A carers allowance is payable to a person giving full time care and attention to certain persons who require it. Secondary benefits are payable.
The person must reside with and provide fulltime care and attention to the other person. Under some circumstances the requirement to live together may not apply.
The carer must not be engaged in employment outside the home or a trade. He or she must be over 18 years and not residing in an institution. An institution can cover range of accommodation and also HSE boarding placements.
An institution covers a hospital, convalescent home or home for persons suffering physical or mental disability and similar establishment. It covers a private dwelling where a person is boarded by arrangement with the Health Service Executive. The carer must be habitually resident.
A carer who does not reside with the person concerned may qualify if there is a direct system of communication between their residences and the person must not already have been receiving care and attention from another.
The person being taken care of, must have a disability which requires fulltime care and attention. He must generally be over 16 years or be under 16 years and be entitled to it domiciliary care allowance.
The disability must be such that the person requires continual supervision and frequent assistance on a daily basis in connection with normal bodily functions or requires supervision to avoid danger.
He must be likely to require full time care and attention for at least a year and the nature of such disability must be certified by a medical doctor. The payments may continue while that person cared for is in an institution undergoing medical or the treatment for up to 13 weeks.
If the carer’s spouse receives a pension or social welfare pension from another state, the level up to the Contributory State Pension is disregarded as means.
The means test is similar to other means test. However, there are some significant differences. The income of a carer and spouse under € 665 per week is disregarded. This income up to €332.50 of a single carer is also disregarded.
The allowance is flat rate payment with increments for children but not the spouses. A special half rates carers’ allowance is payable to certain carers in receipt off other social welfare payments subject to certain conditions.
The carer may undertake employment or self-employment or undertake training or education of 15 hours a week outside the home. The income of a carer and spouse is assessed under the means test. The first €665 of weekly income is disregarded.
Generally, a higher rate is payable, where more than one person is being cared for. There are increases for qualified children. The 2007 Act provides for a half rate allowance. A person is disqualified if absent from the State or in prison.
The person must be habitually resident.
The 2010 Act amends the rules relating to the means test for the Carer’s Allowance scheme so as to exempt any foreign social security payments, up to the appropriate level of the Irish State Pension Contributory, that are paid to the carer or the spouse of the carer. It clarifies that a general income disregard for the purposes of Carer’s Allowance for a couple will not apply to income from a social security payment, whether an Irish social welfare payment or an EU or foreign social security payment.
The 2011 Act provides for discontinuing the current entitlement to the payment of a half-rate qualified child increase where the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the beneficiary has weekly income in excess of a prescribed amount (i.e. €400) in the case of new claimants for Carer’s Benefit, State Pension (Contributory), State Pension (Transition) and Invalidity Pension, with effect from the beginning of July 2012. It also extends the reference to the ‘‘spouse’’ of the beneficiary, in the case of similar provisions applying to the Incapacity Supplement scheme, to include a reference also to the ‘‘civil partner or cohabitant’’ of the beneficiary.
The 2015 Act provided for the amendment of the Carer’s Benefit, Carer’s Allowance and Respite Care Grant schemes in order to— — clarify the circumstances in which a person is to be considered as requiring full-time care and attention for the purposes of qualifying for these schemes, and — clarify that eligibility for these schemes is determined by a deciding officer on the basis of all the information provided to support the applicant’s claim, including all relevant medical evidence in relation to the requirement for care.
The 2016 Act amended the definition of a “qualified adult” in the Act to formally provide that, as has been the policy intent and practice since the introduction of the half-rate Carer’s Allowance payment in 2007, a person in respect of whom an increase for a qualified adult is being paid is not disqualified from receipt of a half-rate Carer’s Allowance in his/her own right.
The 2018 Act provides for the continued payment of the Domiciliary Care Allowance for three months in cases where the child being cared for dies and for increases in the weekly earnings disregard for recipients of the One-parent Family payment.
The 2018 Act provided for the formal repeal of the Prescribed Relative Allowance, a legacy scheme which had been closed to new applicants since the introduction in 1990 of the Carer’s Allowance scheme.
The 2019 Act updates the legislative provisions governing entitlement to Carer’s Allowance to confirm that the definition of a relevant person (i.e. a person who requires full-time care and attention) means, in the case of a person aged under 16, a person in respect of whom a Domiciliary Care Allowance is in payment.
A Respite Care Grant is an annual payment of up to €1700. It may be paid to a person
- ordinarily resident in the State,
- over 16 years of age,
- in receipt of a Carer’s Benefit or Carer’s Allowance or a prescribed a relative in relation to whom an allowance is payable;
- providing full time care and attention to the person who is in receipt of an increase of Disablement Pension, in need for constant attention;
- resides with, has provided or is providing full-time care and attention for such periods as may be prescribed in relation to the person;
- or subject to conditions does not reside with but has provided or is providing or is likely to provide full-time care and attention for such periods as may be prescribed.
The relevant person is defined in the same way as the person who is receiving care for the purpose of the Carer’s Allowance and Benefit. Respite Care is not subject to means tests or contribution requirements.
2008 amendments provide that the Grant is not paid to persons
- who engage in employment or self-employment,
- are entitled to or in receipt of Jobseeker’s Benefit or Allowance;
- in receipt of credited contributions in respect of unemployment;
- or if the person receiving care is resident in an institution.
Institution is defined in the same way as above.
The carer must be ordinarily resident in the State.
A carer may be regarded as providing full time care and attention when
- the carer is undergoing medical or other treatment of a temporary nature in intuitions for a period of not more than 13 weeks;
- the person being cared for is undergoing medical or other treatment of a temporary nature in an institution; or
- is temporarily being cared for or residing with another for a period of not more than 13 weeks;
- the person being cared for is attending a non-residential course of rehabilitation training provided by a body recognised by the Department of Health or a non-residential place of day care approved by the Minister for Health or
- the carer is undertaking a training course or education outside the home for up to 15 hours per week, subject to such conditions as may be specified.
A carer is disqualified from receiving the Respite Care Grant if he fails without good cause to attend, submit to medical examination.
The 2012 Act reduced the amount of the annual Respite Care Grant by €325, from €1,700 to €1,375. The new rate applied to all claimants who qualify for the annual Respite Care Grant in June 2013 and in each subsequent year.
The 2015 Act provided for the renaming of the Respite Care Grant to Carer’s Support Grant. It provided for every reference to Respite Care Grant in the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 and the Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations 2007 to be amended to Carer’s Support Grant. The 2015 Act provided for an increase of €325 to the annual Carer’s Support Grant (currently the Respite Care Grant) from €1,375 to €1,700.
The 2015 Act provided for the amendment of the Carer’s Benefit, Carer’s Allowance and Respite Care Grant schemes in order to clarify the circumstances in which a person is to be considered as requiring full-time care and attention for the purposes of qualifying for these schemes, and clarify that eligibility for these schemes is determined by a deciding officer on the basis of all the information provided to support the applicant’s claim, including all relevant medical evidence in relation to the requirement for care.
The 2020 Act provided for an increase of €150 in the Carer’s Support Grant, raising the payment to €1,850. The Carer’s Support Grant (formerly called the Respite Care Grant) is an annual payment for carers who look after certain people in need of full-time care and attention. The grant is paid annually in a single lump sum, usually on the first Thursday in June. The grant is not means-tested and is not taxable.