Providing substantial amounts (particularly over 20 hours a week) of care to a disabled or elderly relative or friend is associated with reduced labour market participation, poverty and adverse psychological and physical health. Many countries have introduced “cash for care” measures. Sometimes their primary objective is to provide financial support for the older or disabled person to help meet the additional costs of needing care. In other instances “cash for care” aims at offering consumer-style choice to older and disabled people. In such instances, benefitting carers, if at all, is a secondary aim. Moreover, these measures differ widely in terms of target group, eligibility criteria, interactions with formal care services, payment levels and whether they are means-tested. Their impact on carers also varies, depending on local labour markets, the availability of formal long-term care services, and, critically important, social attitudes towards the roles of families (and women within families) in caring for older and disabled people. This article provides a critical overview of the main models.