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HELP AND MONEY AVAILABLE FOR CARE AT HOME AND FAMILY CARERS

Whether or not you agree with the policy, care in the community is a reality we have to deal with. There have been several government studies and numerous reports from the caring agencies and charities who take on the real work of dealing with people who need care, both in homes and hospitals, and whatever their conclusions there is an acceptance that the responsibility for taking care of the disabled, ill and elderly will fall more and more on families at home.

To balance this, resources and funding are being made available to help the carers and cared for, but the process of finding out what help is available, and howto go about actually getting that help can be frustrating.

This is due to mainly to the fact that several agencies can be involved in the care of a particular individual. So making sure you get all the help you are entitled to, both financial and practical is something worth devoting a little time to as it can pay dividends many times over.

WHO SHOULD GET THE HELP?

There are 2 sides to look at when thinking about the care needs of someone and the help available:

  1. What can the individual claim for themselves, and
  2. What help is available for the carer(s), whether they live with the person or not.

IF YOU ARE THE ONE NEEDING CARE

Attendance Allowance is for people over 65 who need help with personal care or need supervision to make sure they do not endanger themselves for what the rest of us would consider normal daily living (e.g. washing, dressing, using the bathroom or eating).

Disability Allowance should be claimed by those under 65, and which part of the allowance that can be claimed will depend on what help they actually need:

Care and Supervision: if you need help looking after yourself or supervision to keep you safe.
Mobility: if you can't walk or need help getting around.

You may qualify for either, or both, of these allowances, it depends on your circumsatances.

These allowances are paid to the person being cared for, not the carer, but making sure they are claimed can reduce the financial burden on the families doing the caring. They are not means tested (i.e. they are not affected by a persons savings or normally their income either) and can be claimed whether the person is living with other people or alone.

IF YOU ARE THE CARER

DIRECT PAYMENTS FOR CARERS

You can apply for this allowance from your local council who will carry out an assessment of your situation. If it is decided that you qualify for help in your caring role, then an allowance can be paid that enables you to arrange your own care support and products rather than receiving them direct from Social Services. This can give you a lot of flexibility in the way you arrange care, although it should be considered carefully as Social Services do provided some excellent services.

PENSIONS

Caring for someone may mean you are unable to work at all, and this can affect your state pension entitlement as you may not build up enough National Insurance contributions. As a care you may still be able to build up your entitlement, as well as qualify for extra Pension Credit. This will be available from April 2010.

COMMUNITY CARE GRANTS

If you are caring for someone who is ill or disabled, and you are already claiming certain benefits, then you may be able to claim for a Community Care Grant. They are made in exceptional circumstances when a real need to ease the pressure on a family is apparent.

Council Tax Allowance

You may be entitled to a Council Tax reduction if you are a carer and you live in the same property as the person you are caring for and provide at least 35 hours a week of care.

Also, the person you care for must have one of the following:

  1. Higher rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance
  2. Higher rate of Attendance Allowance
  3. An increased Disablement Pension
  4. An increased Constant Attendance Allowance

The person you are caring for can't be your spouse, partner or child under 18 years old.

WHERE TO GET MORE INFORMATION AND DETAILS ON HOW TO CLAIM

More information on all of these sources of help, and how to claim them, are available at the Direct Gov website. Use the following Links to get to the most up to date information:
 

Caring for Someone - Money Matters
Disability Allowance 

You’ll also find a lot of good information at the following site:

Age UK