It can be hard to find out what benefits you are entitled to as a family carer. In addition, it can be a frustrating process applying for the different benefits. To find out what you are entitled to, see the Citizens Information website here or read about benefits for family carers below.


Carer’s Benefit

Carer’s Benefit is a payment made to insured people who leave the workforce to care for a person(s) in need of full-time care and attention. You can get Carer’s Benefit for a total period of 104 weeks for each person being cared for. This may be claimed as a single continuous period or in any number of separate periods up to a total of 104 weeks. However, if you claim Carer’s Benefit for less than six consecutive weeks in any given period, you must wait for a further six weeks before you can claim Carer’s Benefit to care for the same person again.

If you are caring for more than one person, you may receive payment for each care recipient for 104 weeks. This may result in the care periods overlapping or running concurrently. For more information click here.


Carer’s Allowance

Carer’s Allowance is a means tested payment paid at a maximum weekly rate of €204 in 2014 to people who are looking after a person who needs full-time support because of age, disability or illness (including mental illness).

If you qualify for full-time Carer’s Allowance, you also qualify for the Household Benefits Package (if you are living with the person you are caring for), a Free Travel Pass  and the annual Carer Support Grant. Carer’s Allowance is not taken into account in the assessment for a medical card. For more information click here.


Half-rate Carer’s Allowance

Half-rate Carer’s Allowance is a means-tested payment, paid at a maximum weekly rate of €102 in 2014 to persons providing full-time care for a person in need of such care. If you are getting certain social welfare payments and you are providing full-time care to another person, you can keep your main social welfare payment and get a half-rate Carer’s Allowance as well. If you are in one of the following situations you may qualify for half-rate Carer’s Allowance:

  • Already getting Carer’s Allowance but also meet the qualifying criteria for another social welfare payment
  • Changed from another social welfare payment to Carer’s Allowance
  • Caring for someone and being claimed for by a spouse, civil partner or cohabitant
  • Getting a social welfare payment other than Carer’s Allowance and caring for someone

For more information click here.


**The Carer’s Benefit and Carer’s Allowance are taxable sources of income. When a carer is first awarded either of these payments he or she is obliged to inform Revenue of the payment.


Carer Support Grant

The Carer Support Grant is an annual payment of €1,700 (as of 2016) made to carers by the Department of Social Protection. Carers can use the grant in whatever way they wish. You can use the grant to pay for respite care if you wish, but you do not have to do so. See here for more information about respite care facilities.

On the first Thursday in June each year the Department of Social Protection pays the grant automatically to carers getting Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s BenefitDomiciliary Care Allowance or Prescribed Relative’s Allowance from the Department. A full Carer Support Grant is paid for each person receiving care. For more information on how to apply click here.


Secondary Benefit

Everyone getting Carer’s Allowance qualifies for a Free Travel Pass in his/ her own right, the Household Benefits Package (if the carer lives with the person being cared for) and the Carer Support Grant.


Credited Contributions

If you have had to give up work to care full time you can apply for credited contributions or credits. These credits help protect your future entitlement to social welfare benefits and pensions. However, if your last paid PRSI contribution was more than two years before receiving the Carer’s Allowance then you will not receive credits but will need to apply for them under the Homemakers Scheme.