You can apply for Carer’s Allowance in either one of two ways:
1. Complete the claim form in the Carer’s Allowance claim pack DS700 (or DS700(SP) if you are getting a State Retirement Pension). To avoid delay, please make sure your claim form is printed with the date of March 2011 or later. To request a claim pack, phone the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0845 608 4321.
2. Make an online claim on the Directgov website (not Northern Ireland). You can save your online claim, so you don’t have to complete it all in one go.
On the online claim form the person you are caring for no longer has to sign their consent. Instead, there is a disclaimer section where you declare that you have made/will make the person you are caring for aware of the potential consequences to their benefits. A notification will still be sent to the person you are caring for informing them that a Carer’s Allowance claim has been made and the impact this may have on their benefits. If you are unsure how the benefits of the person you care for may be affected contact the Carers UK Adviceline.
When to claim
If you claim Carer's Allowance within three months of the decision letter about Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment or Attendance Allowance for the person you care for, Carer's Allowance will be paid from the date of the first payment of Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment or Attendance Allowance (as long as you meet the conditions for the whole period).
Carer’s Allowance can be backdated for up to three months as long as you met the conditions for Carer’s Allowance throughout this period (although this can also depend on when the disability benefit was claimed). The claim form has a question that asks when you want your claim to start. If you wish to claim backdated benefit, please state this on the claim form.
The requirement to attend a work-focus interview with a Jobcentre Plus personal adviser is a feature of certain benefits.
However, work-focused interviews are not compulsory for Carer’s Allowance claimants. But if you also get other benefits, eg Income Support, you may still have to attend a work-focused interview before the claim can be decided. The interview is with a personal adviser who will discuss opportunities for work and training, and the help they can offer you with this.
You do not have to take any action following suggestions made in the meeting, but if you fail to attend or participate in an interview, your benefit could be reduced. If you feel that a work-focused interview is inappropriate for you, eg because of the level of care you provide or because of your own health needs, you can ask for the interview to be deferred or waived.
If you are claiming Employment and Support Allowance, there are different rules about work-focused interviews. Please contact the Carers UK Advice line for information.
Challenging the decision
If you are told that you don't qualify for Carer's Allowance, you can ask the DWP to look at the decision again. This is called a mandatory reconsideration.
If you still disagree once they have done this you must lodge an appeal with HM Courts and Tribunals Service and attach a copy of the mandatory reconsideration with the appeal.
It is important to challenge a decision or get advice as quickly as possible because there are time limits that generally mean you must take action within one month.
How to make a complaint
If you are unhappy with how your claim was dealt, eg long delays or lost forms, in the first instance you should contact the Carer’s Allowance Unit. You should be provided with information about the complaints procedure and further action you can take if you are not happy with the outcome. In some cases you may be able to take your case to either the Independent Case Examiner or the Parliamentary Ombudsman.