Month: August 2019

 As a carer, it can be difficult at times to know exactly what types of support you are entitled to. It is estimated that there could be up to 440,00 people missing out on Carer’s Allowance in the UK, which equates to around £1.5billion worth of benefits.

Below, we’ve provided a complete guide to what Carer’s Allowance is and who is entitled to it, so you can make sure you’re not missing out on what you’re owed.

Contents:

Carer and old man laughing

Who Is Eligible?

Carer’s Allowance is the main welfare benefit available to support people who spend a certain amount of time every week providing care to someone with a disability. In order to be eligible, you do need to fulfil certain requirements, as does the person you care for.

You may be eligible if you:

  •  Care for someone at least 35 hours/week
  • Are aged 16 or over
  • Are no longer in full-time education or studying for more than 21 hours/week
  • Earn less than £116/week after taxes, care costs, and 50% of what you pay into your pension.

You are also only eligible if the person you care for is getting a benefit due to their disability or illness. Benefits could include:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Disability Living Allowance

You will not usually be entitled to Carer’s Allowance if you are claiming State Pension or other benefits that replace income. This can include Employment and Support Allowance.

Does Working Part-Time Affect My Eligibility?

You may still be eligible for Carer’s Allowance if you work part-time. However, you must meet the following criteria:

You spend at least 35 hours caring for someone
You earn no more than £116/week after tax

How Much Will I Be Paid?

If you are eligible, then as a carer, you are entitled to an allowance of £62.70 per week in 2017/18.

This allowance is taxable, which means it can affect other benefits you already receive. This means you could be paid less in another benefit, and the benefits of the person you are caring for may also be affected.

Carer’s allowance can be paid in one of the following ways:

  • Weekly (in advance)
  • Every 4 weeks
  • Every 13 weeks

Your allowance will be paid directly into your bank account or building society.

How To Claim:

If you are eligible for this benefits, you can claim through the Gov.co.uk website here, or by post.

Please see the following details to contact the Carer’s Allowance department:

General enquiries
Telephone: 0345 608 4321
Textphone: 0345 604 5312

Address
Carer’s Allowance Unit
Mail Handling Site A
Wolverhampton
WV98 2AB

How To Apply:

Using the link provided above, you will need to submit some information in order to prove that you qualify for this benefit. To apply, you will need to provide the following information:

  • National Insurance Number
  • Bank details
  • Employment details and your latest payslip (if working)
  • Your P45 if you’ve recently left work
  • Any course details if you are a student

You’ll also need to provide the following details of the person you care for:

  • Address and D.O.B
  • National Insurance Number (if over 16)
  • Disability Living Allowance reference if they’re under 16

Are Tax Credits Affected?

There are some benefits that, if you receive them, will often mean you cannot also be paid Carer’s Allowance. These benefits include:

  • State Pension
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Contributory Employment & Support Allowance
  • Bereavement Benefits
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

These restrictions are due to the ‘overlapping benefits’ rules, which means that if you are getting more than the amount you would receive from Carer’s Allowance from one of the benefits listed above, you are not entitled to Carer’s Allowance.

However, in this case, you would still be able to claim an underlying entitlement. Making an ‘underlying entitlement’ claim can increase any means-tested benefits you receive.

How Does This Benefit Affect My Other Benefits?

Receiving Carer’s Allowance can affect any other benefits you and the person you care for are getting. However, although your other benefits may be reduced, the total payments you receive will typically stay the same or increase.

Benefits that may be affected by this include Income Support, Employment and Support, State Pension and Jobseeker’s benefits. If you receive other benefits that are paid at the same rate of more than Carer’s Allowance, you may instead receive payment of what is called an ‘underlying entitlement’.

In addition, when you claim Carer’s Allowance, the person you care for will no longer receive:

  • Severe disability premium
  • Reduced Council Tax

As Carer’s Allowance can also affect the benefits of the person you care for, they should be informed that you are making a claim.

If you complete a claim form, the person you care for must confirm in writing that they are aware you are claiming Carer’s Allowance as you care for them a minimum of 35 hours/week, and if you apply online they will be informed once you have been approved.

What Other Benefits Can I Get?

If you are eligible for Carer’s Allowance, you may also be eligible for other benefits to support you. These can include:

  • Working Tax Credit.
  • Child Tax Credit.
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support

Visit this website to find out more about applying for additional benefits alongside your Carer’s Allowance.

Income Support Benefits

Carer’s Allowance is not a means-tested benefit and therefore is not based on your household income. There is, however, a cap on how much you can earn from work to be eligible (£116 per week).

If you are already receiving more than the amount of Carer’s Allowance from an income support benefit, you cannot be paid an additional sum. You can, however, submit a claim for an ‘underlying entitlement’.

In order for your claim to be valid, you need to meet all of the eligibility criteria for Carer’s Allowance and still make a claim. If approved, your means-tested benefits may increase as the carer’s premium will be included in any calculations for these benefits.

Can I Claim Carer’s Allowance And Working Tax Credits?

If you currently get a Working Tax credit, you must contact HMRC to notify them of your Carer’s Allowance claim. Claiming can affect your other benefits, including Working Tax Credits, but it does not mean your total payments will change: instead, your other benefits may be reduced to counter in the additional benefit, with your total benefits either staying the same or increasing.

Will My Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Be Affected?

If you currently receive PIP (Personal Independence Payment), then Carer’s Allowance may be available to someone looking after you. If your carer looks after you for 35 hours per week or more and earns £123 or less per week, they may be eligible to claim too.

Does Claiming This Benefit Affect ESA?

Yes, your carer’s allowance can affect any other benefits you receive including Employment Support and Jobseeker’s benefits.

If you receive an Employment Support benefit, you will not be paid your Carer’s Allowance but will instead receive a carer premium. This means that the premium (£34.60) will be included in the amount you receive for ESA. See the below answer for more information on overlapping benefits.

Does It Affect My Housing Benefits?

If the person you care for receives housing benefits, their benefits may be affected. Other means-tested benefits that could potentially be affected by a claim include:

  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Council Tax Reduction

Does This Benefit Affect Child Tax Credits?

Carer’s Allowance is a taxable benefit which means it will be considered as income when calculating other credits such as Child Tax Credits. This can mean that your tax credits are reduced.

Do My Savings Impact My Eligibility?

No – your savings and national insurance record do not make a difference to your eligibility. Even if you have savings to financially support yourself, you can still apply f you match the other requirements.

Can I Claim for Caring for Multiple People?

No, you get only get one payment of Carer’s Allowance for one person. You may not add together the time you spend caring for multiple people, and you must choose just one person to claim for if you care for more than one person.

Likewise, if you and another person both spend at least 35 hours caring for the same person every week, only one of you are entitled to claim. It should be agreed between the two of you who will make the claim, and the other person should seek further advice about the benefits they can claim.

If the person you care for is also caring for someone else, you are both entitled to claim provided you both meet the criteria. This also applies if you are carers for one another.

When selecting a storage facility for your belongings, there are a number of things to consider: location, facilities, security, convenience, and price.

It’s important to remember that the cheapest storage facility isn’t necessarily the best facility – but that being said, it’s always a good idea to get a few different quotes and an idea of how much storage costs monthly or annually to be sure you’re still getting a fair deal for storing your possessions.

Storage facilities will offer different contracts based on a few different factors, which we’ve broken down here:

 

1. Price per sq. ft.

 

Most storage facilities will have a number of differently sized storage units and will charge per square foot. Typically, the bigger the unit, the cheaper the price per sq. ft.

With this in mind, it’s important to work out how big a unit you need. It’s also worth taking into consideration whether you are likely to need to add more items to your storage unit in the future or, on the other end of the scale, will be taking items out of storage soon.

If you think you may just be in the cusp of a more expensive bracket, it may be worth assessing your possessions and donating or throwing away the things you are unlikely to actually need after putting them in storage to help you save money.

 

2. Length of time

 

Secondly, how much storage will cost is determined by the length of time you need your unit for. Typically, storage facilities will have set fees for a week, month, two months etc, and facilities that offer long term storage may have an annual fee as well.

Storage costs will be cheaper per month the longer your contract is for (e.g. a year-long contract will be cheaper per month than paying for one month at a time without a contract), so it’s worth having a good idea of how long you will need your storage unit for in order to give you the best deal.

 

Other Things To Consider:

 

When deciding where to store your belongings, you’ll want to bear the following things in mind:

  • Good location
  • Size of unit
  • Security features
  • Convenience
  • Time

These features will all affect the price of your storage unit. The more secure a facility is and the more convenient they’re services, typically the higher the cost.

Likewise, if you need self-storage for an entire home as opposed to one room, you’re going to be quoted more for a bigger storage unit. However, the longer you store these belongings, the cheaper the price will be.

 

Other costs:

 

Aside from the cost of the storage unit itself, there are other costs to consider when comparing quotes. These costs include:

 

Insurance

You must insure your belongings against damage or theft when stored in a unit. The level of cover you receive may vary depending on the premium you pay.

Get more information on what’s covered with storage insurance, or go straight to getting a quote today.


Monthly vs Annual Payments

Many businesses provide a discount for annual payments over monthly payments. If you know that you are going to need your belongings stored for a considerable amount of time, consider paying the annual fee to cut down costs.


Transport

Does the self-storage facility provide a transport service to get your belongings to the facility? If not, you will need to add in the additional cost to hire a moving van if required.


Quality

If you have a number of valuable possessions you need to put into storage, the quality of the company you go with will be an important factor. You’ll want a facility with units that are raised off the ground to avoid damage from damp or flooding, perhaps climate-controlled units, excellent security features, and limited access to the public.

The higher the quality of self-storage service, the higher the price you’ll be required to pay – but for the sake of ensuring the safety of your belongings, it may be worth it.

A UCL study provides the average prices in the following cities showing rent per month per square foot.

  • London (£52.50ft2 per month)
  • Belfast (£6.82/ft2 per month)
  • Cambridge (£4.08ft2 per month)
  • Edinburgh (£3.45ft2 per month)
  • Brighton (£3.38/ft2 per month)
  • Leicester (£3.18ft2 per month)

The cost of self-storage depends on many variables related to both your needs and the facility that offers self-storage units. The best way to get an accurate quote tailored to your requirements is to find your local self-storage companies nearby, and contact them directly for a free quote for their self-storage services.

 

Benefits of Storage:

Storage Lockers

Whether you need to declutter your home to move house, store some belongings for an extended trip abroad, or are going to study at University for a year, there are many reasons to use self storage.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at the biggest benefits to using self storage, and the typical prices you’ll be looking at to store your belongings.

Declutter

Self-storage is a great option for when you’re looking to declutter your home, but aren’t ready to let those belongings go altogether. This is perfect if you’re renovating your home, downsizing, or need to make room for an expanding family.

Security

Self storage facilities are typically very secure places to store your belongings for a short or long term period. More often than not, a self-storage facility will offer more security than a garage or alternative private storage unit. These is because these facilities have a range of security features including CCTV, patrols, inventory lists, and more. You should check the features of the facility you consider first as they may differ from site to site.

Insurance

Storage insurance will mean your belongings will be replaced should they be stolen or damaged while stored in your unit. This insurance can often be more cost-effective than home insurance, so do your research first to see what suits your budget better.

For many self-storage units, you are required to have storage insurance, which will protect the contents of your unit.

The summer holidays provided a perfect excuse to see more of what’s right on our doorstep here in the UK, whether you fancy getting outdoors and by the coast, or venturing into the capital for some fun day trips.

For people with limited mobility, it can be a stressful and disappointing time trying to find attractions and activities that are accessible for all. However, there are many attractions across the country that have been designed with people with limited mobility in mind – with projects such as VisitEngland working hard to make UK attractions accessible for everyone.

Below, we’ve listed some of our top 10 favourite UK accessible attractions that you should definitely consider visiting this summer.

Indoor Attractions

1) Warner Bros Studio Tour, Hertfordshire

The Harry Potter Studio Tour based in Watford, Hertfordshire, is a wonderful day out for all the family.

Whether you’ve read all the books, seen all the films, and call yourself a mega-fan, or you’re just friends with one, there’s still something there are for everyone.

Roam around the real sets and costumes from the films, and be stunned by the Hogwarts Express! The Studio Tour has BSL and audio described tours available, and also has good accessibility through as well as free carer tickets to ensure this is a day out anyone can enjoy.

2) The Chill Factor, Manchester

Chill Factor is home to Disability Snowsport UK, which is a national charity that enables individuals with disabilities to take part in adaptive skiing.

This centre is able to cater for people with very limited mobility, with the rest of the attraction also accessible with lifts.

If you’re a bit more of a daredevil and would love to get involved in a more active day out, a visit to the Chill Factor could be a great day out for you.

3) The Science Museum, London

The Science Museum in London is accessible for disabled visitors, providing written material in a large print as well as language resources and information in Braille.

The museum is also fully wheelchair accessible, and hosts accessible events for deaf audiences, audi-described events for partially-sighted or blind visitors, and provides concessionary tickets for the IMAX 3D cinema with support workers admitted for free.

4) Riverside Museum, Glasgow

The Riverside Museum is a transport museum that hosts artefacts from hundreds of years ago all the way up to the most modern technology.

Anyone who’s interested in transport will love a day out to this fun museum, and as a newly built site, making everything accessible was a top priority.

5) Cadbury World, Birmingham

Cadbury World makes for a fantastic day out, offering visitors the opportunity to see the inner workings behind one of the biggest chocolate brands in the world.

The attraction offers a large print guide, audio tours, and subtitles on video presentations. It is also wheelchair accessible with wheelchairs available to use, and the Cadabra ride includes an adapted mobile car that can seat a wheelchair and one companion.

Outdoors Attractions

VisitEngland have worked to make attractions across England more accessible to all. We’d highly recommend checking out their brochure on the Access for All project, whic includes destinations in Brighton, Birmingham, Margate, the Peak District, Nottingham, Lincoln, and Northumberland.

6) The Eden Project, Cornwall

The Eden Project is a conservation project with plants from all over the world inside two huge biomes.

It’s a wonderful day out to enjoy some of the weird and wonderful elements of nature, with good access.

Other features include accessible parking, toilets, guides in a variety of formats, and free carer tickets too.

7) Giant’s Causeway, Belfast

Giant’s Causeway is a National Trust heritage site that is one of the most beautiful natural wonders in the UK.

Although there are some accessibility concerns involved here, it is still a brilliant day out for everyone.

The site features mobility parking and a wheelchair friendly shuttle bus, as well as a fully accessible visitors centre and accessible toilets.

In regards to approaching the site itself, there is an accessible trail but mobility scooter and wheelchair users may need added assistance.


8) London Zoo, London

London Zoo is a great day out for people of all ages, and it is an almost completely accessible site for wheelchair users and people with limited mobility, so anyone can visit the Land of Lions, the Aquarium, and much more.

Staff on-site are fully trained to provide support to people with additional needs, and there’s even a Special Children’s Day from May 19th – 29th where children with special needs can come and meet the animals for a discounted fee.

Wheelchair hire is available, but this should be booked in advance.

9) Kew Gardens, London

Kew Gardens is a must-see for visitors to London, offering the opportunity to see thousands of different exotic flora and fauna. The garden paths are mostly flat, tarmac paths, and also buildings have ramp access.

Read the Kew Gardens Accessibility guide for full details.

10) Coasteering, Pembrokeshire

Celtic Quest, a coasteering specialist company based in Pembrokeshire, can tailor their activities to suit many learning difficulties and mobility disabilities. They have a coasteering kit to make you buoyant so you don’t need to be a strong swimmer – the daredevils amongst you may be interested in checking this out!

Surewise believes in helping our customers live life confidently.

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Mobility Scooter Insurance

Wheelchair Insurance

Carers Insurance

The Work and Pensions Select Committee have said that they believe ministers are bullying carers who have made honest mistakes when receiving carer’s allowance.

In April, the National Audit Office found that thousands of carers had accidentally been overpaid on their Carer’s Allowance due to the DWP failing to spot these errors.

Carer’s Allowance

Carer’s Allowance is a benefit someone can claim if they care for one person for 35 hours or more a week, and earn less than £116/week after taxes, care costs, and 50% of what you pay into your pension.

You can view the full eligibility requirements in our full guide to carer’s allowance and other benefits.

Overpayments problem

Recently, it was revealed that problems within the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) meant there was a failure to spot overpayments, which are now being recovered by the government.

The MP committee has claimed that the government are bullying carers by pursuing the overpayments.

Frank Field, chair of the committee, stated that “bullying carers is no way to recognise, much less support, the invaluable contribution they make to our society and the people they care for”.

The DWP ignored concerns that they were failing to spot overpayments for years, resulting in an estimated two-thirds of carers now having debts for overpayments over £2,500.

The National Audit Office found the DWP was aiming to recoup overpayments from 80,000 people, worth about £150m. Reporting on this crisis, the BBC report that “most debts are for less than £1,000 but some people owe more than £20,000.”

Director of policy and public affairs at Carers UK, Emily Holzhausen, has also commented on this, stating that the people impacted by overpayments are already struggling financially and under considerable stress. She urged the department to consider writing off overpayments rather than pursuing them.

Other articles you might like to read include:

It is estimated that up to a fifth of the UK population live in privately rented accommodation, so it may come as a surprise that for so many people living in rented accommodation, few are well versed on their rights when it comes to repairs that need carrying out on their home. 

When you rent your home and something goes wrong, it isn’t always clear who the responsibility for arranging repairs lays with. For many tenants, this can lead to long periods living in a fault home, whether that’s no heating, leaks, or something else, trying to work out who is responsible for fixing the problem.

Handing over keys

Typically, it is down to your landlord to fix any issues that occur, but sometimes it is up to the tenant to address the issue. To avoid paying out unnecessary fees – or living in a house in need of repairs for a prolonged period – we’ve covered who is responsible for what in this article.

If you are currently renting your home, or are a landlord renting out a property, this article will address who is in charge of what repairs in your rented home, and when.

Contents

House Repairs: Who Is Responsible?

Typically, house repairs fall within the remit of the landlord’s responsibility, rather than the tenants. Although there is not an exhaustive list of what a landlord is obligated to repair in your rented home, there are some repairs that landlords must deal with.

These include:

  • Fixing broken sinks, toilets, and baths and ensuring they remain in a useable, sanitary condition
  • Boiler repairs
  • Electrical wiring and electric fires or heaters
  • Structural repairs, including any repairs to the exterior of the building, roof, guttering and external doors and windows
  • Repairs to the chimney if your house has one

It’s important to note that your landlord only has to deal with these repairs once they are aware of the problem – so regular communication with your landlord to keep them up to date on the state of your home is essential.

How long does my landlord have to carry out repairs?

Once you have informed your landlord that repairs are needed, they are required to carry out the necessary repairs within a reasonable period of time.

How long exactly they have to carry out this work depends on how serious the problem is.

They must carry out repairs within a reasonable period of time. How long your landlord has to do the work depends on how serious the problem is.

What should I do if my landlord won’t carry out repairs?

If you have informed your landlord of the repairs that are needed and they haven’t acted on this in a reasonable amount of time, there are a few things you can do.

You should keep all evidence of your communication with your landlord, and you can then report disrepair in your home to your council’s private renting team. If you are not sure what repairs lay with what party still, the first thing you should do is to consult your tenancy agreement, which should outline the responsibilities of both the tenant and the landlord.

As a last resort, you can also take your landlord to court.

You should not withhold rent from your landlord to force them to carry out repairs on your home, as this can give them grounds to evict you at a later date.

Tenant Responsibilities

As you can see, a lot of things that could go wrong with your home are the responsibility of the landlord to repair, which will be a relief to many tenants.

That being said, there are a few things that you (as the tenant) are responsible for – often things that are caused by wear and tear due to you living in the property, or accidental damage that is your fault.

However, there are some things that must be repaired directly by the tenant. This is for cosmetic damage, which can include:

  • Damage to door or window (by your own fault)
  • Damaged plaster
  • Any damage to internal doors or skirting boards
  • General maintenance and cleaning
  • Small wear and tear repairs

As a tenant, you also have certain responsibilities to keep your home in a reasonable condition. These include:

  • Keeping your home (reasonably) clean
  • Performing safety checks on the electric appliances that you own
  • Maintaining the garden to a reasonable state
  • Minor maintenance including replacing light bulbs and smoke alarm batteries when necessary

You don’t need to keep your home in a better condition than before you moved in, but you do need to keep your home maintained to a reasonable level.

Using your tenancy agreement

If you are confused on your rights for a certain repair or part of your contract, your first port of call should be checking your tenancy agreement. Here, you might find that your landlord has included extra conditions that they are responsible for repairing (such as fault fridges. washing machines etc) or find more information as to what the best way to communicate these problems is.

Whether you are a tenant renting your property, a landlord renting out your property, or you’re living in the home you own, protecting your home and its contents from unexpected accidents is essential.

At Surewise.com, we offer a number of Home and Contents Insurance policies to suit people in all living situations. Find out more and consider getting a quote to protect your home and your belongings today.