Carer's Allowance is payment made by the Department of Social and Family Affairs for carers who are looking after someone who is in need of support because of age, physical or learning disability or illness, including mental illness. It is a means tested payment and mainly paid to carers on low incomes who live with and look after certain people in need of full-time care and attention. Carer’s usually live with the person they are caring for but it is not essential to do so.
Non Resident Carer
You may also qualify for Carer's Allowance if you are not living with the person in need of support and can show the following when applying for Carer's Allowance:
- A direct system of communication exists between your home and the person you are caring for, for example, telephone or alarm system, and
- The person being cared for is not already receiving full-time care and attention within their own home from a person other than you, the applicant.
In these cases, you must show that full-time care and attention is being provided to the person being cared for.
Qualifying for Carer’s Allowance
You will qualify if you the carer:
- Are aged 18 or over
- Satisfy a means test
- Live with the person you are looking after or can be contacted quickly by a direct system of communication (for example, telephone or alarm) between your home and the home of the person you are caring for
- Care for the person on a full-time basis
- Take up limited self-employment or are not employed outside the home for more than 15 hours a week
The person being cared for must need:
- Continuous supervision and frequent help throughout the day with their personal needs, such as walking and getting about, dressing, washing, eating and drinking
- Continuous supervision to avoid danger to themselves
- Full-time care and attention for at least 12 months.
The person being cared for may also attend an approved day centre or non-residential course of rehabilitation training.
Carers who are providing care to more than one person may be entitled to up to 50% extra of the maximum rate of Carer's Allowance each week, depending on the weekly means assessed.
You, the carer, may:
- Attend an educational or training course or take up voluntary or community work for up to 15 hours a week
- Work part-time as a Home Help for the Health Service Executive for up to 15 hours a week (your earnings will not be assessed as means)
- Take up limited self-employment in your home (any earnings will be assessed as means)
- Take up employment outside your home for up to 15 hours a week
- Also be caring for a child on Domiciliary Care Allowance from the Health service Executive.
You must first clear any employment with the Department of Social and Family Affairs. Any income, except earnings from working part-time as a Home Help for the Health Service Executive, will be assessed as means. During your absence, there must be adequate care for the person requiring full-time care and attention arranged.
The Department of Social and Family affairs are flexible when assessing the need to provide full-time care and attention and consider the needs of the carer, and the person receiving the care.
As stated earlier carer’s allowance is means tested. This means that the total household income is assessed to find out if you qualify for the grant and at what level of assistance. Your means are any income belonging to you or your spouse or partner, property (except your own home) or an asset that could bring in money or provide you with an income, for example occupational pensions or pensions or benefits from another country.
To carry out a means test, a Social Welfare Inspector will ask you for details of your means. The Inspector will do this at your local Social Welfare Office or may call to you at your home. They may also ask you to produce documents such as, accounts or bank statements. Please give details of all your means when completing your application form. A Deciding Officer will make a decision on your entitlement to a pension based on the means test.
What does not count as means?
The following do not count as means:
- Your own home
- Your spouse’s or partner's welfare payment or payment from the Health Service Executive
- Income earned as a part-time Home Help with the Health Service Executive
- Contributions to Personal Retirement Savings Account(s) (PRSAs) since April 2006.
If you are married or living with another person as husband and wife, you will assessed on half of the combined capital held by both of you. Payment is awarded from the date of application.
How to apply
For more information on carers allowance, contact your local Social Welfare Office or go to www.welfare.ie. You can also get information booklets and application forms from your local Social Welfare Office, or by telephoning the Department’s LoCall Leaflet Request Line at 1890 20 23 25.
Other useful contacts:
Carer’s Allowance Section, Social Welfare Services Office, Government Buildings, Ballinalee Road, Longford
Tel: Longford (043) 334 0000
Locall: 1890 92 77 70
Dublin (01) 704 3000 ext 48940
Citizen’s Information Centres
LoCall: 1890 777 121
Monday to Friday, 9am-9pm
Citizens Information provides comprehensive information on all aspects of Public Services and entitlements for citizens in Ireland and is based on a personal approach to the presentation and delivery of information on public services and the social and civil rights of everyone in Ireland. Citizens Information is also available by calling in person to a Citizens Information Centre near you. This is a free and confidential service.
HSE National Information Line
Monday to Saturday, 8am-8pm
Call Save: 1850 24 1850