Money and Employment
As well as being physically and emotionally challenging, looking after someone can also be financially demanding. Your responsibilities as a carer may result in you incurring certain costs or they may affect your working life and result in a loss of earnings.
Assistance for carers
State benefits and credits
Carers Allowance (previously known as Invalid Care Allowance) is a benefit paid to people who cannot work full time because they look after someone who needs a great deal of care. To qualify you must be spending at least 35 hours per week caring for someone receiving the higher or middle rate of Disability Living Allowance Care Component, Attendance Allowance or Constant Attendance Allowance.
If you receive a full state pension you cannot receive Carers Allowance. Also, by claiming Carers Allowance the person you care for may lose their entitlement to some benefits, so seek advice before claiming.
The Carer Premium is a payment included in the calculation of other benefits such as Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit. You need to apply for Carers Allowance to receive the Carer Premium.
For an initial assessment please contact our advice team. We are also able to access grants for carers in exceptional circumstances from the Princess Royal Trust for Carers and other charitable organisations. These grants cannot be accessed without coming to us.
For further information on benefits contact your local benefits agency or an advice centre.
Carer’s Credit has been introduced from 6 April 2010. It is a National Insurance credit which helps carers build up qualifying years for the basic State Pension and additional State Pension.
To qualify for Carer’s Credit you must care for one or more disabled people for a total of 20 hours or more per week. Each person you care for must receive:
- Disability Living Allowance care component at the middle or highest rate;
- Attendance Allowance at any rate; or
- Constant Attendance Allowance at any rate.
Where a person being cared for does not receive an appropriate qualifying benefit, Carer’s Credit can still be awarded if you supply a Care Certificate. This will need to be signed by a health or social care professional (HSCP).
Assistance for Cared for People
State benefits and credits
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a benefit paid to people under the age of 65 who have needed care for at least three months. This is paid in two components: mobility and care.
Attendance Allowance is a benefit for people aged 65 and over who have needed help with personal care for at least six months.
Incapacity Benefit is a payment based on National Insurance Contributions for people who are unable to work due to disability or illness.
The Independent Living Fund provides grants to help severely disabled people aged 16 to 65 to pay for care services in their home.
Many carers give up work in order to care. As well as financial difficulties they may also face problems with isolation and social exclusion. If at some point they want to work again, they may struggle to get back into the job market.
Giving up work in order to care is a big decision. Before doing so you should ask yourself:
- am I considering giving up work based on guilt, or because I think that only I can look after the person properly or that they will not accept outside help?
- can I afford to give up my salary?
- would I miss working life?
- do I want to spend my time caring instead of working?
You may feel that you have no choice about whether or not you work, when in fact you do have options. Start by thinking about what you want to do and then try to find ways of achieving this.