If you are in receipt of the basic State Pension you usually cannot be paid Carer’s Allowance. However you may still be able to get some extra money in recognition of your caring role. The rules around this are very complicated.
State Pension and Carer's Allowance are classed as 'overlapping' benefits, essentially they are classed by government as the same thing - a payment in lieu of paid working. So you cannot get both.
However if you are caring and your basic State Pension is less than Carer’s Allowance, it can be topped up to the level of Carer’s Allowance – so it may still be worth making a claim. Even if your basic State Pension is more than the level of Carer’s Allowance, it may still be worth making a claim as it can act as a gateway to other finanial support.
Examples of when it might be worth claiming Carer's Allowance as a pensioner
- If you are already getting an income-related/means tested benefit, such as Pension Credit, you may be paid more of it.
- Even if you were recently refused an income-related/means tested benefit it may be worthwhile checking if you would be entitled once you have claimed Carer’s Allowance.
Income related benefits for pensioner carers
Pension Credit with Carer Addition
Pension Credit is a means-tested benefit for people aged 60 or over on a low income. However the exact age when you qualify will vary depending on your 'qualifying age'. For women this is their State Pension age (which depends on their date of birth). For men the 'qualifying age' it is what their State Pension age would be if they were a woman.
Pension Credit has two parts : Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit.
- Guarantee Credit can be claimed by people over the 'qualifying age'. If you are under the 'qualifying age', but your partner is of the 'qualifying age', your partner can claim it for both of you. Your income and savings will affect the amount you get.
- Savings Credit rewards people who have a second pension or modest savings. It is paid to you if you or your partner are 65 or over, but again your income and savings will affect the amount you get.
When working out how much you are entitled to, the Pension service will allocate you an extra amount if you are a carer. This is called the Carer Addition.
This benefit is claimed from your local council/trust and helps you to pay your rent. Your income and savings will affect the amount you get.
Council Tax benefit (Not in Northern Ireland)
This benefit is claimed from your local council and helps you to pay your Council Tax. Your income and savings will affect the amount you get.