Carer's Allowance is a payment to people on low incomes who are looking after a person who needs support because of age, disability or illness (including mental illness).
If you think you have been wrongly refused Carer's Allowance, or you are unhappy about a decision of a social welfare Deciding Officer about your entitlements, you can appeal this decision.
The maximum weekly rate of Carer's Allowance will increase by €5 with proportional increases people on reduced rates of payment (January 2022).
The weekly rate for a qualified child will increase by €2 from €38 to €40 for children under 12 years of age. It will increase by €3 from €45 to €48 for children aged 12 years and over (January 2022).
The income disregard for Carer's Allowance will increase from €332.50 to €350 for a single person and from €665 to €750 for a couple. The capital disregard will increase by €30,000 from €20,000 to €50,000 (June 2022).
The period during which Carer’s Allowance can be paid for children in hospital will be extended from 3 months to 6 months (January 2022).
PUP and Carer’s Allowance
If you have permission to work from the Carers Allowance section and you lose your job due to the pandemic, you can keep your Carer’s Allowance and get the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) - PUP is closed to new applicants.
If you become a carer while you are getting PUP, you can keep your PUP and apply for Carer’s Allowance.
How to qualify for Carer's Allowance
To be entitled to Carer's Allowance you must:
- Be living with, or in a position to provide full-time care and attention to a person in need of care who does not normally live in an institution. However, you may continue to be regarded as providing full-time care and attention if you or the person being cared for is undergoing medical or other treatment in a hospital or other institution, for a period not longer than 13 weeks.
- Be habitually resident in the State
- Satisfy a means-test - see 'What counts as means?' below
- Not live in a hospital, convalescent home or other similar institution.
- Be at least 18 years old and
- Not be engaged in employment, self-employment, voluntary work, training or education courses for more than 18.5 hours a week (increased from 15 hours to 18.5 hours in January 2020). While you are working or on a training course, you must make care arrangements for the person you are looking after.
The person you are caring for must be:
- Over the age of 16 and so incapacitated as to require full-time care and attention or
- Aged under 16 and getting a Domiciliary Care Allowance.
What is full-time care?
The person receiving care is regarded as needing full-time care and attention if:
- He or she needs continual supervision and frequent assistance in connection with normal bodily functions or
- Continual supervision in order to avoid danger to him or herself
The time spent providing care each week must not be less than 35 hours per week, over 5-7 days.
You may still qualify for Carer’s Allowance if the person you are caring for spends some time out of the home each day. The Department of Social Protection will decide if you continue to meet the rules for providing full-time care.
What counts as means?
Your means are any income you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant have, or property (except your home) or an asset that could bring in money or provide you with an income, for example, an occupational pension or benefits from another country. Any payment made by the Department of Social Protection (DSP) is not taken into account in the means test for Carer's Allowance.
Investments and savings
The actual income from investments and money in a savings account is not taken as your means. Instead, investment items such as money in a savings account, cash-in-hand or money in a current account and the cash value of investments and property are added together and a special formula is used to work out your weekly means. Find out more about how capital is assessed in the means test for Carer's Allowance.
How means are assessed
The means test for Carer's Allowance involves assessing your income (excluding your home). If you are single, €332.50 of your gross weekly income is not taken into account (or disregarded). If you are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting the first €665 of your combined gross weekly income is disregarded. PRSI, union dues, superannuation (pension contributions including additional voluntary contributions) and travel expenses are also deducted. For a couple, their combined gross weekly income (less any disregards) is then halved to give the carer's weekly means.
If you are getting a social welfare payment from another state an amount up to the maximum rate of the Irish State Pension (Contributory) is exempt from the means test. Any foreign social welfare payment above the maximum Irish State Pension (Contributory) rate is treated as income for the means test.
If you are getting maintenance payments, these are assessed (along with any other source of income) and the first €332.50 (or €665 for a couple) is disregarded.
Carer's Allowance and half-rate payments
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 half-rate Carer's Allowance as well. If you were getting 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 are getting Carer's Allowance and subsequently become entitled to another payment, you can claim the other payment and get half your rate of Carer's Allowance but only if the other payment is a qualifying payment for half-rate Carer's Allowance. For example, if you are getting Carer's Allowance and working, you can build up an entitlement to a contributory payment. This means, if you are out of work sick you may be entitled to Illness Benefit. In this case, you may get full-rate Illness Benefit and half-rate Carer's Allowance - although this will depend on your PRSI contributions, level of earnings and current means.
If you are being claimed for as a qualified adult on your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant’s social welfare payment and you are providing full-time care to another person, you may apply for half-rate Carer's Allowance and retain your current Increase for a Qualified Adult in full.
If you are parenting alone and you are providing full-time care and attention to your child or another person you can claim One-Parent Family Payment and half-rate Carer’s Allowance until your youngest child turns 16 provided you continue to meet the conditions for both schemes.
More information is available in our document on half-rate Carer’s Allowance.
Caring for more than one person
If you are caring for two or more people, your rate of Carer's Allowance is increased by 50% (maximum) each week.
Two carers who are providing care on a part-time basis in an established pattern can also share a single Carer’s Allowance payment and the annual Carer's Support Grant. Each carer must be providing care from Monday to Sunday but can do so on alternate weeks. A carer providing full-time care on a part-time basis is required under legislation to provide this care for a complete week (Monday to Sunday).
A carer who is providing care on a part-time basis to someone who attends a residential institution, for example, every other week, can also be accommodated on the Carer’s Allowance scheme.
You must meet all the usual qualifying conditions for Carer’s Allowance.
Carer's Support Grant
The Carer's Support Grant is automatically paid to people getting Carer's
Allowance in June of each year. You can find out more in our document about the
Carer's Support Grant.
Rate of Carer's Allowance
Your payment is made up of a personal rate for yourself and extra amounts for any child dependants. Carer's Allowance has no qualified adult payment.
Carer's Allowance rates 2021
|Carer||Maximum weekly rate||Increase for a child dependant
From 7 January 2021
|Aged under 66, caring for 1 person||€219||Child under 12 years of age
€38.00 (full-rate) €19.00 (half-rate)
Child aged 12 and over
€45.00 (full-rate) €22.50 (half-rate)
|Aged under 66, caring for 2 or more||€328.50|
|Aged 66 or over and caring for 1 person||€257|
|Aged 66+, caring for 2 people||€385.50|
You may claim a full-rate increase in your payment for a child dependant if you are a carer and are single, widowed, separated or a civil partner who is not living with the other civil partner. You may claim a half-rate increase in your payment for a child dependant if you are a carer and are living with your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant.
You may get credited social insurance contributions (PRSI) while you are getting Carer's Allowance.
Change of circumstance
Carer's Allowance continues to be paid for 12 weeks after the death of the person being cared for.
If the person being cared for moves permanently into a residential care or nursing home the Carer's Allowance continues to be paid for a period of 12 weeks.
How to apply for Carer's Allowance
You should apply for Carer's Allowance as soon as possible. To apply, fill in an application form for Carer's Allowance (CR1) (pdf) which is available from your Intreo Centre, Social Welfare Branch Office or Citizens Information Centre. The form includes a medical report which must be signed by the person you are caring for and by their doctor. A Checklist is also included in the form which you should use to review your application before sending it in.
The application form (CR1)
The application form for Carer's Allowance asks for a lot of detailed information from you. The DSP has to work out your household income. The Department must be satisfied that you, the carer, are providing full-time care and attention and are able to do so. The Department must also examine the medical condition of the person being cared for to decide if they need full-time care and attention. You can get help with filling in the form from your local Citizens Information Centre.
The final part of the form (Part 10) is a Care Report.
The Care Report
The Care Report has 3 sections:
•Section 1: is completed by you and lets you describe the care needs of the person you’re caring for
•Section 2: is signed by the person you are caring for. It confirms that you are providing them with full-time care and attention and gives permission to share their medical information with the Department
•Section 3: is completed by the doctor of the person you are caring for
Applying to care for more than 1 person
If you are applying for Carer’s Allowance for more than 1 person in your care, you should fully complete the application form for 1 of the people being cared for and you only need to complete Parts 1, 2 and 10 of the application form (CR1) for the second person.
If you are already getting Carer’s Allowance for 1 person and are applying for another, you must complete the application form (CR1) in full for the second person.
Carer’s Allowance and Domiciliary Care Allowance
You cannot get a Carer’s Allowance for a child under 16 years of age unless Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) is being paid on behalf of that child. When you apply for Carer's Allowance for a child getting DCA, you do not need to get the medical report (Part 10, Section 3) completed by their doctor. If Domiciliary Care Allowance stops before the child reaches 16 years of age, Carer’s Allowance will also stop.
Carer’s Allowance may be reviewed at any time to make sure that you continue to be entitled to the payment. When initiating a review, the DSP will contact you and ask you to get a medical report completed by the child’s doctor and ask you to provide recent evidence to show that the child continues to require full-time care and attention.
If the DSP find that your child meets the full-time care and attention criteria, you will continue to get your Carer’s Allowance payment. If your child no longer meets the full-time care and attention criteria, your claim will be closed. You can submit more evidence or appeal this decision in the usual way.
If you are unhappy with a decision about your application, you can make an appeal to the Social Welfare Appeals Office. You should appeal within 21 days of getting the decision.
After you apply
There may be a delay in processing your Carer's Allowance claim as it may take some time for your application to be processed. You may qualify for Supplementary Welfare Allowance while you are waiting for your claim to be processed.
Payment will be awarded from the date your application is received or from the date the qualifying payment is awarded, if later. Forward the completed application form with the relevant certificates to Carer's Allowance Section at the Department of Social Protection - see address below.
Where to apply
Application forms are also available from your local
Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office.