Navigating the help available for carers
With high numbers of carers seeking support from Turn2us, we know that caring for someone can have a huge impact on personal finances. It can leave many struggling to make ends meet, so it is crucial that people receive all of the support that they are entitled to and eligible for.
Here is a summary of some help available and who might be eligible to apply.
Carer’s Allowance is money for people who spend at least 35 hours a week providing regular care to someone who has a disability. The person you care for must be getting a relevant benefit because of their disability, which in some cases has to be paid at a certain rate. You don’t have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for to get Carer’s Allowance.
If you get Carer’s Allowance (or are entitled to it but do not get it because of Overlapping Benefit Rules) you will also get a Carer’s Premium, an additional amount included in your means-tested benefit (Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income –related Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit and Housing Benefit).
Carer’s Credits mean carers can be ‘credited’ with national insurance contributions to help them qualify for other benefits which they may not otherwise have been eligible for if their caring responsibilities prevented them from being able to work and pay national insurance contributions in the normal way. You must be 16 or over but under state pension age, and caring for someone for at least 20 hours a week in order to receive it.
If you and your partner, if you have one, are on a low income, not in full-time work, and you fit into a specific category then this could help you. Income Support is a means-tested benefit which helps people who do not have enough to live on. It is only available for certain groups of people who do not get Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance and are not in full time employment. Carers and lone parents with children under five are common examples of claimants who can claim Income Support. You must usually be 18 or over but under Pension Credit age (some 16 and 17 year olds can get Income Support).
Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit for people of working-age who are on a low income. It is replacing six existing means-tested benefits: Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance; Housing Benefit; Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit. Universal Credit is paid on a monthly basis. Entitlement is worked out
by comparing your basic financial needs that the government says you need to live on with your financial resources.
Universal Credit is being introduced gradually. Whether you can claim depends on where you live and your personal circumstances. It has been rolled out nationally to all single jobseekers without children for new claims. It is gradually being rolled out to all claimant types of working age making new claims (apart from families with more than two children), but this is still only occurring in certain areas currently.
Older people who are disabled or carers may also qualify for Pension Credit to top up their income.
Housing Benefit is money to help you with your housing costs if you are on a low income. It can help with rent and some service charges.
Localised Council Tax Support schemes provide help for people on low incomes with their Council Tax bill. While Discretionary Housing Payment is a payment you may receive at the discretion of your local authority which can help towards housing costs. You can only get it if you are entitled to Housing Benefit or the Housing Costs element of Universal Credit. If you are on certain benefits, you may be eligible for a Cold Weather Payment if the weather in your area falls to 0° centigrade or below for seven days in a row. If your electricity supplier belongs to the Warm Home Discount scheme and you’re getting the guarantee part of Pension Credit, you will automatically get an annual discount off your electricity bill. Many other people on certain benefits may also be eligible for this discount but will have to claim.
Charitable funds give grants to people in financial need who meet their eligibility criteria, using a sum of money that the grant-giving charity has set aside for this purpose. They are run by charities or organisations (such as energy companies) that have grant giving as part of their aims and objectives.
If you don’t think that you are receiving all of the help that you are entitled to or eligible for, the Turn2us website has a Benefits Calculator to find out what welfare benefits and tax credits you could be entitled to and a Grants Search tool to find out if you might be eligible for support from over 3,000 charitable funds, as well as a range of information and resources to help people in financial hardship. Turn2us can also provide direct financial assistance through a range of specific funds that are managed directly by the charity, including the Elizabeth Finn Fund which supports people from over 120 different professions and its new Turn2us Response Fund. For more information, please visit www.turn2us.org.uk
Turn2us can also provide direct financial assistance through a range of specific funds that are managed directly by the charity, including the Elizabeth Finn Fund which supports people from over 120 different professions and its new Turn2us Response Fund. For more information, please visit www.turn2us.org.uk