Support available to carers in 2023
The life of a carer can be challenging. However, you are not alone. Society, government, and even private businesses offer support designed to help you on your journey.
In this post, we round up the official and unofficial support available to carers in 2023. Here’s what you need to know:
If you spend more than 35 hours caring for someone, you could receive the Carer’s Allowance, currently set at £69.70 per week. Furthermore, the person you care for may also qualify for certain benefits.
If another person shares caring responsibilities with you, only one of you can qualify for the Carer’s Allowance. If the income you earn through the Carer’s Allowance exceeds the Personal Allowance income tax threshold when added to other income sources, you must pay income tax on it.
The government pays the Carer’s Allowance either every four weeks or weekly in advance. Once you qualify for the scheme, you may be able to apply for additional financial benefits. Click here to read our full guide on Carers Allowance.
Council tax reduction
Carers who qualify for the Carer’s Allowance may also qualify for a council tax reduction of up to 100 per cent. Eligibility depends on your household income, including savings and pensions, whether your local council runs such a scheme, and your life circumstances, such as the number of children you have.
Financial support from your local council
Local councils operate carer’s assessments to evaluate your financial standing and ability to provide care services to another person. These are schemes that attempt to separate the needs you have from those of the person you care for.
Following a carer’s assessment, you may qualify for financial support in the form of a “personal budget.” Here, local councils pay for the support you need in carrying out your role. You either receive a direct payment where you decide on the services you use or allow the local council to arrange services for you, avoiding all the paperwork. Funding is only available for your personal needs, not those of the person you care for.
Additional support from your local council
Besides financial support, you may also be entitled to additional support from your local council following your carer’s assessment. Care assessments can provide financial help with taxi fares if you don’t drive, exercise classes to relieve stress, and respite care so you can take a break. They can also put you in touch with support groups in your area so you have more people to talk to.
For many carers, the most important benefit is time out. Taking short breaks from the caring role improves both your quality of life and your ability to take care of the person you care for. You may also qualify for practical help around the home. Local authorities may send someone to help with basic chores, such as gardening, grocery shopping, housework, and laundry.
Depending on the condition of the person you care for, you could be eligible for modifications to your home too. These might include the installation of rails, hoists, and stairlifts that make life easier. Lastly, you could receive help in the form of advocacy. Here, someone liaises with various parties, such as the council, on your behalf, ensuring that you obtain all the support the law entitles you to.
Free or reduced-price access to various amenities and attractions
Many leisure facilities, amenities, and attractions offer free access or discounts for both you and/or the person you care for. Each has its own policy, so you will need to contact providers in advance to find out what deals they offer, or do your own research on their websites. Read our full guide on when carers can gain free access.
Here is a list of well-known benefit schemes you could be eligible for:
- Merlin’s annual pass grants access to all of the entertainment company’s UK attractions for free.
- Cinema CEA grants complimentary access for carers when the person they care for pays the full premium annually.
- The National Trust Essential Companion Card gives carers free access to all National Trust properties when they attend sites with the person they care for.
- Max Card grants free admission for carers who travel with disabled children to various attractions.
- CarerSmart card offers various benefits, including free legal advice, discounts or cash back at top high-street retailers, better rates from energy providers, lower insurance renewal premiums, and discounts on holiday packages from select providers.
- Local council discounts for carers at publicly-operated leisure centres and facilities.
- Regional carer’s cards offer discounts at selected local businesses.
In summary, the level of support available to carers is extensive in 2023. Make sure that you explore all options available to you to improve your quality of life.