Carer’s  Benefit

Carer's Benefit is a payment made to insured persons in Ireland who leave the workforce to care for a person(s) in need of full-time care and attention. You can get Carer's Benefit for a total period of 104 weeks for each person being cared for. This may be claimed as a single continuous period or in any number of separate periods up to a total of 104 weeks. However, if you claim Carer's Benefit for less than six consecutive weeks in any given period you must wait for a further six weeks before you can claim Carer's Benefit to care for the same person again. If you are caring for more than one person, you may receive payment for each care recipient for 104 weeks. This may result in the care periods overlapping or running concurrently.

Credited contributions - credits
You will be awarded creditsautomatically for the period you are getting Carer's Benefit. Credits are awarded at the same rate as your last paid contribution. These credits help protect your future entitlement to social welfare benefits and pensions.

Carer's leave
Your right to carer’s leave from employment compliments the Carer's Benefit Scheme with regard to leave. Carer's leave allows employees to leave their employment temporarily for a period up to 104 weeks to provide full-time care for people in need of full-time care and attention. The leave will be unpaid but those who propose to avail of carer's leave will have their jobs kept open for them for the duration of the leave. Eligibility for Carer's Benefit will not be a prerequisite for carer's leave. If you think you have been wrongly refused Carer's Benefit, or you are unhappy about a decision of a Social Welfare Deciding Officer about your entitlements, you can appeal this decision.

Rules
You may be eligible for Carer's Benefit if:

 
PRSI contribution conditions

The contributions do not have to be Class A. Instead, all employment contributions count (except Class S (self-employed) contributions. The Relevant Tax Year is the second last complete tax year before the year in which you make your claim. So, for claims made in 2011, the Relevant Tax Year is 2009.

Child dependants
You can claim an increase for a child if they are under age 18, normally lives with you and is maintained by you. Where a child is in full-time education by day at a recognised school or college this increase is payable until the end of the academic year in which the child reaches age 22. (This child does not have to live at home). Full rate child dependant increase is payable if you are single, widowed, separated or a civil partner who is not living with the other civil partner. Half the child dependant increase is payable if you are living with your spouse /civil partner/cohabitant. If your spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is getting a payment from the Department of Social Protection, you will each get half the child dependant increase.

Tax implications
This is a taxable source of income and should be advised to your local tax office.

Rates
Carer's Benefit rates from January 2011:


Carer aged under 66

Maximum weekly rate

Caring for 1 person

€205

Caring for 2 persons

€307.50

Increase for each qualified child:

€29.80 (full rate), €14.90 (half rate)

How to apply
You can get an application form in your Local Social Welfare Office or from the Carer’s Benefit Section. Or you can download the form from the Social Welfare website www.welfare.ie. Parts 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 should be completed by you. Part 3 should be completed, signed and stamped by your employer. Part 9 should be completed by the person(s) receiving care from you and his/her doctor should complete, sign and stamp the Medical Report.

Where to apply
For more information on the Carer's Benefit, contact your local Social Welfare Office or:
Department of Social Protection Carer's Benefit Section
Social Welfare Services Office
Government Buildings
Ballinalee Road
Longford
Tel : (043) 334 0000

Information on carer's leave from employment is available from:
National Employment Rights Authority Information Services
Government Buildings
O'Brien Road
Carlow
Tel:(059) 917 8990
www.employmentrights.ie