Before you start caring for someone, you should think carefully about:
- how the role may affect you
- how much you can provide in terms of caring
- what help may be available to you.
The first step is to contact your local authority to request a carer’s assessment. Under the Care Act 2014, from April 2015, any carer who requests an assessment or appears to need support will be legally entitled to an assessment.
You may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance if you:
- spend over 35 hours a week caring for someone with substantial caring needs
- are 16 or over
- have been in England, Scotland or Wales for at least two of the last three years
- normally live in England, Scotland or Wales, or live abroad as a member of the armed forces
- are not in full time education or studying for 21 hours a week or more
- earn less than £102 a week (after taxes, care costs while you’re at work and 50% of what you pay into your pension).
If you are eligible, you are entitled to £61.35 a week. However, this allowance may be taxed and may affect means-tested benefits such as:
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Universal Credit.
You may be eligible for Carer’s Credit if you’re caring for someone for at least 20 hours a week. This is a National Insurance credit and will contribute towards your State Pension entitlement.
To find out if you are eligible and how to apply, please take a look at the government guidelines.
Being a carer can have a large impact on your own health and emotional well-being. In order to continue to safely and effectively care for the person you are supporting, you need to make sure your own needs are being met.
There are various services around the UK, such as local centres, online discussion boards and support groups that provide practical and emotional support.