Caring for someone can mean that our households have additional costs. And right now, we may find we’re impacted further through cuts to universal credit and increasing fuel prices.
We don’t have a magic wand (sadly) but the following advice may help with the cost of caring. Including many tips directly from carers in our community.
Knowing what benefits we are entitled to
Familiarising ourselves with the benefits we are entitled to as carers is a good start. The Turn2us Benefits Calculator can give us a comprehensive benefits check. Or speak to your local Citizens' Advice Bureau for advice.
For example, if we are working and are on a low income, we may be entitled to Universal Credit. This is a monthly payment paid directly into our bank account from the Government. Money Helper has a useful guide, explaining everything we need to know about Universal Credit.
If the person we are caring for is in receipt of Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, or Disability Living Allowance at the higher rate (or similar), we may be eligible for Carers Allowance.
Complete our speedy Carer's Allowance Checker to find out if you qualify.
And in winter, there are some fuel related payments and discounts that might be eligible for. Our financial guide to winter support for carers can help.
Getting help from our Local Council
Local councils are responsible for assessing the needs of the people we care for (often called a care assessment). As well as assessing our needs as a carer (a carer's assessment). This may lead to a referral or direct payment that can be used for specific support such as:
Equipment or alterations to help us care safely
Equipment or alterations to improve the independence of the person we are caring for
Respite care (when someone else looks after the person we care for, so that we can take a break)
Regular care or domestic help
Access to exercise programmes or support groups
Other things that will help us to manage the impact of caring
Assessments may be carried out by our council or local carers support organisation.
It’s easy to find out who the local council responsible for adult social care in our area is. For help getting started, use our simple mini carer's assessment and we'll get back to you.
Support for money struggles
If we find ourselves in a difficult situation regarding our finances, here are some useful resources that may help;.
Citizens Advice has lots of advice, including information on also a rent arrears and eviction for rent arrears.
StepChange is a debt charity which provides free debt advice online, supporting you throughout the entire process.
National Debt Advisory offers debt management advice, which covers advice on many situations such as utility arrears, council arrears or overdrafts.
Grants and other sources of funding
Carers Trust has some helpful advice on grants and funding sources. It includes organisations that support people with specific disabilities or illnesses, people of different ages and benevolent funds that may be relevant, depending on where we work or have worked in the past.
If we are a carer in Scotland and receiving Carers Allowance, we may also be eligible for an extra payment called the Carers Allowance Supplement. This is paid to us twice a year. Find out more on the criteria for Carers Allowance Supplement here.
Carer's Allowance Supplement in Scotland
For those of us in receipt of Carers' Allowance and living in Scotland, we may be eligible for the Carer's Allowance Supplement.
Initially, this was an extra payment of £231.40 paid twice a year. But, a new Carer's Allowance Supplement Bill has recently been passed, with the Scottish Government doubling this payment to £462.80 to help us out with the costs this winter.
The next payment is due in December and payable if we were claiming Carer's Allowance on 11th October 2021.
Some GPs have started offering "Social Prescribing" which involves helping patients to improve their health and wellbeing by connecting them to community services, which might be run by the council or local charity. This might be called something else where you live but it was worth checking.
The potential benefits here, are that sometimes the social prescription might be something free or subsidised to support our health. Carers have told us they have benefited from things such as free gym passes or a weight watchers membership, for example.
One carer said she was even able to get extra care hours and some money to pay for travel to hospital appointments.
It will vary depending on what has been set up in our own areas, but worth enquiring about.
Don’t get stuck!
If sorting these things out feels overwhelming or we don’t know where to start, please book a free 30 minute support call with one of our carer support team. Let's work out some easy first steps together - you don’t have to do this on your own!