There are 6.5 million carers in the UK today, but many of these people do not identify themselves as carers, and could be unaware of the financial help available to them. So here's what you need to know
- If you care for someone with a disability, you may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance. This is £62.10 per week
- To qualify you must provide care for at least 35 hours per week, and the person you care for has to be receiving a benefit because of their disability
- If you are in paid work, you might still be entitled, but you can not earn more than £110 in take home pay each week
- You won’t qualify if you are in full-time education or if someone else is already claiming Carer’s Allowance for looking after the same person
- Before you make a claim, you should check with the person you care for, as it may affect some of the benefits they receive.
- If you receive Carer’s Allowance you may also be entitled to Income Support, provided you are not in full-time employment and do not have savings of over £16,000
- Income Support is a weekly benefit designed to bring a person’s household’s income up to the level which they and they family need to live on
- The amount you might receive depends on different factors including your age, whether you live alone or in a couple, household income and any savings you might have.
- If you provide care for someone for at least 20 hours per week, you may be able to receive Carer’s Credit – a credit for National Insurance contributions to ensure that you will qualify for other benefits such as the State Pension
- If you don’t qualify for Carer’s Allowance, you may be able to receive Carer’s Credit
- To qualify for Carer’s Credit, the person you care for has to be receiving a benefit because of their disability. If they’re not, you may still be able to receive it, if you can provide a ‘Care Certificate’ signed by a health or social care professional
- You can still receive Carer’s Credit even if you have breaks from caring – for up to 12 weeks
- Normally you do not need to claim Carer's Credits – they will be awarded to you automatically by virtue of your other benefit claims including Income Support and Carer’s Allowance
- However, if you are claiming because you are caring for a disabled person and you don't receive credits because of another benefit, you can apply on the Gov.uk website.
Help from the local council – Carer’s Assessment
- As a carer, you have the right to have your needs assessed by your local council. This could be as part of the assessment of the person you are caring for or in your own right
- Depending on your circumstances and where you live, services to help you in your role as a carer should be provided by your local council. Help might include regular breaks from caring, equipment and adaptations to your home to make some caring tasks easier to manage, and help with the housework
- The assessment will consider what your needs are and what help you need. If help is required, a care plan will be drawn up and services may be provided by social services, voluntary organisations and/or private companies
- Whether you will have to pay for any services that are provided as a result of the assessment will depend on the charging policy that your local social services department operates. A means-tested financial assessment will usually be carried out. You can contact your local council’s social services department to organise an assessment.
- To check which benefits you might be entitled to, the amounts you could receive and how to make a claim, try the free Turn2us Benefits Calculator
- It may also be useful to check that the person you care for is claiming the support they are eligible for
- If you’d like to seek face to face advice about your situation, you can locate a local adviser using the Turn2us Find an Adviser tool
- Carers can also find further information and support at Carers UK and Age UK.
Thanks to Linda Gyamfi, Welfare Benefits Specialist at the charity Turn2us for sharing these tips.