What is Carer’s Benefit?
Carer's Benefit is paid to people who leave work or reduce their hours to care for a person in need of full-time care.
To get Carer’s Benefit you must be under 66 and have enough social insurance (PRSI) contributions – see ‘How to qualify for Carer’s Benefit’ below
You can get Carer's Benefit for 2 years (104 weeks) for each person that you are caring for.
You can take the 104 weeks all together or any number of separate weeks up to a total of 104 weeks. However, if you claim Carer's Benefit for less than 6 weeks in a row, you must wait another 6 weeks before you can get Carer's Benefit for the same person again.
If you are caring for more than one person, you can get a payment for 104 weeks for each person. If the care periods occur at the same time, you will get an increase in your Carer’s Benefit for caring for more than one person - see ‘Rate of Carer’s Benefit’ below.
If you get Carer’s Benefit, you can also get a GP visit card.
You may also get a Carer's Support Grant. It is a payment made once a year to carers. It is paid on the first Thursday in June each year.
Carer's leave allows you to leave your employment for up to 104 weeks to provide full-time care to a person in need of full-time care. The leave is unpaid, but your job must be kept for you to return to at the end of your carer’s leave. You do not have to qualify for Carer's Benefit to get carer's leave.
How to qualify for Carer’s Benefit
You may get Carer's Benefit if:
- You are 16 or over
- You have enough social insurance (PRSI) contributions - see below.
- You have been employed for at least 8 weeks in the previous 26-weeks for a minimum of 16 hours each week or 32 hours a fortnight. You don't have to meet this rule if you were getting Carer's Benefit in the previous 26 weeks.
- You are not living in a hospital, convalescent home or other similar institution.
- The person being cared for needs full-time care and is not living in a hospital, convalescent home or other similar institution – see ‘What is full-time care?’ below.
- You are not employed, self-employed, doing voluntary work, training or any education courses for more than 18.5 hours a week – see ‘Work and Carer’s Benefit’ below.
- You don't earn over €350 per week after tax.
PRSI contribution conditions
To get Carer’s Benefit you must have at least 156 contributions paid at any time since you first started work (entered into the social insurance PRSI system). You must also have:
- 39 contributions paid in the relevant tax year or
- 39 contributions paid in the 12-month period before the start of Carer's Benefit or
- 26 contributions paid in the relevant tax year and 26 contributions paid in the year before that.
The relevant tax year is the second last complete tax year before the year in which you make your claim for Carer’s Benefit. So, for claims made in 2024, the relevant tax year is 2022.
Only contributions at Class A, B, C, D, H and E are counted towards Carer's Benefit. Class S (self-employed contributions) do not count.
Social insurance in another EU member state and the UK may be used to meet the PRSI contribution rules. Your last week social insurance contribution must be paid in Ireland.
You are awarded credited contributions or credits automatically when 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.
What is full-time care?
To get Carer’s Benefit you must be providing full-time care to a person who needs full-time care.
A person is seen as needing full-time care when:
- They need continual supervision to avoid danger to themselves
- They need continual supervision and frequent assistance throughout the day with normal bodily functions. For example, help to walk and get about, eat or drink, get washed or dressed.
The Department of Social Protection will decide if the person needs full-time care.
The person being cared for must have their doctor complete, sign and stamp the Medical Report which is part of the Carer’s Benefit application form – see ‘How to apply’ below.
This Medical Report is not needed if the person being cared for is a child who is getting Domiciliary Care Allowance. You may get Carer’s Benefit even if you are not the person getting the Domiciliary Care Allowance for the child.
Going to hospital, respite care or day care
You or the person needing care must not be living in a hospital or institution. However, you can continue to be seen as providing full-time care if you or the person being cared for is having medical or other treatment in a hospital or institution for not longer than 13 weeks.
You can also continue to be seen as providing full-time care if the person being cared for is attending non-residential rehabilitation training or a day care centre.
If your baby is kept in hospital or other institution to get medical treatment after their birth, you may qualify for Carer’s Benefit for up to 26 weeks in a 12 month period. To get Carer’s Benefit, your baby must meet the criteria for Domiciliary Care Allowance. However, you do not need to be getting Domiciliary Care Allowance to get Carer’s Benefit.
If you are away
If you are away, you must be able to arrange full-time care for the person you care for.
Payment after a death
If the person you are caring for dies, your Carer's Benefit payment will continue for 6 weeks following the death.
Work and Carer’s Benefit
If you are getting Carer’s Benefit, you must not work (this includes self-employment and voluntary work) or take part in a training or education course for more than 18.5 hours a week.
The maximum amount you can earn and get Carer’s Benefit is €350 a week after tax.
This is your income after you take the following from your total wage:
- Income tax
- Universal Social Charge
- PRSI, superannuation (pension payments)
- Pension levy
- Union dues
- Subscriptions to Friendly Societies
- Any health insurance contract premium
Rate of Carer’s Benefit
Weekly Carer’s Benefit rates 2024
Maximum weekly rate
Increase for a child dependant
Caring for 1 person
Child under 12 years of age
€46 (full rate), €23 (half rate)
Child aged 12 and over
€54 (full rate), €27 (half rate)
Caring for more than 1 person
You may get an increase in your Carer’s Benefit payment if you have a child dependent. If your child is in full-time education, you may get this increase until the end of the academic year in which the child reaches 22.
Carer's Benefit is taxable.
How to apply for Carer’s Benefit
To apply fill in an application form for Carer's Benefit (pdf). You can get this form (CARB1) from your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office or from the Carer's Benefit Section - see 'Where to apply' below.
The Department of Social Protection recommends that you apply for Carer’s Benefit 10 weeks before you leave employment, if possible.
Parts 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the Carer’s Benefit form should be completed by you. Part 4 should be completed, signed and stamped by your employer. Part 10 should be completed by the person getting care from you and their doctor should complete, sign and stamp the Medical Report.
If you are applying for Carer's Benefit for a second person you should use the application form CARB2 (pdf).
If you think you have been wrongly refused Carer's Benefit, you can appeal this decision.
Where to apply for Carer’s Benefit
For more information on Carer's Benefit, contact your Intreo Centre, Social Welfare Branch Office or:
For more information on carer's leave contact: