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Respite care: having a break from caring

It's important to take a break from care if you need one. Find out about respite care and how you arrange it, and how this may affect your benefits.

What is respite care?

Respite care is the term used for services designed to give you a break from caring. It can come in many forms.

Someone might come in to look after the person you care for on a regular basis, or take them out to an activity group or day centre.

It might mean you can go on holiday, with or without the person you care for. If you're going away without the person you care for, they may have a temporary stay in a residential care.

How do I arrange respite care?

In some areas respite care is provided as a result of your carer’s assessment, while in others it’s provided through a needs assessment for the person you look after. If your assessment or the assessment for the person you care for shows you need respite care, the local council should provide it.

You might be able to get financial support from the council to help you take a break, but respite services are means-tested so you or the person you care for may have to contribute towards the cost.

Getting a carer’s assessment

Will a break affect my benefits?

If you have time off from caring, there are special rules to decide whether you'll continue to receive Carer's Allowance. The basic rule is that you can continue to receive your Carer's Allowance for up to four weeks in any six-month period if you have a break from caring.

However, the rules are complicated, so you should get specialist advice from the Carer's Allowance Unit.

If you're receiving any other benefits which include extra amounts for caring, these may be affected if you have a break from caring.

Get specialist help

You can get specialist help about the impact of respite care on your Carer's Allowance from the Government's Carer's Allowance Unit.

We're here to help

We offer support through our free advice line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 140 local Age UKs.

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Last updated: Mar 23 2021

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