Q. My mother has been quite unwell for a while now, which has meant I have had to step in to make sure she is taken care of on pretty much a full-time basis. I have been told to look into the Carer’s Allowance. Am I even eligible and how do I apply?
I hope your mother is feeling well, situations like this can be quite stressful. I think your question will be of interest to lots of people who find themselves in a carer’s role.
Carer’s Allowance is a weekly social welfare payment for people who are caring for someone who needs support because of their age, disability, or illness (including mental illness).
The person you are caring for must be either aged 16 or over and so incapacitated that they need full-time care and attention, or under 16 and getting Domiciliary Care Allowance. In the case of your and your mother, the former of course applies.
To apply for the Carers Allowance, you yourself must be 18 or over and be providing full-time care (35+hrs per week) to a person not living in a hospital or other institution. You cannot be working, studying, volunteering, or training more than 18.5 hours a week, and you must meet the habitual residence condition and pass a means test.
In terms of the means test, your income must fall below a certain amount to qualify. If you are single, €350 of your total weekly income is not considered in the means test. If you are part of a couple, the first €750 of your combined total weekly income is not considered. The first €50,000 of your capital (sacings, investments, property excluding your home) is also not considered.
The allowance itself is made up of a personal rate for yourself and extra amounts for any child dependants.
If you are under 66, the maximum weekly rate is €236 if you are caring for one person, and €354 if you are caring for two or more people.
If you are 66 or over, the maximum weekly rates are €274 (one person) and €411 (two or more). You can also get increases for child dependants.
To apply, you can complete a Carer’s Allowance form for your mother and post it to the Carer’s Allowance Section in the Department of Social Protection.
Part of the form includes a medical report (not required for people caring for a child receiving Domicilary Care Allowance), which must be signed by your mother and her doctor. You can get this form from your local Intreo Centre, Social Welfare office, or Citizens Information Centre.
Limerick Citizens Information Centre answer your questions in the Limerick Post. If you have a question relating to social welfare issues, tenant or consumer rights, immigration, money, tax, housing, or employment, email email@example.com, call 0818 075 780, or drop in to Riverstone House, Henry Street, V93 T28.