A Guide to Benefits if you care for a disabled adult
If you are caring for a disabled adult it can be confusing to work out whether you are entitled to any benefits. The following guide provides some information about benefits you may be able to claim.
If you have questions about your rights at work please see our website section for parents and carers of dependants with a disability.
If you spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a disabled adult and they get the middle or higher rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) (or Adult Disability Payment in Scotland), or Attendance Allowance (AA) you may be able to get Carer’s Allowance.
Carer’s Allowance does not depend on household income, however, if you are working you can only claim it if you earn no more than the lower earnings limit, which is £138 a week (April 2023/24).
It is important to note that claiming Carer’s Allowance can affect the benefits of the disabled person you are caring for. If the person you are caring for gets a severe disability premium paid with their benefits or an extra amount paid for severe disability in Pension Credit, they will stop getting this if you claim Carer’s Allowance for them. If you are not sure it is best to get advice. Citizens Advice may be able to help with any queries you have about this.
If you are on a low income and you are not already claiming Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit or Tax Credits, you could consider claiming Universal Credit (UC). This is a benefit which will replace those benefits and so if you claim it, they will usually stop. You could end up worse off, so always seek advice. However, if you are not claiming these benefits, UC may be worth claiming.
UC takes into account your household finances, so if you live with a partner, your joint income and savings are taken into account when calculating your entitlement. Any disabled adult you are caring for is not included in your claim, and their income and savings are not taken into account, unless they are your partner and you live together. You cannot claim UC if you have savings or assets over £16,000 (excluding the home you live in).
Universal Credit can include a housing costs element to help with rent or some eligible service charges. If you live with an adult who gets DLA, PIP (Adult Disability Payment in Scotland) or Attendance Allowance, you may be allowed an extra bedroom in the calculation if they cannot share a bedroom due to their disability. This applies regardless of whether or not the disabled person is your partner.
If you provide at least 35 hours of care a week for a disabled adult, and they get the middle or higher rate of the care component of DLA, the daily living component of PIP (Adult Disability Payment in Scotland) or Attendance Allowance, UC can include a carer element. You do not have to claim Carer’s Allowance (see above) to get the carer element of UC. If you claim Carer’s Allowance you will still get the carer element of UC, but any Carer’s Allowance you are paid is deducted from your UC payment. You aren’t worse off by claiming both together, but you aren’t any better off either.
UC is a benefit that has work-related requirements, however, if you are entitled to the carer element you do not have to work or look for work as a condition of entitlement to UC. If the disabled adult you are caring for is not getting the middle or higher rate of the care component of DLA, the daily living component of PIP (Adult Disability Payment in Scotland), or Attendance Allowance, you will be expected to work or look for work whilst on UC, however, if they are dependent on you for care you may be able to limit what you are expected to do to fit around your caring responsibilities.
See our page on Universal Credit for more information.
The government has produced detailed guidance on UC which provides lots of information about whether UC is right for you, how it works and what you might be expected to do whilst claiming it.
The best way to check if you are eligible for UC is to use an online benefits calculator.
Housing Benefit has been abolished and replaced with Universal Credit for most new claims. You can only make a new claim for Housing Benefit in very limited circumstances. If you need help with rent you might be able to claim Universal Credit instead which can include a housing costs element (see above).
If you are already claiming Housing Benefit and the disabled adult you are caring for is your partner make sure you tell your local authority if they are on DLA, PIP (Adult Disability Payment in Scotland) or Attendance Allowance as the number of bedrooms allowed for in the calculation could be higher if they are unable to share a bedroom with you because of a disability and they are on one of these benefits.
If you are already on Housing Benefit and you move to new rented accommodation within the same local authority, you should be able to stay on Housing Benefit as long as there is no gap in your claim.
Help with Council Tax
If you are on a low income you may be entitled to extra help with your council tax through Council Tax Reduction (sometimes called council tax support or rebate) which can reduce the amount of council tax you have to pay. This scheme is administered by your local authority and whether you are entitled and the amount of help you can get is determined by them.
You can also get extra discounts off your council tax if an adult in your household is disabled. If someone in your household needs an extra bathroom, kitchen or other room because of their disability or they need extra space for using a wheelchair you may qualify for the disabled band reduction scheme.
If you live with a disabled adult who has a ‘severe mental impairment‘ they will not be counted as an adult when working out council tax liability. They’ll need a medical certificate from their GP or other medical professional to show that they are severely mentally impaired.
There may also be other financial support you are entitled to as a carer, such as help with health costs and discounts off your energy bill if you are on a low income.
The Carers UK website has lots of information about Carer’s Allowance and other financial help for carers.
Working Families has useful information if you need to change your hours at work because of your caring responsibilities.
This advice applies in England, Wales and Scotland. If you live in another part of the UK, the law may differ. Please call our helpline for more details. If you are in Northern Ireland you can visit the Labour Relations Agency or call their helpline Workplace Information Service on 03300 555 300.
If you have further questions and would like to contact our advice team please use our advice contact form below or call us.
The information on the law contained on this site is provided free of charge and does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice to any person on a specific case or matter. If you are not a solicitor, you are advised to obtain specific legal advice about your case or matter and not to rely solely on this information. Law and guidance is changing regularly in this area.
We cannot provide advice on employment rights in Northern Ireland as the law is different. You can visit the Labour Relations Agency or call their helpline Workplace Information Service on 03300 555 300.