If you are getting certain social welfare payments and you are providing full-time care and attention to another person, you can keep your main social welfare payment and get a half-rate Carer’s Allowance as well.
If you are in one of the following situations you may qualify for half-rate Carer's Allowance:
If you are getting Carer's Allowance and you also meet the qualifying conditions for another social welfare payment (for example, a State pension) you should apply for the other payment. If you qualify for the other payment you will be paid it in full and keep half your Carer’s Allowance payment as well. (For a list of social welfare payments paid with half-rate Carer's Allowance - see 'Rules' below)
If you are currently getting Carer’s Allowance and your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is claiming another social welfare payment (for example, Jobseeker’s Allowance), your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant may claim an increase in their social welfare payment for you as a qualified adult and your Carer’s Allowance will be reduced by 50%. This can only be done with your consent but it may increase your total household income.
If you were on another social welfare payment before claiming Carer's Allowance, you may get your original payment reinstated and also get half-rate Carer's Allowance, if you continue to meet the qualifying conditions for both schemes. (For a list of social welfare payments payable with half-rate Carer's Allowance - see 'Rules' below)
If your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is claiming for you as a qualified adult on their payment and you are providing full-time care to another person, you can apply for half-rate Carer's Allowance and keep your current Increase for a Qualified Adult in full.
If you are getting one of the social welfare payments payable with half-rate Carer's Allowance (see 'Rules' below) and caring for someone, you may keep your social welfare payment and qualify for half-rate Carer’s Allowance.
People parenting alone and caring for one of their children or for an adult (such as a parent or a sibling) can qualify for both One-Parent Family Payment and half-rate Carer’s Allowance (CA) until their youngest child is 16 years of age. If your youngest child is aged between 7 and 15 inclusive you must qualify for Carer's Allowance to continue to qualify for OFP. (See our document on One-Parent Family Payment for more information on other exceptions to the age limits.)
You can claim OFP and a half-rate CA until your youngest child turns 16 provided you continue to meet the conditions for both schemes. You will also get an Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) for any other children in the family until they reach 18 (or 22 if in full-time education) while CA and OFP is in payment.
If you were previously getting both OFP and half-rate CA, and were affected by the OFP age change reforms, you are now eligible to re-apply for both payments.
If you are caring and parenting alone and our youngest child is aged between 7 and 15 inclusive you should apply for OFP and CA at the same time.
You must meet the qualifying criteria for Carer’s Allowance. For example, the person you are caring for must be so incapacitated as to require full-time care and attention and you must satisfy a means test. There is more information in our document about Carer’s Allowance.
If you satisfy the conditions for Carer’s Allowance it will be awarded at 50% of the rate that would apply if you were not getting any other payment. You will also be eligible for the Respite Care Grant and a Free Travel Pass.
You cannot get Jobseeker's Benefit (JB) or Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA) and half-rate Carer's Allowance because you must be actively seeking employment and be available to take up employment to qualify for JA and JB. However, you may qualify for half-rate Carer's Allowance if your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is getting JA or JB and claiming for you as a qualified adult.
If you satisfy the conditions for Carer’s Allowance it will be awarded at 50% of the rate that would apply if you were not getting any other payment.
Maximum half-rate Carer's Allowance in 2016
|Half-rate Carer's Allowance||Under 66||Age 66 and over|
|Caring for one person||€102||€121.00|
|Caring for two or more||€153||€181.50|
Any increase you may be entitled to, for example, an increase for a qualified child, living alone and living on an offshore island will be paid with your main social welfare payment and not with the half-rate Carer’s Allowance.
Half-rate Carer’s Allowance is not a new scheme. You apply on the standard Carer’s Allowance form.
To apply fill in an application form for Carer's Allowance (pdf). (You can also contact your social welfare local office for a copy of this form).
Forward the completed application form with the relevant certificates to Carer's Allowance Section at the Department of Social Protection - see 'Where to apply' below.
Carer's Allowance Section
Social Welfare Services Office
Tel:(043) 334 0000
Locall:1890 92 77 70
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000. The Phone Service will operate Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm during January 2017. You can also visit your local Citizens Information Centre.