Carer's Allowance and Accrued Holiday Pay

I work for an agency and am an irregular earner. I get holiday pay monthly rather than actual holiday weeks. As it’s paid monthly it puts me over the earnings threshold for CA. If I took the option to have it paid once a year would that put me back under the threshold or would it still be included in my monthly salary.
I am a Supply Teacher and hoped that earnings could be averaged out over a year. I don’t earn anything for 13 weeks because of school holidays. If averaged over a year I would be under the £128 a week threshold. As I’m paid monthly I tend to go just over the limit so can only really claim CA successfully for August when I earn nothing.
Has anyone else gone through this process? I could really do with some advice. I can’t work as much because my caring role has increased. However I can’t get CA to help towards my loss of earnings.

Talk to our helpline. There are various ways that you can reduce your income calculation. Child care, employment expenses, pension contributions.

Thank you for advice. I have already contacted the helpline but they weren’t sure. As a supply teacher I can’t claim expenses and I don’t earn enough for a pension contribution to make much difference. I am just over the weekly earnings threshold and assumed that my pay could be averaged out over the year as I can’t work for 13 weeks because of school holidays. However on contacting the CA helpline they explained that they can only average pay monthly. I work for an agency so am not self employed. They are the only people who can have earnings averaged out over a year.

I’m not talking your work expenses, but caring expenses. So if you had a child who went to some activities, like a drama class £10 a week, those might be called respite care. If you set up a very small private pension and paid in £10 a week, you might be £110 better off a week as it would reduce the income considered for CA. We used to have a forum member expert on this, but sadly he doesn’t post any more. I could have claimed more if I’d known the rules better!

Thank you Bowlingbun.
I am single and without children. I am a supply teacher and can only work half days now as my dad needs help throughout the day. With a half day I can leave him with drinks and meds and can be back in time for making food and moving him from his chair to bed or vice versa.
Could you explain about the pension. Paying in £10 would not take me under £128 pw. I can’t really think of any expenses I incur through caring. Patient Transfer take dad for medical appointments as I can no longer get him in and out of my car. I am thinking of changing to a WAV. Would I be able to take off expenses for that?
Thanks for any advice.

Please do read through the Carers UK Factsheet on Carers Allowance - it is very straightforward and informative -

Scroll down to

You don’t earn over £128 a week (after deductions)

to check how variable earnings can be “averaged” out.

One way of bringing your earnings within the threshold is to make payments into a private pension plan. You can deduct 50% of such payments to reduce your net earnings. I think I’m correct in saying that most private pension providers will allow for variable payments so that you can pay in more or less each week/month according to how much you have earnt in that period. However that would be something that you would need to check with the provider.


If you earn £130 a week (after tax and national insurance) you will not be entitled to Carer’s Allowance. However, if you put £10 a week into a pension, half of the £10 can be deducted from your earnings. Your earnings for Carer’s Allowance would therefore be £130 - £5 = £125 a week. As this is not over the earnings limit, you could claim Carer’s Allowance.

Thank you Susie Q.
Earnings for CA are averaged over a month. I have 13 weeks in which I can’t work because of school holidays. I assumed they would average my pay over a year which would put me under £128 pw. They don’t do this so I can only get CA in September because I earn nothing in August.