Benefits and carers

Anyone helping someone living with cancer, including a partner, parent, relative, neighbour or friend, may be entitled to extra money from the government.

This page gives information on the benefits you may be able to claim and how Maggie's can help.

Claiming benefits as a carer

You have to be caring for someone for over 35 hours a week to claim benefits as a carer.

Caring could mean:

  • Helping with personal care
  • Offering emotional support
  • Helping with admin
  • Just being there for them

You might spread your 35 hours over the week or do it all in one block, for example, over a weekend.

You don't have to keep a record, but both you and the person you care for will need to confirm that you generally spend over 35 hours together.

What benefits am I entitled to as a carer?

Helping someone with cancer might mean lost income and extra costs like travel or childcare.

You may be entitled to claim:

  • Carer's Allowance
  • Extra carer's amounts within low income benefits

If you have your own health problems you can claim carer's benefits and your own sickness and disability benefits too.

Carer’s Allowance (CA)

Carers Allowance is a benefit available to carers over the age of 16 worth £67.25 a week.

In Scotland only, Carer's Allowance is topped up with a lump sum every six months. In time, Carer's Allowance and the extra payment will merge and become Carer’s Assistance worth £74.35 a week.

To make a claim, you must:

  • Be aged over 16 but there is no upper limit so you can be of pension age
  • Care for someone over 35 hours a week
  • Know the person you are caring for is claiming disability benefits at the right rate
  • Work less than 16 hours a week
  • Earn less than £128 a week
  • Not be in full time education

Apart from earnings, your other income and savings don't make a difference to your claim.

It can take a while to be approved but your claim will be backdated. In the meantime, talk to a Benefits Advisor at your nearest Maggie's centre, about other benefits you can claim.

Low income benefits

You might be entitled to claim low income benefits and if you're a carer you may get an extra amount within them. The benefits you may claim are:

You can claim for low income benefits as well as Carer's Allowance.

Benefits for for carers who work

If you're working and caring for someone you can still claim benefits but it will depend on how much you earn and how many hours you work.

If you are eligible for Universal Credit you will still get an extra carer's amount regardless of your hours and earnings.

    Carers who are unwell themselves

    If you have your own health issues, or a disability, and are claiming benefits for this reason, you may claim for carer's benefits too.

    Two people can act as carers for each other and both can claim carer's benefits alongside their own disability benefit.

    The exception is Universal Credit where you cannot get both the extra amount for carers and the extra amount for being unwell.

    Other benefits if I am on a low income

    Other benefits for carers on a low income can include Universal Credit (UC), legacy benefits, health benefits and other help from the council to help with:

    • Paying the rent 
    • Low or reduced earnings
    • Costs of looking after children
    • Health costs.

    Helping someone else with their benefits

    As a carer, you may need to deal with benefits claims for the person you are looking after. 

    The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will discuss their claim with you if:

    • You can answer some security questions to show you know about the person's benefits situation. 
    • For Universal Credit (UC) only, you need consent from the person you are caring for. They can do this via the journal section of their UC online account. Consent needs to be for a specific issue and will only last for up to a month at a time.

    If the person you look after would like you to take over the full handling of their benefits claims, then you can become:

    • An appointee for their benefits – the DWP can grant this so you can sign forms, discuss issues and report changes on their behalf
    • Power of attorney – a more wide-ranging permission to take over full control of all finances. This is a more formal and complex process than becoming an appointee for benefits.

    Maggie's can help with money worries

    Understanding which benefits might apply to you and how to claim can feel like navigating through a maze – but we're here to help.

    You can get individual advice about your situation from one of our experienced Benefits Advisors at your nearest Maggie's centre.

    A Maggie’s Benefits Advisor can help you to:

    • Understand what benefits or other support applies to you if you have cancer or are caring for someone who does
    • Fill out application forms
    • Discuss issues that come up as you go through the claims process or if your circumstances change over time.

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