You cannot usually be paid Carer’s Allowance if you receive one or more of the following benefits:
- Contributory Employment and Support Allowance
- Incapacity Benefit
- Maternity Allowance
- Bereavement or widow’s benefits
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- State Retirement Pension (see below).
However, if any of these are paid at less than the amount of Carer’s Allowance, you could be paid an amount of Carer’s Allowance on top of the other benefit you get. You will be paid the difference between your other benefit and Carer's Allowance.
Although in most cases you cannot be paid Carer’s Allowance if you get one of the benefits above, you will still have an ‘underlying entitlement’ to Carer’s Allowance if you meet all the conditions. This ‘underlying entitlement’ means that the carer premium or carer addition can be included in calculations for means-tested benefits.
State Retirement Pension
Whilst there is no upper age limit for claiming Carer’s Allowance, payment of Carer’s Allowance usually stops when you reach retirement age because your State Retirement Pension will be paid instead. You will, however, have an ‘underlying entitlement’ to Carer’s Allowance which means you might qualify for the carer addition in your Pension Credit.
If your State Retirement Pension is less than the amount of Carer’s Allowance paid, you will continue to be paid an amount of Carer's Allowance to make up the difference.
Although you could ask to carry on being paid Carer’s Allowance instead of getting your State Retirement Pension straight away (ie you could defer your pension) you will not build up any extra pension during that time. It is always important to seek further advice before making any decisions.
The income of the person you care for
If you claim Carer’s Allowance the amount of means-tested benefit paid to the person you look after can sometimes be reduced.
For example, a person living on their own (or treated as living alone), or a person who is one of a couple who live alone and both get a qualifying disability benefit, would get the severe disability premium. (It is called the severe disability addition when paid as part of Pension Credit).
The severe disability premium (or addition) can only be paid to someone if no-one gets Carer’s Allowance for looking after them, so once Carer’s Allowance is paid to their carer, the severe disability premium or addition can no longer be paid.
If a couple qualifies for the severe disability premium/addition, they will be getting a double rate. If someone starts to receive Carer's Allowance for caring for one of them, they will get a single rate of the premium/addition. If another person starts to receive Carer's Allowance for caring for the other member of the couple, they will lose the premium/addition altogether.
Please note that having underlying entitlement to Carer’s Allowance will not affect the benefits of the person you are looking after.