Carer's Allowance (CA) is a means tested payment, made to people who are providing full-time care and attention to elderly people or to people with disabilities and whose income falls below certain limits. The principal conditions for receipt of the allowance are that full time care and attention is required and being provided and that the means test which applies is satisfied.
The means test is one of the least onerous in the social protection system. €332.50 of gross weekly income is disregarded in the calculation of means for a single person. The equivalent disregard for someone who is married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting is €665 of combined gross weekly income. This means that a couple under 66 with two children, earning a joint annual income of up to €35,400 can qualify for maximum payment Carer’s Allowance. A couple with combined income or earning €59,300 will still qualify for the minimum rate.
In addition a carer may, with the prior permission of the Department, engage in employment outside the home for up to 15 hours per week. The caree must be adequately cared for in the carer's absence. Income from this employment would be assessable as means if the aggregate of all income exceeds the relevant disregard amounts.
As with any other social welfare payment there is an onus on the individual in receipt of the payment to contact the Department of Employment Affairs Social Protection and advise of any change in their personal circumstances. There are a number circumstances and events which may affect a person’s entitlement to a Carer's Allowance, including a change in their means. It is also important to note that a change in circumstances could mean an increase in a social welfare payment or a person may be entitled to different social welfare payment.
Issues relating to the tax treatment of social welfare payments, including income contained on P60s, is a matter for the Revenue Commissioners. There are however a number of social welfare payments including Carer’s Allowance which, depending on a person’s circumstances, may be liable to income tax. The Department of Employment Affairs Social Protection makes the payment to the individual without deducting tax. The Department does not give Revenue details of the taxable amount of the payment but does advise the individual to contact Revenue to confirm the taxable amount of the payment.