Earning limit additional costs


My wife works as a health assistant and works up to the earning limit. She gets paid 20p per mile from her employer for visiting clients at home, however she doesn’t get paid from home to the first appointment, and she has calculated that every month she puts in £60 petrol from her own money. It is possible for her to work over the earning limit to help with the additional petrol costs?

Also she was thinking about paying into a pension scheme but was not sure on what options she has as she currently earns upto the weekly earnings limit.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Hi Mel.

From elsewhere on this site :

Carer's Allowance | Carers UK


You don’t earn over £123 a week (after deductions)

If you are in paid work (including self-employment) you cannot get Carer’s Allowance if you earn more than £123 a week (after deductions).

Note: This means that if you are working 16 hours at minimum wage and are eligible for the national living wage, you will be over the earnings limit. You will need to see if you can apply any of the deductions outlined below which would mean your earnings for Carer’s Allowance purposes would be treated as being £123 a week or less.

If you are in employment and are paid a regular amount monthly, your monthly earnings are normally multiplied by 12 months to get a yearly figure and then divided by 52 weeks to get a weekly figure. However there are exceptions to this, such as if your earnings are variable. If you are in doubt about your own situation, please email us: > adviceline@carersuk.org> .

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.

If you are in self-employment your average weekly earnings are normally calculated by looking at a specific trading period, which is normally a year. However if you have only recently started your self-employment, or if there has been a change in your circumstances, then a different period more representative of your average weekly earnings can sometimes be used.

The following amounts are deducted from your gross weekly earnings (if you are in employment) or your net profit (if you are in self-employment) before your earnings are taken into account for Carer’s Allowance:

Income Tax.

National Insurance.

half of your contributions towards an occupational/personal pension


If you earn £125 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 £125 - £5 = £120 a week. As this is not over the earnings limit, you could claim Carer’s Allowance.

You can also deduct expenses that are incurred ‘wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the business’, in the same way that you can for income tax purposes.

If, because of your work, you have to pay for someone to look after the person you care for, or a child under 16 who you or your partner get Child Benefit for, you can deduct those payments from your earnings up to the value of half your earnings (after the above deductions if they apply). However, this will not apply if the person you are paying is a close relative of either yourself or the person you are looking after (a close relative is a spouse, partner or civil partner, parent, son, daughter, brother or sister).

Occupational or personal pensions do not count as earnings and you can be paid Carer’s Allowance in addition to these. However, if you get extra Carer’s Allowance for your partner their occupational/personal pension could affect this extra amount (some carers previously received extra benefit for their partner as part of their Carer’s Allowance - this was called the adult dependent addition but is not available for new claims).

If you do receive taxable income such as occupational or personal pensions or part-time earnings you should inform the tax office about your Carer’s Allowance, because it is a taxable benefit.

One exception to the earnings rule is that if you are working during an allowed break in care, and are still receiving Carer’s Allowance, your earnings are ignored (you can see more information on breaks in care here).

( If the employer coughs up the additional cost for petrol , and disallowed for deductible expenses , marshaling to stay within the £ 123 weekly limit would be an odds on bet. )

If any doubt remains … contact the authors of the above … CUK itself … their Advice Team … best by email :


I was a care assistant in a passed life. I think it’s always been to first visit no petrol. Your wife needs to speak with her employer. Where possible care staff need to be placed as close to first call. If this isn’t possible your wife needs to have a conversation. I know that not always as easy as I sounds. If not could your wife speak to other colleagues. I would speak with others and between us change route etc. Some agencies are quite happy for staff to be proactive. If necessary be blunt and stand your ground.

Hi Mel,
welcome to the forum.
Most people don’t get paid for their journey to and from work, hence why your wife isn’t paid to drive to the first client and likely home from the last. A good suggestion from Sunnydisposition about negiotating for a first client to be closer to your home.
Worth looking at the info posted by Chris and contacting the helpline (albeit by email) for advice if needed, there is usually away around earning over the limit and paying into pension, deducting expenses etc