National Carers Strategy and legal definition of a carer
A carer spends a significant proportion of their life providing unpaid support to family or potentially friends. This could be caring for a relative, partner or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or substance misuse problems.
- The Carers (Recognition & Services) Act 1995.
- The Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000.
- The Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004.
- Care Act 2014
- The Act strengthens the rights and recognition of carers in the social care system and for the first time gives carers a clear right to receive services. These are by far the strongest rights for carers yet.
The Care Act covers adult social care in England only. The Children and Families Act 2014 includes new duties for the assessment of young carers and parent carers of children under 18.
NHS – Commitment to Carers 2014
- Recognise me as a carer (this may not always be as ‘carers’ but simply as parents, children, partners, friends and members of our local communities);
- Information is shared with me and other professionals;
- Signpost information for me and help link professionals together;
- Care is flexible and is available when it suits me and the person I care for;
- Recognise that I also may need help both in my caring role and in maintaining my own health and well-being;
- Respect, involve and treat me as an expert in care; and
- Treat me with dignity and compassion
This is the No 1 priority for all carers, it enables you to have a self-assessment to see what you might be eligible for.
NHS Choices have this excellent section on their website that explains about Carers Assessments as well as a section on how to prepare for an assessment.
- The main state benefit that some carers can claim is Carer’s Allowance.
- This allowance is for people who regularly spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone with a disability who receives a Disability Living Allowance (Middle or Higher Rate for Personal Care), Attendance Allowance or Constant Attendance Allowance (paid as an addition to a War Disablement Pension or industrial disablement benefit).
- Carers must not be in full time education or earning above a certain amount. Dependents additions may be payable. It is taxable.
Who qualifies for a Carer’s Allowance?
- You must be 16 years old or over
- You must look after someone for at least 35 hours a week
- The person you look after must receive a qualifying disability benefit
- If you work you must not earn more than £102 a week net pay, although this figure is revised every April, so be sure to check (see relevant links below)
- You must be living in the UK when you claim Carer’s Allowance
- You must not be a full-time student. This is defined as supervised studying for 21 or more hours per week
How much is Carer’s Allowance?
Carer’s Allowance is is paid at a standard rate, currently set at £62.70 a week.If you made your claim before 6 April 2010, you may also be able to get extra benefit for your partner or someone who looks after your children. This includes partners who are living together as well as those who are married or in a civil partnership. It includes lesbian, gay or heterosexual partners.
You can only get the extra benefit if the person you are claiming for has earnings below a certain amount and does not get certain benefits in their own right which are worth more than the extra Carer’s Allowance.
If you made your claim after 6 April 2010, you can no longer get the extra benefit.
Other Important Information
Make Sure: to check with the person you are caring for before you make a claim for Carer’s Allowance since they may lose some of the benefit they receive, such as a severe disability addition, as a result of the Carer’s Allowance claim.This is only if the disabled person lives on their own and does not include underlying entitlement awards of Carer’s Allowance.
Underlying Entitlement: You cannot receive Carer’s Allowance and a State Retirement Pension. If however you are a carer who would qualify for Carers Allowance, you may be entitled to what is known as Underlying Entitlement, which may entitle you to benefits that your retirement pension does.
For more information about the Carer’s Allowance visit:
- Your local Carers’ Centre
- Your local Citizens Advice Bureau
- Directgov website
- CarersDirect website
- CAB’s online advice guide
You can also claim online via the GOV UK site.
Local Services Link: www.carers.org
NHS Choices pages Link: www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Disability/Pages/Carers.aspx
Carers UK Link: www.carersuk.org
Carers and Employment Link: http://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/work-and-career