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.
If you get Carer’s Benefit, you are eligible for a GP visit card.
Budget 2020: The weekly rate for a qualified child will increase by €2 from €34 to €36 for children under 12 years of age. It will increase by €3 from €37 to €40 for children aged 12 years and over (from 6 January 2020).
The number of hours that a carer can work or study every week outside the home will increase from 15 hours to 18.5 hours (from January 2020).
The Carer's Support Grant is an annual payment made to carers by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. It was formerly called the Respite Care Grant, but was renamed the Carer's Support Grant to better reflect how it is used by carers. It is paid on the first Thursday in June of each year. Find out more about respite care.
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
You may be eligible for Carer's Benefit if:
- You are aged 16 or over and under 66.
- You have been employed for at least 8 weeks, whether consecutive or not, in the previous 26 week period. You must be in employment for a minimum of 16 hours per week or 32 hours per fortnight. You don't have to meet this condition if you were getting Carer's Benefit in the previous 26 weeks.
- 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 take part 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, subscriptions to Friendly Societies and any health insurance contract premium from your total wage.)
PRSI contribution conditions
You must have at least 156 contributions paid at any time between your entry into insurance and the time you make your claim for Carer's Benefit 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.
Only contributions at Class A, B, C, D, H and E can be counted towards Carer's Benefit. Class S (self-employed contributions) do not count. 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 2017, the Relevant Tax Year is 2015.
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.
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.
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 child reaches age 22. (This child does not have to live at home). A full-rate Increase for a Qualified Child (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 Employment Affairs and Social Protection, you will each get a half-rate increase. You cannot 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.
Carer's Benefit 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.
Carer's Benefit rates from 28 March 2019
|Carer aged under 66||Maximum weekly rate|
|Caring for 1 person||€220.00|
|Caring for more than 1 person||€330.00|
|Qualified child under 12 years of age||€34.00 (full rate), €17.00 (half rate)|
|Qualified child 12 years of age and over||€37.00 (full rate), €18.50 (half rate)|
You are not entitled to the Household Benefits package and Free Travel under the Carer’s Benefit Scheme.
How to apply
To apply fill in an application form for Carer's Benefit (pdf). This form (CARB1) is also available from your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office or from the Carer's Benefit Section, (see 'Where to apply' below). The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection recommends that you apply for Carer’s Benefit 10 weeks before you leave employment.
Parts 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8 should be completed by you. Part 4 should be completed, signed and stamped by your employer. Part 10 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. If you think your rights as a carer have been breached, you can make a complaint under the Carer’s Leave Act 2001, using the online complaint form (available by selecting ‘Make a complaint in relation to employment rights’ on workplacerelations.ie).
Where to apply
For more information on Carer's Benefit, contact your Intreo Centre, Social
Welfare Branch Office or:
For more information on carer's leave contact: