-allowance/how-to-claim. Your claim can be backdated for up to three months if you qualified during that earlier period.
Benefit is usually paid directly into a bank account.
Your entitlement to CA depends on the person for whom you care continuing to get her/his disability benefit. If her/his benefit stops, your benefit should also stop. To avoid being overpaid, make sure you tell the Carer's Allowance Unit if the disabled person's attendance allowance, disability living allowance, personal independence payment or armed forces independence payment stops being paid.
Note: although CA may mean more money for you, it may result in the person for whom you care losing some income support (IS), income-related employment and support allowance (ESA), pension credit or housing benefit (HB). If s/he lives alone, s/he may be getting a severe disability premium included in the assessment of these benefits. S/he cannot continue to get this premium if you get CA for her/him. See CPAG's Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook for details and, if in doubt, get advice before claiming.
Although CA is not means tested, you cannot receive it at the same time as incapacity benefit, maternity allowance, severe disablement allowance, widowed parent's allowance, retirement pension, contribution-based jobseeker's allowance (JSA) or contributory ESA. If you are eligible for more than one benefit, you get whichever is worth the most.
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