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Carers Allowance

Please note the difference between the Carers Allowance and Carers Benefit – you may be eligible for Carers Benefit (not means tested) but not for Carers Allowance (means tested).

Carers Allowance (Means Tested)

(Source – Department of Social Protection)

Carer’s Allowance is a payment to people living in Ireland who are looking after someone who is in need of support because of age, physical or learning disability or illness, including mental illness.

The Carer’s Allowance is not payable to everyone, it is mainly aimed at carers on low incomes who live with and look after certain people who need full-time care and attention. There are rules about who may be entitled to claim Carers Allowance and these rules are set out under ‘Rules’ below.

If you are providing care to more than one person you may be entitled to an additional 50% of the maximum rate of Carer’s Allowance each week.

Carer’s Allowance is paid directly into your bank or building society account or by a book of payable orders, whichever you prefer. Payable orders may be cashed each week at a Post Office chosen by you

You will also qualify for free household benefits (such as Free Electricity/Natural Gas/Bottled Gas Refill Allowance, Free Television Licence, Free Telephone Rental Allowance) and a Free Travel Pass.

Carer’s Allowance is not taken into account in the assessment for a medical card.

If you consider that you have been wrongly refused Carer’s Allowance, or you are unhappy about a decision of a Social Welfare Deciding Officer about your entitlements, you have the option of appealing this decision.

For current details and criteria of how to apply please see

Department of Social and Family Affairs
Social Welfare Services Office 
Government Buildings
Ballinalee Road

Tel :(043) 334 0000   LoCall: 1890 927 770

Application forms are also available at your local social welfare office.

The Carers Leave Act 2001

Some of the main provisions of the Carers Leave Act are:

  • There is a minimum service requirement i.e an employee is required to have 12 months continuous service with his/her employer in order to be eligible to apply for Carers Leave
  • Not more than one employee may be on Carers Leave, in respect of any one relevant person, at any one time
  • An employee may not be on Carers leave in respect of two or more relevant persons at any one time. An exception is where the two relevavant persons live together. This exception can only be exercised once.
  • Employees may not be dismissed because they exercise their right to Carers Leave.
  • In general, Carers Leave may be taken as a block or in discontinous periods, subject of a minimum number of weeks and a maximum of 24 months.
  • Disputes about particular entitlements under the Act are, in general, referable to a Rights Commissioner, with a right of appeal to the Employment Appeals Tribunal.

Free Travel

Is available to (amongst others) recipients of: A Disability Allowance or a Carers Allowance

Note: It is possible to get a Companion Pass which allows the person with the disability to be accompanied by a companion.

Contact: Pension Services Office, College Road, Sligo (071-48371, 01-7043000) or any post office.