What is Carer’s Allowance 2023?

Carer’s Allowance (CA) is a means-tested payment made to a parent who has a child with additional needs and living in Ireland. Often, parents might have to stop working to become a full-time Carer but can potentially work up to 18.5 hours per week.

Once your child receives Domiciliary Care Allowance or Disability Allowance, then your case should meet the care needs. The Department’s sole focus will then switch to the means-test.

What is the means-test for Carer’s Allowance in 2023?

The main part of the assessment is the combined family salary. Couples with combined earnings of less than €750 per week and €350 for a single parent are exempted.

For salary earnings over these limits, a sliding scale of reduction applies to your CA, leading to a reduction in your payment until your application is refused.

Any savings, investments, shares, second property equity or other assets over €50,000 value will affect your application. For each thousand you are over, your weekly CA will be reduced by a set percentage.

There can also be a slight increase in your calculation if you contribute to a pension, travel to work, pay union dues and pay PRSI. Please don’t get too excited; it doesn’t make a substantial difference.

You will also be glad to know that your family home will only be assessed if you receive an income from it. However, how much you pay on mortgage repayments, utility bills, car loans and other costs cannot be deducted from the means-test.

How much will I receive on Carer’s Allowance?

You will receive around €236 per week plus a slight increase depending on the size of your family. This can be lowered if your family’s financial assessment is over the limit as described above.

If you have more than one child with additional needs, you will receive one and half times, which is a payment of around €354 per week.

Can parents who are self-employed or a director qualify for Carer’s Allowance?

Yes, once you can prove you work less than 18.5 hours per week and pass the means-test. A statement of your accounts or other proof is essential.

What’s the difference between Carer’s Allowance and Carer’s Benefit (CB)?

CA is means-tested, and Carer’s Benefit is more based on having sufficient PRSI contribution.

If you qualify for both the CA and CB, always take CA. There is no restriction on how long you can take CA, unlike CB, which is only available for 104 weeks. So don’t use up your CB unnecessarily. You also get additional entitlements while on CA.

One further note is that both CA and CBs are taxable sources of income and should be declared to the Revenue.

What can I do if I can’t pass the means-test for Carer’s Allowance?

The CA assessment is very harsh. Appealing under the care aspect you provide will not change the result of the means-test. It is worth contacting Citizen Information as they have the calculator to see if your financial assessment was carried out correctly.

If the Department doesn’t approve your application for CA, you could possibly apply for the non-means-tested CB.

How long can I continue to claim Carer’s Allowance?

Once you meet the criteria, you can continue to claim Carer’s Allowance even in retirement. Lots of my families don’t qualify for Carer’s Allowance during their working careers but are pleasantly surprised to be eligible for Carer’s Allowance when they retire as their pensions are lower than their previous salaries.

What additional entitlements will I receive with my Carer’s Allowance?

When you receive CA, you also qualify for additional entitlements such as Carer’s Support Grant, Household Benefits Package and Free Travel Pass. The Travel Pass is for the Carer and not for the child, as some parents may assume.

All parents on CA are entitled to a free GP Visit Card. If you qualify for the CA, it is worth checking if your family may be eligible for a Medical Card. Remember to keep your child’s medical card separate, as they may automatically qualify while on Domiciliary Care Allowance or Disability Allowance.

How long does Carer’s Allowance take to process in 2023?

Processing times for 2023 are hard to find. When speaking to parents, I generally hear of a waiting time of around 12 weeks.

Before sending off your form, double-check that you have answered each section to avoid unnecessary delays in processing your application. As always, do photocopy everything before posting just in case your file goes missing.

Can Carer’s Allowance be backdated?

It is rare to hear back from my families that they have successfully backdated their claim. This is why it is so important to get your application off in the post, even if you are waiting on some information. You can always send this afterwards.

The Department usually use the date they receive your application as the start date. In certain circumstances where “good cause” is shown for the delay in making a claim, they may make an exception and award a backdated claim of up to 6 months.

Can Carer’s Allowance be reviewed?

Parents must inform the Department if there are any changes in their circumstances. Also, CA may be reviewed by the Department of Social Protection at any time to make sure that you can continue with your payment. When initiating a review, the Department will contact you and request specific information.

A review by the Department is stressful. The result is usually a reduction or, in many cases, lots of our parents losing their CA if their income levels have risen since their initial application.

Should I ask for Carer’s Allowance to be reviewed?

If you have been one of the unlucky parents to have been turned down or got your payment reduced because of the means-test prior to June 2022. Now is the time to do a bit of investigation, and fingers crossed, you might end up with a little bit more in your pocket as the means-test is slightly more generous from July 2022 onwards.

Before you rush off and contact the Carer’s Allowance Department, I strongly encourage parents to ring Citizen Information first on 0761 07 4000. They have the Carer’s Allowance calculator and will be able to give you an estimate of your new rate if you were to apply or appeal. Before you call, have a recent payslip, bank statements, list of any assets you own, and this should give you the information you need to base your next step.

How to apply for Carer’s Allowance?

I recommended that you apply for CA at least 12 weeks before your planned start date. You can download the application form here.

You can post your Carer’s Allowance application to Social Welfare Services Office, Government Buildings, Ballinalee Road, Co. Longford, N39 E4E0. For more information, you can contact the Carer’s Allowance Department on 0818 927770 or email CarersAllowance@welfare.ie Website: https://www.gov.ie/en/service/2432ba-carers-allowance/

Can Carer’s Allowance be refused?

Yes, unfortunately, I have come across many families who have been turned down when applying for the CA. Most refusals are because the parents don’t pass the means-test. I have also met with parents who were refused as the Department believes there is no additional care needed.

If you are refused CA, you can appeal this decision. You should appeal within 21 days of getting the decision. For more information on how to appeal, click on this link