Benefits maze query

Hi everyone,

I’ve just realised I have been caring for some time now but the needs of my parent are more acute so it’s really hit me.

I can only work part-time remotely and cannot seem to apply for carers allowance because as a freelancer my income fluctuates but at times is more than the minimum weekly requirement.

Is there any other help which I am missing. Looking for a grant perhaps.


Hi Gail8. Welcome and well done for posting.

First of all, have you checked out the CUK Benefits Guide section?

Benefits for carers who are working age | Carers UK? There are other guides which may be of help.

Do your parents claim Attendance Allowance? If so you should be able to claim Carers Allowance and it opens up access to other benefits and help. Also may I recommend that you ensure your GP (and your parents GP) has you registered as Carers so you get consideration for other care support yourself. I’ve recently found this of benefit to me.

Also contact your Local Authority to ask for (may need to push a little) for a Carer’s Assessment - that focusses on YOUR needs, not your parents and they will often give a small grant (I got £200 toward gym membership to encourage me to get out for ME time) and you can use this for whatever you want at the end of the day. The Assessment identifies your needs and what you need to enable you to carry on Caring.

As far as Carers Allowance is concerned you need to be able to say you care for 35 hours a week minimum. I don’t believe there is a requirement for those hours to be at certain times of day, so evening/overnight/weekend caring counts. It doesn’t have to be ‘waking’ caring - so if you have to get up to help or be on call all night then that covers it. I am not sure what you mean by your income being ‘more than the minimum requirement’. The Benefit is taxable so would need to be declared on a tax return but it is not dependent on you having a minimum income - or were you referring to hours of Caring?

There are other on the site who have more direct experience of Benefits so I defer to their knowledge. I am sure you will have messages from some of them soon.

In the meantime, I wish you all the best and if you have more questions, please ask. You can find general chat on the Role Call thread.

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Gail, your parent may be entitled to more money too. Would you like to tell us a bit more? Money never makes anyone better but it can certainly make life easier!


With regard to the “earnings limit” (currently £139 per week after deductions including tax, national insurance and certain expenses) - plus 50% of private pension contributions can also be deducted to bring earnings within the limit, please check out Carers UK’s Factsheet on Carers Allowance

Scroll down to “Carer’s Allowance and the earnings limit” and then scroll to FAQ no4

If you are in employment and have fluctuating earnings, it is possible for your earnings to be averaged out over a recognisable cycle of work or over five weeks, or over another period if this means a more accurate weekly amount can be calculated

Additionally contact the Carers UK Helpline for a confidential benefits check to see what else you could be eligible to claim.

Our telephone Helpline is available on 0808 808 7777 from Monday to Friday, 9am – 6pm (excluding Bank Holidays) or you can contact us by email (

If you have a more complex query, we suggest you email us, as we’ll be able to provide more information.


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@susieq Thanks - I was having a ‘numpty five minutes’ and talking at crossed purposes. Sorry for the confusion!

thank you all for the suggestions. I think I may have not understood correctly about the income part. So have gone ahead and applied.

What I am wondering it says 6 weeks to get decision if applying for Carers Allowance. Did it take that long for others? I realised it would take some time but not that long.

Thanks again.

thanks this is useful

I think I will have to look at benefits further as there are sight issues as well. Thanks

They do get disability benefits

It’s currently taking between three and six weeks: that’s a big improvement on when I claimed two years ago - it took four months.

Your payment will, however, be backdated to the date of application, so you won’t be missing out on any money in the long run. That doesn’t help immediate cash flow though!

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Yes, at least the backdating means a nice surprise when it does eventually arrive!!