Carer’s Credit is a benefit you may be eligible for if you are caring for someone for a certain amount of time weekly. You may claim it to support your National Insurance. If you are a carer looking after someone in need, you may be eligible, especially if they require care for health reasons. This Your-Benefits article will look at everything you need to know about Carer’s Credit.
How much is Carer’s Credit?
The 2022/2023 rate of Carer’s Credit is £69.70 weekly. Furthermore, if you are working, you cannot get more than £128 weekly to keep receiving this benefit.
Carer’s Allowance is a benefit that pays in an amount of money instead of National Insurance credits. If you are eligible for Carer’s Credit, you may be eligible for this other benefit too.
If you are a carer, you could also get Carer’s Allowance. It is a benefit that has requirements similar to Carer’s Credit. You will need a higher minimum amount of caring hours.
What is Carer’s Credit?
Carer’s Credit is a benefit for carers. It is a weekly Class 3 National Insurance credit. Its purpose is to protect your entitlement to future bereavement benefits and State Pension. If your spouse or civil partner needs to claim bereavement benefits, they could also claim this benefit.
Can I still earn the benefit if I take a break?
You may still earn Carer’s Credit when taking a break from caring. More specifically, any breaks of up to 12 weeks in a row may keep you eligible. Your break may be for various reasons. For example, if you:
- Take a short holiday;
- A person you look after goes into the hospital;
- You are admitted into the hospital.
Any of these will not cancel your eligibility for Carer’s Credit. You may experience a break in caring for more than 12 weeks in a row. In this case, you must inform the Disability and Carer’s service. Examples may include, for either you or the person you care for:
- Going on a longer holiday;
- Being admitted into the hospital;
- Going into residential care;
- The person you care for no longer receives one of the following: the highest rate of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for personal care, or lowered to the personal care’s lowest rate, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) daily living component, Attendance Allowance (AA), Constant Attendance Allowance and Armed Forces Payment;
- You are placed in legal custody;
- You will no longer live in Northern Ireland;
- The address of you or the person you care for changes.
Carer’s Credit eligibility
You may be able to earn Carer’s Credit. For this, you must be looking after one person or more. The duration for which you look after those people must be 20 hours a week or over. You must be between 16 years old and State Pension age. They must earn at least one of the following benefits:
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP): the daily living component, at no specific rate;
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA): care component, at the middle or highest rate;
- Attendance Allowance (AA): at no specific rate;
- Constant Attendance Allowance: no specific rate;
- Armed Forces Independence Payment.
You are not limited in the number of people you can care for. Additionally, you may not be the only person looking after the person you care for. However, you may still receive Carer’s Credit.
Some people may not be eligible to receive Carer’s Credit. This may apply to your situation if you:
- Are not habitually a resident of Northern Ireland;
- Currently are in prison;
- Either are under 16 years old, or over State Pension age.
Can I be automatically eligible?
Some people may be automatically eligible for Carer’s Credit. This may be the case for you. It depends on the benefits that you receive. You must get one of the following:
- Carer’s Allowance;
- Child Benefit: you must receive this benefit for a child under 12 years old.
You may also automatically qualify for other reasons. For example, if you are a foster carer and receive National Insurance credits from HM Revenue & Customs.
If these apply to your situation, you do not need to fill out a claim form. The credits will be given to you automatically.
What if there is a change in my situation?
If you or the people you care for’s circumstances change, it may affect your eligibility. More likely than not, you will need to report changes. Notify the Disability and Carers Service if the following happens:
- You no longer take care of the person;
- The amount of time you spend caring for the person is no longer 20 hours or more weekly.
How can I claim Carer’s Credit?
You may download the Carer’s Credit claim form online. This form will contain a Care Certificate. You must ask a health or social care professional to sign the claim form for you.
You will need any relevant care certificates. To apply, complete the form, as well as those appropriate care certificates. Then, include them in your application. To apply, you have until the end of the tax year in which the caring took place. If you wait longer, you may not be eligible for the benefit anymore.
What if I disagree with a decision?
If you disagree with the decision taken on your Carer’s Credit claim, you may ask for a mandatory consideration. This is the term used for challenging a decision once you have received it. You will need to ask for this within one month of receiving your decision letter. You may believe some of the following:
- The office dealing with your claim: has made a mistake or has missed evidence essential to your claim;
- You are not in agreement with the reasons used to reject your claim;
- You wish for your claim to be looked at again.
Benefits like Carer’s Allowance are able to go straight to an appeal. Carer’s Credit, however, cannot. As such, your appeal is not guaranteed to be confirmed. This will be detailed in your decision letter.
Difference between Carer’s Allowance and Carer’s Credit
Carer’s Allowance and Carer’s Credit differ in a couple different ways. First, for Carer’s Credit, you need to care for someone for 35 hours weekly instead of 20 for Carer’s Allowance.
Both benefits have similar requirements. There is a minimum amount of time required to earn them. On top of this, the person looked after needs to receive at least one qualifying benefit.
Your Carer’s Allowance is calculated in part by your expenses. If you are working, certain costs may qualify you to earn more of the benefit. They then would count as an expense. Here is an example:
|Carer's Allowance earnings example in 2022
|Earnings and expenses
|Expenses on care
|Amount treatable as expenses