Carer’s Allowance Extention

Recipients of carer’s allowance currently retain entitlement to their payment for a period of 6 weeks following the death of a recipient of care.

The measure will increase this period by 6 weeks to 12 weeks. For carers of working age this means that they do not have to apply for a Jobseeker’s payment until the 12 week period expires.

Carer representative groups have been recommending over a number of years that payment of carer’s allowance, for long term former family carers, at the end of their period of caring, be extended beyond the current 6 week period. When a carer’s role comes to an end either through the death of their loved one or through permanent admission to residential care they are often left feeling lost and vulnerable. The current arrangements provide for continued payment of carer’s allowance, for a period of 6 weeks on the death of a relevant person. At the end of the six week period, where the Carer is of working age and seeking employment, they are required to apply for a jobseekers payment. Carer groups suggest that former carers require an additional period to assess the options open to them in terms of up-skilling and employment opportunities without a perceived threat of loss of payments and secondary benefits. Many carers would say that this period in their lives is one of the most difficult both from an emotional and financial perspective and state that they feel ill-equipped to deal with the challenges of post-caring, in particular the financial burden that they face.

When a carer’s caring role comes to an end, through the death of the recipient of care, they require a transition period during which they can grieve and plan for a life post-caring. The DSP already recognise that this is the case, following the death of the relevant person, across a range of schemes including Carer’s Benefit and Carer’s Allowance, hence the 6 weeks grace period. This proposal is recommending that the 6 week period be extended to 12 weeks. The 12 week period is considered reasonable insofar as existing evidence indicates that distance from the workplace is associated with poor employment outcomes unless there are appropriate interventions. An engagement with the Intreo service after 12 weeks would ensure an appropriate early intervention for those of working age.

Entitlement to Carer’s Allowance: To be entitled to a carer’s allowance, a person must be living with, or in a position to provide full-time care and attention to a person in need of care who does not normally live in an institution. However, the carer may continue to be regarded as providing full-time care and attention, if they or the person being cared for is undergoing medical or other treatment in a hospital or other institution for a period not longer than 13 weeks.

The carer must:

Be living with, or in a position to provide full-time care and attention to a person in need of care who does not normally live in an institution. However, the carer may continue to be regarded as providing full-time care and attention, if they or the person being cared for is undergoing medical or other treatment in a hospital or other institution for a period not longer than 13 weeks.

Be resident in the State

Not live in a hospital, convalescent home or other similar institution;

Be at least 18 years old and

Not be engaged in employment, self-employment, training or education courses outside the home for more than 15 hours a week. During their absence, adequate care for the person requiring full-time care and attention must be arranged.

The person being cared for must be:

Over the age of 16 and so incapacitated as to require full-time care and attention or

Aged under 16 and in receipt of a domiciliary care allowance.

The person receiving care is regarded as requiring full-time care and attention where he or she is so incapacitated as to require continuous supervision in order to avoid danger to him or herself or continual supervision and frequent assistance throughout the day in connection with normal bodily functions, and he or she is so incapacitated as to be likely to require full-time care and attention for a period of at least twelve months.

A carer may also qualify for free household benefits and a free travel pass. Carer’s allowance is not taken into account in the assessment for a medical card.