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"No society can exist without a caring hand. The children, who life has  given into our care for some time, are the ones, who are caring for us some day."

Victor Hugo


Carers Allowance



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 Travel Pass.
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.
Rules
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 institution
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 arranged.
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 couples.
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.
Rates
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
Credits
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:
 

    Carer's Allowance Section,
    Social Welfare Services Office,
    Government Buildings,
    Ballinalee Road,
    Longford.
    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,

    Social Welfare Services Office,
    Government Buildings,
    Ballinalee Road,
    Longford
    Tel:043-45211 (Extension 8794 or 8795
   

For all other claims send your application to:
   

    Carer's Allowance Section,
    Pension Services Office,
    College Road,
    Sligo.
    Tel: (01) 704 3000.

 

Application forms are available at your local social welfare office.

 

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