Carer's Allowance is a payment to people on low incomes who are looking
after a person who needs support because of age, disability or illness
(including mental illness).
If you qualify for a Carer's Allowance you may also qualify for free
household benefits (if you are living with the person you are caring for)
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
Carer’s Allowance is paid for 12 weeks (previously 6 weeks) after the
death of the person being cared for. Carer's Allowance for carers aged over 66
will increase by €3 a week from 7 January 2016.
The Respite Care Grant will increase to €1,700 in 2016. It has been
renamed the Carer's Support Grant to better reflect how it is used by carers.
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.
- Be habitually
resident in the State.
- Not live in a hospital, convalescent home or other similar institution.
- Be at least 18 years old and
- 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 12 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 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 Allowance.
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.
If you are getting maintenance payments these are assessed (along with any
other source of income) and the first €332.50 (or €665 for a couple) is
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.
If you are parenting alone and you are providing full-time care and
attention to your child or another person you can claim One-Parent
Family Payment and half-rate Carer’s Allowance until your youngest child
turns 16 provided you continue to meet the conditions for both schemes.
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
Carer's Support Grant
The Carer's Support Grant (formerly called 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 Carer's Support 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 payment.
Carer's Allowance rates in 2016
||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 people
|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). The form includes a medical report which
must be signed by the person receiving care and completed by his or her doctor
(a medical report is not necesary if you are caring for a child getting
Domicilary Care Allowance). You also fill in a CR2 form (pdf) if you are
caring for more than one person. You can 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
Welfare Allowance while you are waiting for your claim to be processed.
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.
Carer’s Allowance and Domiciliary Care Allowance
You cannot get a Carer’s Allowance for a child under 16 years of age
Care Allowance is being paid on behalf of that child. In these cases, you
do not need to fill in the medical report when you apply for Carer’s
Allowance. If Domiciliary Care Allowance stops before the child reaches 16
years of age, Carer’s Allowance must also stop.
Carer’s Allowance may be reviewed at any time to make sure that you
continue to be entitled to the payment. When initiating a review, DSP will
contact you and ask you to get a medical report completed by the child’s
doctor and ask you to provide recent evidence to show that the child continues
to require full-time care and attention.
If the DSP find that your child meets the full-time care and attention
criteria, you will continue to get your Carer’s Allowance payment. If your
child no longer meets the full-time care and attention criteria, your claim
will be closed. You can submit more evidence or appeal this decision in the
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 from your local
social welfare office.