Carer's Benefit is a payment made to insured people who leave the workforce to care for a person(s) in need of full-time care and attention.
You can get Carer's Benefit for a total period of 104 weeks for each person being cared for. This may be claimed as a single continuous period or in any number of separate periods up to a total of 104 weeks. However, if you claim Carer's Benefit for less than six consecutive weeks in any given period you must wait for a further six weeks before you can claim Carer's Benefit to care for the same person again.
If you are caring for more than one person, you may receive payment for each care recipient for 104 weeks. This may result in the care periods overlapping or running concurrently.
You are awarded credited contributions or credits automatically when you are getting Carer's Benefit. Credits are awarded at the same rate as your last paid contribution. These credits help protect your future entitlement to social welfare benefits and pensions.
Your right to carer's leave from employment complements the Carer's Benefit Scheme. Carer's leave allows you to leave your employment temporarily for up to 104 weeks to provide full-time care for people in need of full-time care and attention. The leave is unpaid but people who take carer's leave have their jobs kept open for the duration of the leave. You do not have to be eligible for Carer's Benefit to get carer's leave.
If you think you have been wrongly refused Carer's Benefit, or you are unhappy about a decision of a Social Welfare Deciding Officer about your entitlements, you can appeal this decision.
You may be eligible for Carer's Benefit if:
You must have at least 156 contributions paid at any time between entry into insurance and the time the claim for Carer's Benefit is made and:
The contributions do not have to be Class A. Instead, all employment contributions count (except Class S (self-employed) contributions). The Relevant Tax Year is the second last complete tax year before the year in which you make your claim. So, for claims made in 2013, the Relevant Tax Year is 2011.
You can claim an increase for a child if they are under age 18, normally live with you and are maintained by you. If a child is in full-time education by day at a recognised school or college this increase is payable until the end of the academic year in which the the child reaches age 22. (This child does not have to live at home). A full-rate Qualified Child Increase (IQC) is payable if you are single, widowed, separated or a civil partner who is not living with the other civil partner. You may get a half-rate IQC if you are living with your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant. If your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is getting a payment from the Department of Social Protection, you will each get a half-rate increase. From 5 July 2012, you can no longer claim a half-rate IQC with your Carer's Benefit if your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant has an income of over €400 a week.
This is a taxable source of income and should be advised to your local tax office.
If the person you are caring for dies, payment of Carer's Benefit will continue for 6 weeks following the death. A Bereavement Grant may also be payable. Find out more about Bereavement Grants.
|Carer aged under 66||Maximum weekly rate|
|Caring for 1 person||€205|
|Caring for 2 persons||€307.50|
|Increase for each qualified child||€29.80 (full rate), €14.90 (half rate)|
To apply fill in an application form for Carers Benefit (pdf). This form (CARB1) is also available from your local Social Welfare Office or from the Carer's Benefit Section, (see 'Where to apply' below).
Parts 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 should be completed by you. Part 3 should be completed, signed and stamped by your employer. Part 9 should be completed by the person(s) receiving care from you and his/her doctor should complete, sign and stamp the Medical Report.
Carers have important legal rights under Irish law. If you think your rights as a carer have been breached, you can make a complaint to the Labour Relations Commission under the Carer's Leave Act, 2001 (pdf).
For more information on Carer's Benefit, contact your local Social Welfare
Carer's Benefit Section
Social Welfare Services Office
Tel:(043) 334 0000
Locall:1890 92 77 70
For more information on carer's leave contact:
Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
Opening Hours: Mon. to Fri. 9.30am to 5pm
Tel: (059) 917 8990
Locall: 1890 80 80 90
Further information on making a complaint to the Labour Relations Commission
is available from:
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.