Are you responsible for looking after someone who has a disability, is getting old or has become ill?
Carers give unpaid support to a family member, friend or neighbour, who could not manage without that help.
You’re probably a carer if all of the following apply:
• you do things like helping someone to wash, dress and eat; taking them to regular appointments, doing their shopping or keeping them company
• you aren’t paid to look after the person you’re caring for
• you spend a lot of time caring for the person – there’s no legal definition of this, but it could mean anything from a few hours a day, to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
• you may or may not live with the person you’re caring for
Depending on your income, assets and living arrangements, you might be able to apply for Carer’s Allowance and other benefits. Other types of help you might be able to claim are healthcare costs, council tax discount and state pension contributions. Carer’s Allowance is currently £76.75 per week.
You can claim if you:
• look after someone who gets a qualifying disability benefit
• look after that person for at least 35 hours a week
• are aged 16 or over
• are not in full-time education
• don’t earn over £139 a week (after deductions)
• satisfy UK presence and residence conditions
You do not have to be related or live in the same house. Your savings or partner’s earnings are not relevant. If you receive the State Pension or certain other benefits, then you may not get any money from Carer’s Allowance but it should still be claimed because you may be regarded as having ‘underlying entitlement’ which means you could get an increased amount of other means-tested benefits. It can also act as a passport to other benefits, such as Pension Credit.
Please note: a carers allowance claim can affect benefits paid to the person cared for, so get advice before applying.
For more help, contact Citizens Advice North Herts via www.northhertscab.org.uk
In Royston, Citizens Advice are at the Town Hall on Monday and Wednesday mornings from 9.30am to 12noon and Melbourn Community Hub on a Wednesday morning from 9.30 to 11.30am.
If you prefer to contact the team in advance, you can leave a message by calling 01462 689801, and someone will get back to you.