Being a carer is a tough job. One of the hardest. You might not even consider it a job, but when you really think about it, you’ll see that it is; and it’s not one that many people would have the ability or the stamina to do.
Since it is a job – even if you’re caring for someone you love with all your heart – you should receive monetary compensation for it. Do you know what benefits carers are entitled to?
A variety of different benefits have been introduced by the Government, to ensure that carers are cared for too.
We’ve provided information on these below, to help you get informed about the benefits that are available to you.
To receive the carer’s allowance from the government, you must be looking after your ward for at least 35 hours each week.
What most people don’t realise is that you don’t need to be related to the person you’re caring for. You don’t even need to live with them.
However, bear in mind that you will only be entitled to claim for this benefit once, no matter how many people you care for, and you won’t receive it if you are in full time education, or if you earn more than £100 a week.
Before you make a claim it’s a good idea to speak to an expert as in some cases receiving your carer’s allowance can affect not only other benefits you claim, but those that the person you care for claims as well.
Housing benefit is one such benefit that could be affected. The Housing Executive (if you are a tenant) or the Land and Property Services (if you are an owner/occupier) will include your carer’s allowance when they calculate the amount of housing benefit you are entitled to (so you could end up with less).
Carer’s allowance can also affect your pension credit.
If you already claim the carer’s allowance then you may be able to also claim for a carer premium, which is added to your carer’s allowance as a top up.
This is means tested, and is given to those looking after those with terminal illnesses.
The carer premium is currently set at £34.95 a week for each person who qualifies. The amount is paid monthly to Universal Credit receivers, bringing the total payment to £151.89 a month.
More information can be found on the Marie Curie website.
You may be able to claim income support as well as the carer’s allowance.
Income support is intended for those on a low income who need extra help, but it doesn’t have to link to your main source of income; it can link directly to the carer’s allowance.
It is intended to act as an extra source of income for lower earners. If you qualify for Income Support, the minimum payment you will receive is £57.90 per week if you are aged 16 to 24, and £73.10 per week if you are aged 25 or over. There’s also a higher rate available.
More information can be found on the government website.
We Can Help Too
Because we know that carer’s do more than anyone could really give them credit for, we have launched a new discounts scheme.
It’s called Discounts for Carers. It allows those who care for others to receive discounts on a variety of different items including holidays, TV and broadband, home appliances, travel, and fashion.
Our discount scheme is intended for anyone who could be called a carer, whether that’s your professional job or you’re an unpaid carer for a loved one.
And, we cover all categories of care, from social work and mental health to home care and care homes. The service is completely free to join, and free to use.
As well as these great discounts, we’ll also offer plenty of up to date information about all the financial support that carers can receive.
If anything changes in the care industry, we will make sure that we’re reporting it back to you, particularly if it directly relates to your benefits and what you could be entitled to.
Why Should You Apply for Benefits?
Applying for carer’s benefits can be a lifeline for many people.
If you are caring for an elderly parent, or a disabled child, then your opportunities to go out to work are severely limited.
Therefore, these benefits can enable you to have enough money to live on, whilst still doing the incredibly important and essential job of caring for your loved one.
Applying for this kind of benefit is never anything to be ashamed of.
If anything, you should be proud of the fact that you’re doing what many could not.
We say, apply for the benefits that you are entitled to so that you can lead a balanced lifestyle.
For further information about these benefits, speak to your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau or search online for free, impartial advice.