Next Friday 30th November is Carers Rights Day, an annual event which aims to increase awareness of the needs of carers, as well as inform carers where they can get more help and support.
It is a day organised by the charity Carers UK, and is arguably more important than ever with recent news reports showing the increasing percentage of the population that have become unpaid carers.
A recent survey showed that there are currently an estimated 6.5 million unpaid carers in the UK (1 in 10 of the entire population), with 3 million unpaid carers juggling their caring responsibilities with work, family, and other roles.
In 2015, it was revealed that 8 out of 10 carers have felt isolated or lonely as a result of looking after a loved one, so the need to help carers find the support and help they need and to raise awareness of the social exclusion many carers experience is more important than ever.
Ahead of Carers Rights Day, we’ve collected some of the most important things you need to know as a carer and the benefits you may be entitled to:
Carer’s Allowance is the main welfare benefit available to support people who care for someone for more than 35 hours a week. In order to be eligible for carer’s allowance, you do need to fulfil certain requirements, as does the person you care for.
You may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance 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.
Find out more about Carer’s Allowance in our full guide.
Carer’s credit is available if you are caring for someone for at least 20 hours per week, and do not receive Carer’s Allowance. To be eligible you must:
- – Be 16 or over
- – Be under State Pension age
- – Care for one or more people for 20 hours/week minimum
Carer’s Credit is a National Insurance contribution that bridges gaps in your National Insurance record that could otherwise cause you to lose social security benefits in the future, such as the State Pension. The person you care for must receive one of the following benefits in order for you to be eligible for Carer’s Credit:
- – Disability Living Allowance (middle or highest rate)
- – Constant Attendance Allowance
- – Attendance Allowance
- – Personal Independence Payment
- – Armed Forces Independence Payment
Direct Payments are available from Health and Social Care Trusts and are available to people who are assessed as needing support form social services. If you are a carer aged 16 or over, you can usually receive a direct payment.
You can use your direct payments to buy services the Trust agrees you need in order to support you in your role as a carer, such as services from an organisation, or for employing someone to provide you with more help.
Respite for Carers
Aside from the benefits you may be entitled to, there are ways you can find respite as a carer and receive more support in your role.
Take a look at our guide to Respite for Carers: How to Get a Break for all the different ways you can find more support as a carer.
Carers Rights Day has organisations across the UK hosting events and activities dedicated to raising awareness for carers. Check out the Carers UK page for more information and to see how you could get involved.