There were a few questions being pinged around on social media about changes made to the rules around carers' support. We've took a look at some of the detail, and here's what we found:
The Coronavirus Act
The government introduced emergency legislation which gave a range of new powers to respond to the Coronavirus outbreak. The most significant change in this for carers was about the duty for councils to carry out needs assessments for both carers and their cared for. We might well have had one of these in the past, either from a social worker or a carer's centre. If not, check out our helpful free mini carers' assessment.
The idea behind the change was to give some flexibility for councils to respond to any urgent cases - for example, if we as carers contracted the virus and needed somebody to look after our cared-for. The government emphasised that the change did not necessarily mean that assessments would automatically be stopped by councils. It meant that assessments were carried out in a more flexible and responsive way. Here's the formal advice from the government.
For many of us, our caring situation changed quite a lot during the pandemic. Getting in touch with our council or our carer's centre for advice is helpful if we wanted to review the support available to us.
Carers who received Carers Allowance were concerned about what would happen to the change in our situation as a result of Coronavirus. For example:
Ourselves or our cared for go into hospital or respite care
We are not caring for as many hours because we are protecting the person we care for by not visiting them as often and are providing remote support instead
We or the person we care for gets Coronavirus and we are unable to care for them during the pandemic
Here's what the government have said previously:
"You can still get Carer’s Allowance if you temporarily stop providing care for someone. This means any period when you spend less than 35 hours a week caring for the other person. For example, you could get Carer’s Allowance for up to: 12 weeks if either of you go into respite care or hospital OR 4 weeks if either of you go on holiday."
These new guidance from the government allowed us to continue to claim carers allowance if either of us had Coronavirus. It also allowed us to count the emotional support that we provided as part of our caring hours.
Many carers who haven't previously been able to claim carer's allowance are still eligible. Our quick checker tool below can give us a sense of whether it's worth applying. Our free e-support package also ensures we are accessing fundamental services - so that we are getting the most help possible.