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What help is there for Unpaid Carers?

 

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For those people who look after someone with a disability or who are old or ill, there are various forms of help, both practical assistance on a day to day basis but also benefits such as Carers Allowance.

Definition of an Unpaid Carer:

  • Unlike paid carers (or ‘Care workers’) you are not paid for the care you are providing.
  • You may or may not be related to the person you are caring for. Equally, you may live in the same house as them or you may live somewhere else.
  • You help with day to day tasks, helping someone to get washed and dressed, to eat and to go to appointments.

You are entitled to a Carer’s Assessment via your Local Authority. They may ask you to fill out a form in advance or may choose to have a telephone discussion with you. In most instances, they will try and have a meeting with you in which you can discuss your caring role, the amount of time you spend caring and the practical challenges you face in supporting someone else, in a way that does not endanger your own health.

  • They will want to know about concerns that you have and the impact your caring role has on the rest of your life.
  • To prepare for your assessment, look at the helpful checklist on the Carers UK factsheet (page 31 -see link below).
  • Your local authority will consider whether there is likely to be ‘a significant impact on your wellbeing as a result of your caring role’ and, as a result, will make the decision about whether or not you have ‘eligible needs’.

There are 3 questions they will consider when they make this decision:

  • Does your caring role have an effect on you?
  • Are your needs the result of you providing necessary care?
  • Is there, or could there be in the future, a significant impact on your wellbeing?

If the answer to all 3 questions is yes, then you will have eligible needs. If this is the case, they will then have a legal obligation to meet these needs and will give you a support plan detailing how these needs will be met. It could be that the best way to help you is for them to provide services directly to you (as a carer) and/or by providing services to the individual you care for (the care recipient). There are many ways they may give you support but a few examples are listed below:

Support available to you as a Carer

 

  • Help around the House or Garden
  • Assistance to support the cost of a car
  • Other travel costs (e.g. Taxi costs)
  • Support to you for purchasing a computer or mobile
  • Cost of a gym membership (to support your health & wellbeing)

Support available to your Care Recipient (to support you)

 

There are a number of benefits and allowances for carers which you may be entitled to. These include Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Premium and Carer’s Credit.

If you are spending 35 hours each week in an unpaid caring role, you may be entitled to Carer’s Allowance (currently £66.15 per week but likely to change).

  • The person you care for must already get Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance (middle or highest care rate), or Attendance Allowance and there are certain limits on your income.
  • There can be an impact on other benefits that both you and the person you care for may receive but this should be explained to you.
  • You can make a claim online via the Government website (link shown below).
  • If you have an underlying eligibility for Carer’s Allowance (even if you are not actually being paid it), you may also be eligible for Carer’s Premium which is an extra payment paid on top of other means-tested benefits you may be claiming
  • If you are not eligible for Carer’s Allowance but are caring for someone at least 20 hours a week, you may be eligible for Carer’s Credit which is a National Insurance credit that helps with gaps in your National Insurance record.
  • You should also explore whether you are entitled to other benefits. This could include Income Support, Benefits if you are sick or disabled and Employment and Support allowance (ESA). Alternatively, you may be eligible for Universal Credit.
  • In addition to the assistance that you may be able to get as a carer, there are several ways in which the person you are caring for can get assistance towards the cost of care and support. See our article ‘What financial help can I get for my Care and Support?’

For many unpaid carers, it can be important to get a break or ‘respite’, whether it is a for a few hours or for a week or more. TrustonTap has a team of professional carers who are very used to Respite care of this nature, whether it is for Hourly, Overnight or Live-in.

You may also find it valuable to get advice from the excellent Carer Support organisations that represent the interests of unpaid carers – Carers UK and Carers Trust have particularly helpful online resources as does the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

Further Information:

Carer’s Assessment

Government Advice

Carer Support Organisations