Carers may be entitled to a number of supports from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. If you are caring for someone, a disabled child or adult or an older person, you may qualify for a carer’s payment. The two main social welfare payments for carers providing full-time care are Carer’s Allowance and Carer’s Benefit. You may also qualify for an annual Carer’s Support Grant.
Carer’s Benefit is a short-term payment paid for up to 24 months to people who give up employment to care on a full-time basis for someone who requires full-time care and attention. After one year’s service, employees may take unpaid Carer’s Leave of up to 2 years to provide full-time care for someone who needs it. Carer’s Benefit may be paid during this time. Additional payments are made if you are looking after more than one person. If you do not qualify for Carer’s Benefit you may qualify for Carer’s Allowance.
Carer’s Allowance is a payment for people who are caring on a full-time basis for someone who requires full-time care and attention and will require it for at least 12 months. You must satisfy a means test and the habitual residency condition. A half-rate Carer’s Allowance is payable with certain other social welfare payments, this means that you can keep your main social welfare payment and get half-rate Carer’s Allowance as well. If you get Carer’s Allowance you are entitled to a Free Travel Pass.
If the person you are caring for is under 16 you must be getting Domiciliary Care Allowance to qualify for Carer’s Allowance.
Domiciliary Care Allowance is a monthly payment made to the carer of a child with a severe disability who lives at home. When your child reaches 16 years of age he or she may qualify for Disability Allowance. If you continue to provide full-time care and attention for your child you can retain your carer’s payment.
If you are caring for a dependent child you may be entitled to an Incapacitated Child Tax Credit. If you are employing a carer, you may be entitled to claim a tax allowance for employing a carer for a disabled person.
The Carer’s Support Grant is an annual payment made to carers, aged 16 or over, providing full-time care for at least 6 months a year. However, this period must include the first Thursday in June. You are allowed to work for a certain number of hours each week. A Carer’s Support Grant is paid for each person being cared for. If you are getting Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit or Domiciliary Care Allowance you do not need to apply for the grant, it is automatically paid to you in June. Respite care can allow any carer to take a break from caring.
Under the Homemaker’s Scheme, if you give up work to care full-time for a child under 12 or a disabled child or adult, you may be able to have these years disregarded or not taken into account when your yearly average is calculated for your State Pension (Contributory).
There are a number of organisations that provide support and advice to carers.