Over the last two weeks we’ve been listening to the community through our daily poll service, Mobilise Moments. Designed to keep a finger on the pulse of carers, Mobilise Moments has gathered information on lots of aspects of our current caring situations.
Our focus over the last fortnight, has been our finances. Exploring the impact of caring on our financial situations.
Our community of Mobilise Moment responders say that only 19% of them are working full time (MM #28) and this is clearly impacted by our caring situations with 30% of us not working due to full time care. We also hear carers say that they have taken on part-time work due to their caring situation, 19% of us work part-time. Carers also said:
I haven't been able to work in four years, that’s the impact on my finances!
I left my career in London. It was a decade before I could think about returning around my caring role
Had to work part time due to my caring responsibilities, then made redundant because I couldn’t be flexible. So a gone from low income to no income
But choosing whether to work or not is far from straightforward.
I feel guilty for working when I should be caring full time, but Carers allowance is so low I cannot pay the bills
More pressure to stay in full time employment.
Any income we may have could also be supported by benefits from the government (MM #39). Only 12% of us say that we receive no financial support whatsoever. Whilst nearly 50% of us receive personal independence payments (PIP) and 40% of us receive carers allowance.
We did struggle at first, but we were put in touch with a benefit specialist who sorted it all out for us. PIP was very easily done by a visit to our home (unlike many).
Community members also noted a reliance on the benefits/finances of the person they are caring for.
I am as dependent on [the person I care for] benefits as she is dependent on me caring for her.
Living on husbands PIP and pension, with carers allowance for me.
It doesn't leave much time for earning. Luckily my dad gets good benefits, has some savings and is very generous with me (bills, food, cabs to get me appointments), but you kind of let go of any idea of financial independence.
Hope that in the not too distant future [the person I care for] could move into supported accommodation but if and when she does, I will have to sell the house.
Housing forms a big part of people’s general expenditure, but not for the 36% of us who own our properties outright (MM #29). Often people’s housing has changed significantly as a result of their caring role.
Lost my job, sold our London home to afford [an] accessible home.
Cars are often a large part of our expenses (MM #32) and 32% of access a car through various finance agreements and 45% owning them outright.
There’s no way I could afford to run a car without the motability scheme and I need a car for work
Some of the community also note that their caring role has lead to an increase in their travel costs:
It has made me need to spend more on travel
Lots of additional expense to pay to have to go with her on transport/ outings
Carers also noted an increase in other expenses:
There are a lot of extras to pay for, pads, creams, special diet, additional heating costs
I am also buying increasing quantities of incontinence equipment. These are extra expenses that have to be factored into my budget.
60% of us have debt of some type (MM #31), and 33% of us have more than £2,000 of it! People said that caring had a profound effect on their debt situation.
We had to move onto benefits, our savings took a nose-dive, we had our home and car repossessed. We went on holidays each year now we live hand to mouth on a tight budget whilst trying to pay back our debts.
Devastating, no savings remain both bankrupted and struggling to stay out of further debt
Support is available
Whilst the financial outlook for some of us can look quite bleak at times, it pays to hunt down every penny of government support that you can.
If you haven’t already, start with checking if you are eligible for Carer’s Allowance.
You can also visit the Turn2Us website to check to see if you have missed something.
Finally if just the thought of all of this is a bit much, book a free call with our carer support team to chat it through. You’ll be speaking with a carer and everything is confidential.
What support do you and the person you care for currently receive?
Have you received funding to adapt your home for accessibility?
Do you have life insurance?
Do you spend money on yourself?
Do you own a car?
Other than your mortgage (if you have one), how much debt do you have?
What's your housing situation?
Which of these best describes your current employment status?