Carer's Allowance

What is Carer’s Allowance?

Carer's Allowance is a weekly social welfare payment to people who care for someone because of their:

  • Age
  • Disability, or
  • Illness (including mental illness).

To qualify for the payment, your income must be below a certain amount (see ‘How your income is assessed for Carer’s Allowance’ below).

If you care for 2 or more people, your rate of Carer's Allowance is increased by 50% (maximum) each week.

If you get another social welfare payment, you may get half-rate Carer’s Allowance.

Carer's Support Grant

If you get Carer's Allowance, you automatically get Carer's Support Grant in June each year.

Other supports for carers

If you get Carer's Allowance, you can also get:

Changes to Carer's Allowance in 2024

From June 2024, the income disregard for Carer's Allowance will increase to €450 for a single person and €900 for a couple.

If you currently get a reduced rate of Carer’s Allowance due to your means, your payment may increase from 6 June 2024. Your payment will be automatically adjusted to reflect the new income disregard, so you don’t need to re-apply.

However, if your circumstances have changed, you must tell the DSP as soon as possible.

Can I get Carer's Allowance?

You can get Carer's Allowance if you care full-time for someone who is:

  • Aged 16 or over, and who is so incapacitated that they need full-time care and attention for at least 12 months, or
  • Aged under 16, and for whom you get Domiciliary Care Allowance.

You can read ‘What counts as full-time care’ below.

As well as providing full-time care, you must:

  • Be aged 18 or over
  • Be habitually resident in Ireland
  • Not be employed, self-employed, doing voluntary work, training, or any education courses for more than 18.5 hours a week
  • Not live in a hospital, convalescent home, or a similar institution
  • Pass a means test (see ‘How your income is assessed for Carer’s Allowance' below)

Care-sharing

You can share your caring responsibilities with another carer, where you each care for the person on a part-time basis.

You both must provide care from Monday to Sunday, but on alternate weeks. By law, anyone providing full-time care on a part-time basis must do so for a complete week (Monday to Sunday).

You must meet all the usual qualifying conditions for Carer’s Allowance.

In this case, you and the second carer share:

  • A single Carer’s Allowance payment, and
  • The annual Carer's Support Grant.

You each get Free Travel.

What counts as full-time care?

To get Carer’s Allowance, you must care full-time for someone who is:

  • Aged 16 or over, and who is so incapacitated that they need full-time care and attention for at least 12 months, or
  • Aged under 16, and for whom you get Domiciliary Care Allowance.

Full-time care means:

  • You continuously supervise the person so they don’t put themselves in danger, or
  • You continuously supervise and assist the person throughout the day with personal care (for example, helping them to eat, drink, get washed and dressed).

You must care for them at least 35 hours per week, over 5-7 days.

The Department of Social Protection (DSP) will decide if you are providing full time care.

Time spent in hospital, respite, or day care

The person you care for cannot live in a hospital, convalescent home, or another similar institution.

However, you can continue getting Carer’s Allowance if:

  • The person you care for attends non-residential rehabilitation training, or a day care centre
  • You or the adult you care for has medical treatment in a hospital (or another treatment in an institution) for up to 13 weeks

Residential care

If you provide care on a part-time basis to someone who attends a residential institution (for example, every other week), you can get Carer’s Allowance for the weeks you provide care.

Moving into a nursing home

If the person you care for moves into a nursing home on a full-time basis, you can continue getting Carer’s Allowance for 12 weeks. You must give the DSP a letter from the nursing home with the date the person was admitted.

Hospital stay after birth of your baby

If your baby is kept in hospital, or in another institution to get medical treatment after their birth, you can continue to qualify for Carer’s Allowance for up to 26 weeks in a 12-month period. This applies to babies born on or after 1 January 2023.

To get Carer’s Allowance, your baby must meet the criteria for Domiciliary Care Allowance. However, you do not need to be getting Domiciliary Care Allowance to get Carer’s Benefit.

If you go on holidays

You can take up to 3 weeks’ holidays in any calendar year (January – December) without this affecting your Carer’s Allowance payment.

If you are away, you must arrange full-time care for the person you care for.

Payment after a death

If the person you care for dies, you will continue getting Carer's Allowance for 12 weeks after their death. This also applies to people who are ‘care-sharing’ (see above).

If you die, your spouse or civil partner can get your Carer’s Allowance for 6 weeks after your death. They must already be getting a separate social welfare payment for themselves.

Means test for Carer’s Allowance

Carer’s Allowance is a means-tested payment.

In a means test, the Department of Social Protection (DSP) looks at all your sources of income. They also look at your spouse, civil partner, or cohabitant’s income. To qualify, your combined weekly income must be below a certain amount.

Your rate of Carer’s Allowance may be reduced depending on your weekly means (see ‘How much is Carer's Allowance’ below).

The main items included in the means test for Carer’s Allowance are:

Cash income

The DSP looks at your cash income (such as payment from work), that you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant may have.

Some cash income is not included in the means test, including certain income from renting a room in your home.

Capital

Capital includes your savings, investments, shares, and any property you have (but not your own home). The first €50,000 of your capital does not affect your Carer’s Allowance payment (or €100,000 if you’re in a couple).

Read about capital not included in the means test. You may also want to read about how a couple’s means are assessed for Carer’s Allowance.

Maintenance

The DSP looks at maintenance paid to you. Read more about how maintenance is assessed as means.

How your means are assessed

To get your total weekly means, the DSP adds your sources of assessable income (such as cash and capital) together.

  • If you are single, €350 of your total weekly income is not taken into account in the means test for Carer’s Allowance.
  • If you are married, in a civil partnership, or cohabiting, the first €750 of your combined total weekly income is not taken into account.

For a couple, your means are taken to be half of the total means of yourself and your spouse, civil partner, or cohabitant. Read our page about assessing the means of a couple for Carer’s Allowance.

You can also find detailed information about the means test for Carer’s Allowance on Gov.ie.

How much is Carer's Allowance?

Your Carer’s Allowance payment is made up of:

You cannot get an increase for a qualified adult with Carer’s Allowance.

Weekly Carer's Allowance rates 2024

Carer

Maximum weekly rate

Increase for a child dependant

Aged under 66, caring for 1 person

€248

 

Child aged under 12: €46 (full rate), €23 (half rate)

Child aged 12 and over: €54 (full rate), €27 (half rate)

Aged under 66, caring for 2 or more people

€372

Aged 66 or over, and caring for 1 person

€286

Aged 66 or over, and caring for 2 or more people

€429

Parenting alone

If you are parenting alone, you can get a full-rate increase for a child dependant.

Living with your spouse or partner

If you live with your spouse, civil partner, or partner, you can get a half-rate increase for a child dependant.

Caring for more than one person

If you care for 2 or more people, your rate of Carer's Allowance is increased by 50% (maximum) each week.

Credits

You may get credited social insurance contributions (PRSI) while you are getting Carer's Allowance.

Tax

Carer's Allowance is a taxable source of income. However, you may not have to pay tax on it if it’s your only source of income.

State Pension (Contributory)

The following schemes can help you qualify for the State Pension (Contributory), or get a higher rate of payment:

If you defer claiming your State Pension (Contributory) to after age 66, you can continue getting Carer’s Allowance. When you start claiming your pension, you will get a half-rate payment if you meet the qualifying conditions.

Getting other payments with Carer’s Allowance

You can get a half-rate Carer’s Allowance paid with other social welfare payments, except the following payments:

One-Parent Family Payment

If you get half-rate Carer’s Allowance, you may also get One-Parent Family Payment until your youngest child turns 16 (as long as you continue to meet the conditions for both schemes).

Jobseeker's Transitional payment

You cannot get Carer’s Allowance with Jobseeker's Transitional payment (JST). However, if you are getting JST and qualify for Carer’s Allowance, you can ask to be assessed for Carer’s Allowance and One-Parent Family Payment (OFP).

If you get OFP, you can get half-rate Carer's Allowance.

How to apply for Carer's Allowance

To apply for Carer’s Allowance, download and fill in an application form for Carer's Allowance (CR1) (pdf).

You can also get this form from:

The final part of the application form (Part 10) is a medical report. It includes a medical report which must be signed by:

  • The person you care for, and
  • Their doctor.

The medical report

The medical report has 3 sections:

  • Section 1: is completed by you and lets you describe the care needs of the person you care for
  • Section 2: is signed by the person you care for. It confirms you are providing them with full-time care and attention, and gives permission to share their medical information with the DSP
  • Section 3: is completed by the doctor of the person you care for.

You don’t need to complete the medical report if you’re applying for a child getting Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA).

Applying to care for more than 1 person

You must fill in an application form for Carer's Allowance (CR1) (pdf) for each person you are caring for.

After you apply

It may take some time for your Carer's Allowance application to be processed. You may get Supplementary Welfare Allowance while you are waiting for your application to be processed.

Appeals

If you think you have been wrongly refused Carer's Allowance, you can appeal this decision. You should appeal within 21 days of getting the decision.

Change of circumstances

If your circumstances change, you must tell the Department of Social Protection (DSP), as it may affect your entitlement to Carer’s Allowance.

You may be able to update your details online using MyWelfare.

If you can’t update your details on MyWelfare, you can tell the DSP about your changed circumstance by phone, email, or post (see contact details under ‘More information’ below).

More information

Read detailed information about Carer’s Allowance on Gov.ie.

You can also get information about supports for carers from Family Carers Ireland (see contact details below).

You can contact your local Citizens Information Centre for help filling in the application form for Carer's Allowance (CR1) (pdf).

Send your application to:

Carer's Allowance Section

Department of Social Protection

Social Welfare Services Office
Government Buildings
Ballinalee Road
Longford
Ireland

Tel: (043) 334 0000 or 0818 927 770

Family Carers Ireland

Market Square
Tullamore
Offaly
Ireland

Tel: (057) 932 2920 and 1800 24 07 24
Page edited: 29 May 2024