The Carer's Allowance is a payment for carers on low incomes who
live with and look after certain people who need full-time care and
attention. 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.
The Carer's Allowance is paid by a book of payable orders, which can
be cashed each week at a Post Office chosen by you.
You will also qualify for free household benefits (such as Free
Electricity/Natural Gas/Bottled Gas Refill Allowance, Free
Television Licence, Free Telephone Rental Allowance) and a Free
Respite Care Grant
This is available to all Carers getting Carer's Allowance, Carer's
Benefit or who are caring for a child and receiving Domiciliary Care
Allowance in respect of that child. The grant is paid automatically
in June each year. The amount is 735 euro (835 euro from June 2004)
and 1,470 euro for carers looking after more than one person (1,670
euro from June 2004).
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 have the option of
appealing this decision.
In order 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.
You must be resident in the state
You must not live in a hospital, convalescent home or other similar
You must be at least 18 years old and
You must not be engaged in employment or self-employment outside the
home for more than 10 hours a week. During your absence, adequate
care for the person requiring full-time care and attention must be
The person being cared for must be:
Over the age of 16 and so incapacitated as to require full-time care
and attention or
Aged under 16 and in receipt of a Domiciliary Care Allowance.
The person receiving care is regarded as requiring full-time care
and attention where
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 functions, and
he or she is so incapacitated as to be likely to require full-time
care and attention for a period of at least twelve months
What Counts as Means?
Your means are any income you or your spouse/partner 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,
pensions/benefits from another country.
Investments and Savings
The actual income from investments and money in a savings account is
not taken as your means. Instead investment items (listed below) are
added together and a special formula is used to work out your means,
i.e., cash value of investments and property, money in a savings
account, cash-in-hand or money in a current account.
The first 12,697.38 euro of the capital is disregarded.
From 13,967.12 euro* to 25,394.76 euro* (inclusive), the value is
assessed at 1.27 euro per week for every 1,269.74 euro.
From 26,664.50 euro* to 38,092.14 euro* (inclusive), the value is
assessed at 2.54 euro per week for every 1,269.74 euro.
From 38,092.14 euro the value is assessed at 5.08 euro per week for
every 1,269.74 euro.
*These amounts are doubled in the case of married/cohabiting
How means are assessed
The means test for the Carer's Allowance involves assessing the
applicant's income (excluding his/her home). The amount of weekly
income that is disregarded is 250 euro.
In the case of a married/cohabiting couple's income (except for
social welfare payments from other states, to which special rules
apply), the first 500 euro of their combined weekly income is
disregarded. If there are dependent children, an allowance of 2.54
euro per week is disregarded for each child up to age 18 (up to age
22 if they are in full-time education).
If the applicant is already receiving a social welfare payment,
he/she will not be entitled to the Carer's Allowance. However, if
the Carer's Allowance is applied for and the current social welfare
payment is less than the Carer's Allowance and the applicant
satisfies the criteria, he/she will receive the Carer's Allowance.
If your spouse/partner is getting a payment from the Department of
Social and Family Affairs that includes an increase for you as a
qualified adult, he/she will no longer be entitled to this increase.
However, his/her payment will not be assessed as means against you
and you may qualify for a Carer's Allowance at the full rate.
Your payment is made up of a personal rate for yourself and extra
amounts for your child dependants. The amount you will get depends
on your means. You can claim an extra allowance for a child if
he/she is under age 18, normally lives with you and is maintained by
you. Where a child is in full-time education by day at a recognised
school or college, this increase is payable up to the end of the
academic year in which he/she reaches age 22. Full rate Child
Dependant Allowance is payable if you are single, widowed or
separated. Half the Child Dependant Allowance is payable if you are
living with your spouse/partner. If your spouse / partner is getting
a payment from the Department of Social and Family Affairs, he/she
will also get half the Child Dependant Allowance and you will get
half the Child Dependant Allowance.
Personal rate, aged under 66: 139.60 euro
Personal rate, aged 66+: 157.80 euro
There is no qualified adult payment
Child dependant: 16.80 euro each
You may get credited social insurance contributions (PRSI)
How to apply
You should apply for a Carer's Allowance as soon possible. Contact
your local Social Welfare local office for a copy of the form.
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 Carers Allowance Section at the Department of Social
and Family Affairs (see adddress below).
Where to apply
If the person you are caring for is receiving an Irish Invalidity
Pension (or equivalent payment from a country covered by EU
Regulations or a country with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social
Security Agreement), send your application to:
Social Welfare Services Office,
Tel:043-45211 (Extension 8794 or 8795
If the person you are caring for is
receiving Disability Allowance (formerly Disabled Persons
Maintenance Allowance (DPMA), send your application to:
Carer's Allowance Section,
Welfare Services Office,
Tel:043-45211 (Extension 8794 or 8795
For all other claims send your
Carer's Allowance Section,
Pension Services Office,
Tel: (01) 704 3000.
Application forms are available at
your local social welfare office.