Introduced as the Invalid Care Allowance in 1976, Carer’s Allowance is a benefit aimed at those who provide full-time care (classed as 35 or more hours per week) for a disabled person who would otherwise not be able to look after themselves.
Run by the Department for Work and Pensions, all claims are means-tested and any funds paid as Carer’s Allowance are classed as taxable earnings.
In terms of making a Carer’s Allowance claim, the carer themselves must have resided in the UK for 2 of the past 3 years and be between 16 and 65 years of age, while the person receiving care must be receiving one or more benefits in regards to their disability.
At the time of writing, Carer’s Allowance entitles the claimant to receive up to £59.75 per week, which can either be paid monthly or quarterly. These payments are subject to the recently introduced benefits cap, and the DWP have previously been eager to point out that it may affect the amount you earn from an existing claim for another benefit.
As the government has taken steps towards austerity as a result of the 2009 global financial crisis, Carer’s Allowance has not been immune from these cost-cutting measures. Although there was vociferous media support for a marked increase in Carer’s Allowance payments before the credit crunch, this has died down as other aspects of welfare have been cut.