Carer's Allowance is a payment to people on low incomes who are looking
after a person who needs support because of age, physical/learning disability
or illness (including mental illness).
If you qualify for a Carer's Allowance you may also qualify for free
household benefits and a Free Travel Pass.
Carer's Allowance is not taken into account in the assessment for a medical
If you consider that you have been wrongly refused Carer's Allowance, or you
are unhappy about a decision of a Social Welfare Deciding Officer about your
entitlements, you can appeal this
To be entitled to a Carer's Allowance:
- You must be living with, or in a position to provide full-time care and
attention to a person in need of care who does not normally live in an
institution. However, you may continue to be regarded as providing
full-time care and attention, if you or the person being cared for is
undergoing medical or other treatment in a hospital or other institution
for a period not longer than 13 weeks.
- You must be resident in the State.
- You must not live in a hospital, convalescent home or other similar
- You must be at least 18 years old and
- You must not be engaged in employment, self-employment, training or
education courses outside the home for more than 15 hours a week. During
your absence, adequate care for the person requiring full-time care and
attention must be arranged.
The person you are caring for must be:
- Over the age of 16 and so incapacitated as to require full-time care and
- Aged under 16 and getting a Domiciliary
The person receiving care is regarded as requiring full-time care and
- He or she is so incapacitated as to require continuous supervision in
order to avoid danger to him or herself or continual supervision and
frequent assistance throughout the day in connection with normal bodily
- He or she is so incapacitated as to be likely to require full-time care
and attention for a period of at least twelve months.
What counts as means?
Your means are any income you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant
have or property (except your home) or an asset that could bring in money or
provide you with an income, for example, an occupational pension or pensions or
benefits from another country. Any payment made by the Department of Social
Protection is not taken into account in the means test for Carer's
Investments and savings
The actual income from investments and money in a savings account is not
taken as your means. Instead, investment items such as, money in a savings
account, cash-in-hand or money in a current account and the cash value of
investments and property are added together and a special formula is used to
work out your weekly means. Find out more about how
capital is assessed in the means test for Carer's Allowance.
How means are assessed
The means test for the Carer's Allowance involves assessing your income
(excluding your home). €332.50 of your gross weekly income is not taken into
account (or disregarded). If you are married, in a civil partnership
or cohabiting the first €665 of your combined gross weekly income is
disregarded. PRSI, union dues, superannuation (pension contributions) and
travel expenses are also deducted.
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 exempt from
the means test. Any foreign social welfare payment above the maximum Irish
State Pension (Contributory) rate is treated as income for the means test.
Carer's Allowance and half-rate payments
If you are getting certain social welfare payments and you are providing
full time care and attention to another person, you can keep your main social
welfare payment and get half-rate Carer's Allowance as well. If you were
getting another social welfare payment before claiming Carer's Allowance, you
may get your original payment reinstated and also get half-rate Carer's
If you are getting Carer's Allowance and subsequently become entitled to
another payment, you can claim the other payment and get half your rate of
Carer's Allowance but only if the other payment is a qualifying payment for
half-rate Carer's Allowance. For example, if you are getting Carer's Allowance
and work 15 hours each week, you can build up an entitlement to a contributory
payment. This means, if you are out of work sick you may be entitled to Illness
Benefit. In this case, you may get full-rate Illness Benefit and half-rate
Carer's Allowance - although this will depend on your PRSI contributions, level
of earnings and current means.
If you are being claimed for as a qualified adult on your spouse, civil
partner or cohabitant’s social welfare payment and you are providing
full-time care to another person, you may apply for half-rate Carer's Allowance
and retain your current Increase for a Qualified Adult in full.
More information is available in our document on half-rate Carer’s Allowance.
Caring for more than one person
If you are providing care to more than one person you may be entitled to an
additional 50% of the maximum rate of Carer's Allowance each week.
Two carers who are providing care on a part-time basis in an established
pattern can also share a single Carer’s Allowance payment and the annual
Respite Care Grant. Each carer must be providing care from Monday to Sunday but
can do so 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).
A carer who is providing care on a part-time basis to someone who attends a
residential institution, for example, every other week, can also be
accommodated on the Carer’s Allowance scheme.
You must meet all the usual qualifying conditions for Carer’s
Respite Care Grant
The Respite Care Grant is automatically paid to people getting Carer's
Allowance in June of each year. You can find out more in our document about the
Respite Care Grant.
Carer's Allowance is a taxable
source of income and should be advised to your local tax
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
Carer's Allowance rates in 2013:
||Maximum weekly rate
|Aged under 66, caring for 1 person
|Aged under 66, caring for 2 or more
|Aged 66 or over and caring for 1 person
|Aged 66+, caring for 2 person
|Increase for a Qualified Child
You may claim a full-rate increase in your payment for a child
dependant if you are a carer and are single, widowed, separated or a civil
partner who is not living with the other civil partner. You may claim a
half-rate increase in your payment for a child dependant if you are a carer and
are living with your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant
You may get credited
social insurance contributions (PRSI) while you are getting a Carer's
How to apply
You should apply for a Carer's Allowance as soon possible. To apply fill in
an application form
for Carer's Allowance (CR1) (pdf). You also fill in a CR2 form (pdf) if you are
caring for more than one person. You can also contact your social welfare local
office or Citizens Information service for the form.
Note that the application form for Carer's Allowance asks for a lot of
detailed information from you. The Department of Social Protection has to work
out your income and the income of your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant to
assess the means of your household. The Department must also examine the
medical condition of the person being cared for to decide if they need
full-time care and attention. In addition, the Department must be satisfied
that you, the carer, are providing full-time care and attention and are able to
do so. You can get help with filling in the form from your local Citizens
There are currently some delays in processing Carer's Allowance payments and
it may take some time for your application to be processed. You may qualify for
Supplementary Welfare Allowance while you are waiting for your claim to be
Payment will be awarded from the date your application is received or from
the date the qualifying payment is awarded, if later. Forward the completed
application form with the relevant certificates to Carer's Allowance Section at
the Department of Social Protection - see address below.
Where to apply
Department of Social Protection
Carer's Allowance Section
Social Welfare Services Office
Tel:(043) 334 0000
Locall:1890 92 77 70
Application forms are also available at your local
social welfare office.