Children's handbook Scotland
Chapter 1: Benefits and tax credits
3. Carer’s allowance
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3. Carer’s allowance

-Carer’s allowance (CA) is a benefit for people who spend at least 35 hours a week looking after a disabled adult or disabled child. You do not have to have paid any national insurance contributions to get CA.

The Department for Work and Pensions is responsible for the administration of CA.

CA will transfer to the Scottish Government. Before then, you get a carer's allowance supplement if you get CA and you live in Scotland (see Cross reference).

Who can claim carer’s allowance

You qualify for CA if you:Footnote

are aged at least 16; and

are caring for a person receiving either the highest or the middle rate care component of disability living allowance (DLA), either rate of the daily living component of personal independence payment (PIP), either rate of attendance allowance (AA), armed forces independence payment or constant attendance allowance with an industrial injury benefit or war pension; and

are providing care that is regular and substantial (at least 35 hours a week); and

are not gainfully employed. This means your earnings must be no more than £120 a week; and

are not a full-time student; and

are not a 'person subject to immigration control' and you satisfy the residence conditions. See CPAG’s Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook for details.

The disabled person’s benefit

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 (see Appendix 1) if the disabled person’s AA, PIP or DLA stops being paid, or if you are no longer providing care for 35 hours or more a week.

If you are caring for a disabled adult, it is not always financially prudent to claim CA. Although it may mean more money for you, it could result in the person for whom you care losing some income support (IS), income-based JSA, income-related employment and support allowance (ESA), pension credit (PC), housing benefit (HB) or council tax reduction (CTR). S/he may be getting a severe disability premium/addition included in 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.

Breaks from caring
You can have a short, temporary break from caring and still remain entitled to CA. You can have a break of up to four weeks in any period of 26 weeks, or a break of 12 weeks if either you or the person for whom you care is receiving treatment in hospital for at least eight of the 12 weeks, providing the person you care for is still getting her/his disability benefit.
Overlapping benefits

Although CA is not means tested, you cannot receive it at the same time as contributory ESA, incapacity benefit, maternity allowance, severe disablement allowance, bereavement benefits, retirement pension or contribution-based JSA. If you are eligible for more than one of these benefits, you generally get whichever is worth the most.

Carer premium, carer addition and carer element

If you are entitled to CA (even if you are not paid it because of the overlapping benefit rules), a carer premium or carer addition is included in your IS, income-based JSA, income-related ESA, PC, HB and CTR. In universal credit, a carer element is included if you satisfy the rules for CA or would satisfy them except that your earnings are too high.Footnote

Amount of benefit
Weekly rate £64.60


Carer's allowance supplement
If you get CA on the 'qualifying date', you are entitled to a payment of £221 (2018/19 rates) which is for a six-month period. The qualifying dates for 2018 and 2019 are 16 April 2018, 15 October 2018, 15 April 2019 and 14 October 2019. You must actually be receiving CA (either full or part payment) on the qualifying date: an 'underlying' entitlement is not enough. The carer's allowance supplement is disregarded for all means-tested benefits and tax credits. There is no need to make a claim for carer's allowance supplement: it should be paid automatically.
4. Child benefit

Child benefit is paid to people who are responsible for a child or children. Child benefit is paid for each child for whom you are responsible, with a higher amount paid for the eldest child. You do not have to be the child’s parent to get child benefit for her/him. Child benefit is not means tested and so is not affected by any income or savings you have. In certain situations, child benefit is not payable for a child, even though you are caring for her/him. See the chapter relevant to your circumstances for more details. You do not have to have paid any national insurance contributions to get child benefit.

If you or your partner has an annual income of over £50,000, any child benefit you or your partner receive may be withdrawn through additional income tax. This is called the high income child benefit charge. You can elect not to be paid child benefit if this applies to you.Footnote

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is responsible for the administration of child benefit.

Who can claim child benefit

You qualify for child benefit if:Footnote

the child counts as a 'child' or 'qualifying young person' (see below). Note: in the rest of this chapter the term 'child’ is used for both a child and qualifying young person; and

you are responsible for the child (see Cross reference); and

you have priority over other claimants (see Cross reference); and

you and the child satisfy certain presence and residence conditions; and

you are not a 'person subject to immigration control'.

For details about the residence and presence conditions, and who is subject to immigration control, see CPAG’s Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook.

There is no lower age limit, so if you have a baby and are under 16 you can claim child benefit.

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