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Carer's Benefit

Information

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.

Respite care

The Respite Care Grant is an annual payment made to carers by the Department of Social Protection. It is paid on the first Thursday in June of each year. Find out more about respite care.

Credited contributions

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.

Carer's leave

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.

Rules

You may be eligible for Carer's Benefit if:

  • You are aged 16 or over and under 66.
  • You have been in employment for at least 8 weeks in the previous 26 weeks before becoming a carer. You must have worked for a minimum of 16 hours per week or 32 hours per fortnight.
  • You are resident in the State.
  • You give up work in order to be a full-time carer. Being a full-time carer means you must be living with or in a position to provide full-time care and attention to a person in need of care who is not living in an institution.
  • You are not living in a hospital, convalescent home or other similar institution. However, you may continue to be regarded as providing full-time care and attention, if you or the person being cared for is having medical or other treatment in a hospital or other institution for a period not longer than 13 weeks.
  • You meet the PRSI contribution conditions.
  • The person being cared for is so incapacitated as to require full-time care and attention and is not normally living in an institution. Medical certification is required unless the person being cared for is a child who is getting Domiciliary Care Allowance. The carer of a child on a Domiciliary Care Allowance does not need to be the person who receives that allowance on the child's behalf.
  • You must not be engaged in employment, self-employment, training or education courses outside the home for more than 15 hours a week. The maximum amount you can earn is €332.50 per week. (€332.50 is your net income after you have deducted income tax and Universal Social Charge, PRSI, superannuation (pension payments), pension levy, union dues and subscriptions to Friendly Societies from your total wage.)

PRSI contribution conditions

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:

  • 39 contributions paid in the Relevant Tax Year or
  • 39 contributions paid in the 12-month period before the start of Carer's Benefit or
  • 26 contributions paid in the Relevant Tax Year and 26 contributions paid in the year before that.

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 2014, the Relevant Tax Year is 2012.

Periods of insurance in another EU member state may be taken into account to meet the PRSI contribution conditions. The last week of insurance must be paid in Ireland.

Claiming an increase for a child dependant

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.

Tax implications

This is a taxable source of income and should be advised to your local tax office.

Continuing the payment after a death

If the person you are caring for dies, payment of Carer's Benefit will continue for 6 weeks following the death.


Rates

Carer's Benefit rates in 2014

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)

How to apply

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.

If you are applying for Carer's Benefit for a second person you should use the application form CARB2 (pdf).

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).

Where to apply

For more information on Carer's Benefit, contact your local social welfare office or:

Department of Social Protection

Carer's Benefit Section
Social Welfare Services Office
Government Buildings
Ballinalee Road
Longford
Ireland

Tel:(043) 334 0000
Locall:1890 92 77 70
Homepage: http://www.welfare.ie

For more information on carer's leave contact:

Workplace Relations Customer Services

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
O'Brien Road
Carlow
Ireland

Opening Hours: Mon. to Fri. 9.30am to 5pm
Tel: (059) 917 8990
Locall: 1890 80 80 90
Homepage: http://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/

Further information on making a complaint to the Labour Relations Commission is available from:

Labour Relations Commission

Tom Johnson House
Haddington Road
Dublin 4
Ireland

Tel:+353 (0)1 613 6700
Locall:1890 220 227
Fax:+353 (0)1 613 6701
Homepage: http://www.lrc.ie
Email: info@lrc.ie


Page updated: 8 April 2014

Language

Gaeilge

Related Documents

  • Claiming for a child dependant
    You can get an increase in your social welfare payment for a child dependant. This document explains when you can claim an Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC).
  • Payments to carers
    Find out about the different payments and benefits for carers.
  • Carer's Allowance
    Carer's Allowance is a means-tested payment to people on low incomes who are caring for an incapacitated person.

Contact Us

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.