Carer's Allowance

What is Carer’s Allowance?

Carer's Allowance is a weekly social welfare payment to people who are caring for a person who needs support because of their age, disability or illness (including mental illness).

Your income must be below a certain amount to get Carer’s Allowance - see ‘How your income is assessed for Carer’s Allowance’ below.

If you are caring for two or more people, your rate of Carer's Allowance is increased by 50% (maximum) each week.

If you are getting another social welfare payment, you may get half-rate Carer’s Allowance.

If you get Carer's Allowance you may also get the Free Household Benefits Package (if you are living with the person you are caring for) and Free Travel.

Carer's Support Grant

The Carer's Support Grant is automatically paid to people getting Carer's Allowance in June each year. You can find out more about the Carer's Support Grant.

Budget 2023: Carers

It was announced that carers who qualify for the Carer’s Support Grant will get a once-off payment of €500 the week starting 21 November 2022. You will get one payment of €500 only, even if you are caring for more than one person.

From January 2023, the maximum rate of Carer's Allowance will increase by €12 with proportional increases for people on reduced rates of payment. The weekly rate for a qualified child will increase by €2 from €40 to €42 for children under 12 years of age. It will increase by €2 from €48 to €50 for children aged 12 years and over.

How to qualify for Carer's Allowance

To be entitled to Carer's Allowance you must:

  • Be age 18 or over
  • Pass a means test - see ‘How your income is assessed for Carer’s Allowance?' below
  • Provide full-time care to a person who is not living in a hospital, convalescent home or other similar institution – see ‘What is full-time care?’ below.
  • Not live in a hospital, convalescent home or other similar institution.
  • Not be employed, self-employed, do voluntary work, training or any education courses for more than 18.5 hours a week.
  • Be habitually resident in the State

The person you are caring for must be:

  • Age 16 or over and so incapacitated as to require full-time care and attention or
  • Under 16 and getting a Domiciliary Care Allowance.

How your income is assessed for Carer’s Allowance

Carer’s Allowance (CA) is a means-tested payment.

In a means test the Department of Social Protection examines all your sources of income. To get CA, your income must be below a certain amount.

The main items included in the means test are:

  • Cash income - see below.
  • Capital – this includes savings, investments, shares or any property you have (but not your own home). The first €50,000 of your capital is not taken into account. Find out more about capital not included in the means test.

Cash income

Some cash income may not be included in the means test. For example, any payment from the Department of Social Protection is not included in the means test.

Since 1 June 2022, if you are single, €350 of your gross weekly income is not taken into account in the means test for Carer’s Allowance. If you are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting the first €750 of your combined gross weekly income is not taken into account.

Your gross weekly income includes any maintenance payments.

PRSI, union dues, superannuation (pension contributions including additional voluntary contributions) and travel expenses are also deducted (if not being paid a travel allowance by your employer). Any means associated with Benefit in Kind (BIK) are also excluded from means test for Carer’s Allowance.

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 not taken into account. Any foreign social welfare payment above the maximum Irish State Pension (Contributory) rate is treated as income for the means test.

For a couple, your means are taken to be half of the total means of yourself and your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant.

What is full-time care?

A person is seen as needing full-time care when:

  • They need continual supervision to avoid danger to themselves or
  • They need continual supervision and frequent assistance throughout the day with normal bodily functions. For example, help to walk and get about, eat and drink, get washed and dressed.

And

  • They are likely to require full-time care and attention for at least 12 months

The time spent providing care must not be less than 35 hours per week, over 5-7 days.

The Department of Social Protection (DSP) will decide if you are providing full time care.

Going to hospital, respite care or day care

You may continue to get your Carer’s Allowance in the following situations:

  • The person being cared for is attending non-residential rehabilitation training or a day care centre
  • You are caring for a child who is admitted to hospital for not longer than 6 months
  • You or the person being cared for (an adult) is having medical or other treatment in a hospital or institution for not longer than 13 weeks
  • The person you are caring for goes into a nursing home on a full-time basis, your Carer’s Allowance can continue for 12 weeks. You must send a letter to the DSP from the nursing home with the date the person was admitted.

A carer who is providing care on a part-time basis to someone who attends a residential institution, for example, every other week, can be accommodated on the Carer’s Allowance scheme.

If you are away

If you are away, you must be able to arrange full-time care for the person you care for.

Payment after a death

If the person you are caring for dies, your Carer's Allowance payment will continue for 12 weeks following the death.

Care sharing

Two carers who are providing care on a part-time basis 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 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).

You must meet all the usual qualifying conditions for Carer’s Allowance.

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 2022

Carer Maximum weekly rate Increase for a child dependant
Aged under 66, caring for 1 person €224 Child under 12 years of age

€40 (full-rate) €20 (half-rate)

Child aged 12 and over

€48 (full-rate) €24 (half-rate)

Aged under 66, caring for 2 or more €336
Aged 66 or over and caring for 1 person €262
Aged 66+, caring for 2 people €393

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.

A full-rate increase for a child dependent is paid with Carer's Allowance if you are parenting alone. A half-rate increase for a child is paid with Carer's Allowance, if you are living with your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant. You do not get an increase for a child if you are getting 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.

Credits

You may get credited social insurance contributions (PRSI) while you are getting Carer's Allowance.

Tax

Carer's Allowance is a taxable source of income.

Half-rate Carer's Allowance

A half-rate Carer’s Allowance may be paid if you are providing full-time care and:

  • You are getting a qualifying social welfare payment or become entitled to a qualifying social welfare payment
  • Your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is getting an increase in their social welfare payment for you

One-Parent Family Payment can be paid with half-rate Carer’s Allowance until your youngest child turns 16 as long as you continue to meet the conditions for both schemes.

How to apply for Carer's Allowance

To apply, fill in an application form for Carer's Allowance (CR1) (pdf). You can get this form (CR1) from your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office or Citizens Information Centre.

You can get help to fill in the form from your local Citizens Information Centre.

The final part of the Carer’s Allowance application form (Part 10) is a Care Report. It includes a medical report which must be signed by the person you are caring for and by their doctor.

If you apply for Carer's Allowance for a child getting Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA), you do not need to get the medical report (Part 10, Section 3) completed by their doctor.

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

You must fill in a Carer’s Allowance application for each person you are caring for.

After you apply

It may take some time for your Carer's Allowance application to be processed. You may get Supplementary Welfare Allowance while you are waiting for your application to be processed.

Appeals

If you think you have been wrongly refused Carer's Allowance, you can appeal this decision. You should appeal within 21 days of getting the decision.

Where to apply for Carer's Allowance

Department of Social Protection

Carer's Allowance Section

Social Welfare Services Office
Government Buildings
Ballinalee Road
Longford
Ireland

Tel: (043) 334 0000 or 0818 927 770

Application forms are also available from your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office.

Page edited: 18 October 2022