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Taking care of someone else at home, whether it’s a friend or a relative and whether it’s full or part time can be really demanding. As well as using up your time and energy, caring for someone can also tax you emotionally. So it’s really important to make sure that you are taking care of yourself as well.

This means that you should make sure you receive all the help that you are entitled to, both financially and with practical support, and also in terms of your own health and welfare.

Who Can You Ask for Help?

The first place you should ask is at your Local Council. They provide a number of services for carers in the community and they will be able to tell you all the services available, and how to go about applying for them. There are also charities and local groups who help carers, and on-line forums that let you keep in touch with other carers – see the Links at the end of this article for some of these organizations.

Assessments for Carers

When deciding what services you are entitled to, your local council will carry out a “Carers Assessment”. The assessment is about your needs as the carer and will be carried out by Social Services. They will look at your role as a carer, what you do and the commitment required by you to meet the needs of the person you are caring for. They then see what services you will be entitled to that will help you, such as;

  • support to give you a break from caring ·
  • help with housework ·
  • changes to equipment or adaptations to the home ·
  • emotional support Paying for the Services

The services are means tested and once the assessment is made, your Council will look at you income and capital (Property and Savings) and decide whether you will be charged for any of the services offered. To find out what the limits are you should contact your Council or go to the Direct.Gov link at the end of this article.

Direct Payments

There is a scheme where, if you are entitled to service for which the Council will pay, you can be paid the cash as an allowance from the Council rather then receive the service direct. You then arrange that service yourself and pay for it using the Direct Payments Allowance. This can be ideal where the Council Services are stretched and difficult to arrange as it allows you to make your own arrangements. You should ask your Council about this scheme.

Other Financial Support

There is also a state allowance available for the carers - “Carers Allowance” which is available for carers who have low incomes or cannot work at all because they are looking after someone who is ill or disabled.

The person being cared for can also claim benefits and Allowances, depending on their condition, and these should always be claimed. Easing the financial situation in every way possible can relieve a lot of the stress associated with caring.

There is a wide range of disability-related financial support, including benefits, tax credits, payments, grants and concessions. If the person you care for qualifies for a benefit but is unable to make a claim themselves, you can claim on their behalf.

Many elderly people are uncomfortable with claiming benefits, due to pride and the confusion they can experience with the form filling and red tape involved, but offering them help with this will pay dividends many times over once the payments begin.

Caring and the State Pension

The State Pension is based on the number of years in which you have paid or are credited with National Insurance contributions. If you are unable to work because you are caring for someone, you can still get credited with National Insurance contributions. If you are entitled to Carer's Allowance, you will be credited automatically. See the Direct.Gov Link at the end of this article for full details.

Carers And Support Services