There are a range of benefits which can support both carers and the person they care for, these may include allowance for services, heating, transport or income replacement. People can apply for several different types of benefit. Each has its own eligibility criteria and is designed for specific caring situations.
- For carers: Carer’s Allowance
- For disabled people under 65: Personal Independent Payments
- For disabled children: Disability Living Allowance
- For people needing care over 65: Attendance Allowance
Details about other types of financial support are also included on the Carers UK website .
In addition to these benefits, there are other means tested benefits which working age carers may also be entitled to
The Carers UK site provides a brief summary of each of these.
Carers who receive a state pension may not be able to receive Carer’s Allowance because they cannot be paid two benefits at the same time. However, if your basic state pension is less than Carer’s Allowance, then this can be topped up to the same value as Carer’s Allowance. However, making a claim for Carer’s Allowance may still be important. If you are entitled to it, but are not paid it, it could entitle you to extra Pension Credit or Housing Benefit/Council Tax reduction.
Pension Credit is a means tested benefit that is available for people of the ‘qualifying age’. The Pension Service calculates how much you are entitled to and will calculate the Carer Addition element for those caring for someone, if you are entitled to Carer’s Allowance (see above).
Housing Benefit helps individuals to pay their rent, it is means tested against income and savings and is administered by the local authority. In April 2013 the Housing Benefit Size Criteria Rules were implemented, these are often referred to as ‘the Bedroom Tax’. The new rules stipulate that people of working age who receive Housing benefits can have the amount of their support restricted if they are deemed to have too many bedrooms
Benefits checks are a useful way to ensure you are getting all of the benefits you are entitled to. These can be conducted by Carers UK or other agencies.
Some local authorities provide direct payments for carers. If the local authority assesses you as eligible for carer support services you have a right to ask for a direct payment instead of having the service arranged by the local authority. All users must keep records and submit accounts to social services showing how the money was spent. In addition if you use the direct payment to pay for a care worker you will take on the legal role of an employer and all the responsibilities which go with that. In many areas help is available with these sorts of tasks.
Direct payments may also be available for the person you look after, enabling you to choose the services that are appropriate. Some people use the money to buy care from an agency whilst others will directly employ their own staff, or pay members of their own family to do the care. The decision to award a direct payment takes place after an assessment by social services. In most cases, the person receiving a direct payment has to have sufficient mental capacity to consent to it. However, they may still be able to have a direct payment even if they lack capacity, as long as they get help from someone else to manage the payment. In cases like this, as a carer, you may be asked to take on the administration of a direct payment.
A number of third sector organisations provide information that may be helpful:
Independent Age have developed ‘wise guides’ with information and advice for later life including entitlements, advice for living independently and information about selecting a care home.
Contact a Family provide information about benefits and Tax Credits tailored specifically for parents of a disabled child.
The Age UK website details the benefits available to individuals and provides a benefits calculator to help you understand what you might be entitled to.
Disability Rights UK operate the Self Directed Support telephone and email service which provides information to individuals and organisations about personalisation/self-directed support. This advice includes getting social care funding in relation to the care needs of a disabled person, personal budgets or direct payments. Information about the service is available on their website