The cost of living crisis is affecting everyone, and creating additional worries for carers and the people they are looking after. However, there is support available whatever your circumstances.
The government is offering help for households. See what cost of living support you could be eligible for such as help with energy bills, child care costs, housing, transport, finding work and discounts. Check the government website here
Get the latest guidance from Citizens Advice including getting help with essential costs and budgeting. Find out more on their website
Financial support through the welfare benefits system could support you and the person you care for, and help reduce your financial concerns.
There are a number of benefits that you and the person you care for may be eligible for, see below for information on some of the more common benefits. For the most up to date information, visit the Citizens Advice website.
**Every little helps! Scroll down the page to see a number of available discounts and concessions for Carers**
Carer’s Allowance is a benefit for people who are giving regular and substantial care to disabled people. Carer’s Allowance is a taxable benefit and forms part of your taxable income.
You can usually get Carer’s Allowance if all of the following apply:
- you’re aged 16 or over
- you’re not in full time education (If your course is described as full time or you attend for at least 21 hours a week)
- you spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a disabled person
- you don’t earn more than £132 a week from employment or self-employment – after deductions such as income tax, National Insurance and half of your pension contributions. You can take off any care costs you might have for your children or the severely disabled person you care for while you work, up to a maximum of half your net weekly earnings.
- you’re not subject to immigration control that would stop you getting benefits
The person you’re caring for must get one of the following benefits, called ‘qualifying benefits’:
- Disability Living Allowance higher or middle rate care component
- Personal Independence Payment standard or enhanced daily living component
- Attendance Allowance
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Constant Attendance Allowance paid with an industrial injuries benefit or war disablement pension
You usually have to be in Great Britain when you claim. There are some exceptions, for example, for members of the Armed Forces.
Carers Allowance is an earnings replacement benefit. This means that if you receive a State Pension (also an earnings replacement benefit) you might not be paid Carer’s Allowance, even if you are eligible, because you can only receive one earnings replacement benefit at a time. You will only receive some Carer’s Allowance if your pension is lower than the Carer’s Allowance rate.
Those who would receive Carers Allowance if not for their pension are still considered eligible. You could be awarded an extra amount called a Carer Premium in other benefits you might claim, such as Housing Benefit or Pension Credit, so if you know you won’t receive Carers Allowance payments, it could still be of benefit to you to put in a claim.
You may be able to get an extra amount because of your caring role called the ‘Carer Element’ if you are claiming Universal Credit, without applying for Carers Allowance. To be eligible you need to satisfy the same conditions as with Carer’s Allowance, but there is no limit on how much you can earn.
Universal Credit has replaced these benefits for most people:
- Housing Benefit
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Income Support
You might be able to get Universal Credit if you’re not working or you’re on a low income. You usually have to be 18 to apply. In some cases you can be 16 or 17. You also need to be:
- Under state pension age
- Live in the UK (there are extra rules if you’re not a British Citizen)
- Have less than £16,000 in savings
If you live with a partner, their income and savings will also be taken into account.
It might be worth claiming Universal Credit if:
- you are caring for someone
- you struggle to pay bills
- your income has dropped but you are still working
- you’ve lost your job and have no income
- you have expensive childcare costs
- you have an illness or disability that stops you from working
There’s no set level of income where you stop being eligible for Universal Credit – it depends on your situation, and you can be self -employed. If you live with someone it could affect how much you get.
If you have ‘regular and substantial’ caring responsibilities for a severely disabled person, you will be eligible for a Carer Element in Universal Credit. You don’t have to be getting Carer’s Allowance to get this. This means that you could still get a Carer Element in Universal Credit if your earnings are too high to receive Carers Allowance.
Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit, which means your income will affect how much you might receive. Carer’s Allowance counts in full as income, so every £1 of Carer’s Allowance you get reduces your Universal Credit by £1. Because of this, you may not be any better off if you claim Carers Allowance and receive a Carers Element.
You must sign a claimant commitment to get Universal Credit. This explains what is expected of you during your claim, such as any work-related requirements. If you qualify for the Carer Element you will have no work-related requirements. If you do want to work while receiving Universal Credit your payments may reduce based on your income, but you will still receive more over all than if you just received universal credit alone. For every £1 you earn from employment, your universal credit reduces by 55p, meaning you keep 45p per £1.
When you earn enough to no longer be eligible to receive universal credit, you will be notified. You can always claim again if your earnings go down.
There are other benefits you or the person you care for should apply for if you or they are eligible for Universal Credit.
- You should apply for a Council Tax Reduction, which won’t reduce your Universal Credit if you get it.
- If you are disabled, you should check if you are eligible for Personal Independence payment (PIP).
- If you are responsible for a child, you should check if you can claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
Getting PIP or DLA won’t reduce the amount of Universal Credit you get.
To receive Attendance Allowance you must have reached State Pension age. You also need to have a disability or illness that makes it hard for you to look after yourself. It has a lower rate and a higher rate and your care and supervision needs are assessed to find out which rate you qualify for.
If you need help or supervision through the day or sometimes through the night because of an illness or disability you should apply, even if you don’t currently get any help.
Help could include:
- With your personal care – for example eating or drinking, getting dressed, bathing, showering and toilg to the toilet and getting in and out of bed.
- To stay safe.
You should also apply if you have difficulties with personal tasks, for example if they take you a long time, you experience pain or you need physical help, like a chair to lean on. It might help if you compare how you do the personal tasks now to how you used to do them.
Attendance allowance isn’t only for people who have difficulties that present as physical. You can also claim if need help or supervision because of:
- Learning difficulties
- A mental health condition
- A sensory condition such as if you are deaf or blind
To qualify you must have had these care needs for at least six months and expect them to continue. Importantly you don’t need to have had a diagnosis. You may still be seeking one.
Income and savings are not taken into account when applying for Attendance Allowance, and it won’t reduce any other benefits you receive.
If you are eligible for Attendance allowance, you will qualify for extra amounts called disability premiums in other benefits you receive, such as Pension Credit.
You should seek a benefits check should you become eligible for attendance allowance, or you can check yourself using the Turn 2 Us benefits checker.
Personal Independence Payment
You might be able to get Personal Independence Payment (PIP) if you need extra help because of an illness, disability or mental health condition that makes every day tasks or getting around hard. You need to have found these things hard for 3 months, and expect to continue to find them hard for another 9 months.
You can make a PIP claim whether or not you get help from anyone. You can make a claim before 3 months, but you will not receive PIP until 3 months is reached.
You don’t need to have worked or paid National Insurance to qualify for PIP, and it doesn’t matter what your income is, if you have any savings or you’re working.
To make a claim you must be aged between 16 years old and State Pension age. You will be assessed for daily living needs and mobility needs. These are two components of PIP. You may receive one or both. If you qualify, depending on your needs, you will receive a standard rate or an enhanced rate.
PIP doesn’t look the disability or illness you have, but the impact that it has on you. The assessment looks at specific activities such as:
- Preparing, cooking and eating a meal
- Washing and bathing
- Managing toilet needs or incontinence
- Getting dressed
- Managing your treatments
- Communicating with others
- Understanding written information
- Making decisions about money
- Mixing and socialising with others
- Planning journeys and following routes
- Moving around
Your assessor will award points for each activity depending on your ability to carry them out. The total of the points will determine if you are eligible for PIP and the components and rates you will receive.
PIP claims do not take into account income or savings and you can also claim if you are a student. Eligibility for PIP will not impact on any other benefits you may receive. A PIP award may mean you also qualify for disability premiums in some other benefits. You are advised to seek a benefit check should you become eligible for PIP.
Check how to fill your claim form here.
Pension Credit boosts your weekly income and is based on how much money you have coming in.
There are two parts to Pension Credit, guarantee credit and savings credit, and you may get one or both.
Guarantee Credit tops up your weekly income to a minimum amount.
Savings Credit is a small top-up for people who have a modest amount of income or savings. It’s only available if you reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016.
To be eligible for Guarantee Credit, you must not have too much income or savings, and live in the UK. If you have a partner but they are not yet state pension age, you will continue to get Guarantee Credit if you already receive it (unless your circumstance change). You can not usually make a new claim, unless:
- You reached state pension age before the 15th May 2019
- You’ve been claiming housing benefit since before 15th May 2019
Otherwise you will usually need to claim universal credit instead, until your partner reaches state pension age.
Savings Credit is only available if you reached state pension age before the 6th April 2016. There are weekly income thresholds you must meet if you are single or claiming as a couple.
Pension Credit is means-tested which means your income and savings are taken into account. Carer’s Allowance counts in full as income so for every £1 of Carer’s Allowance you get you will lose £1 of Pension Credit. If you are entitled to Carer’s Allowance, even if you don’t receive a payment because your pension is higher, you will get an extra amount called a Carer Addition included when your Pension Credit is calculated.
Disability Living Allowance
It’s very common for a parent to think they won’t be able to get Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for their child when they can.
DLA isn’t just for children who are physically disabled. It can be given for a wide range of medical conditions including behavioural and mental health conditions as well as learning disabilities and developmental delay. You might be able to claim even if you wouldn’t describe your child as ‘disabled’.
To make a new claim for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) your child must be under 16. DLA has two components, a care component and a mobility component, and each component has different rates. Your child’s needs will be assessed to find out which rate they qualify for. They might be eligible to get one or both components.
Your child must have been disabled or had the condition for at least 3 months, and you must expect it to last for 6 more. You don’t need a formal diagnosis from a doctor to apply, but this can usually help.
When assessing a child’s needs, unless they are terminally ill, it is considered whether their needs are substantially more than those of a child the same age who does not have a disability. For this reason, the higher rate mobility component can only be paid from age three onwards and the lower rate from age five. There is no lower age limit for the care component.
If your child is terminally ill and not expected to live more than 6 months, you can apply right away regardless of how long your child has had difficulties for.
The mobility component is based on your child’s ability to walk and how hard they find it to get around places that they don’t know well. For the mobility component, a child must be unable or virtually unable to walk because of their disability. Children who are blind or severely visually impaired, born without feet or double amputees are also eligible. Some children who have severe mental impairment or severe behavioural problems could also qualify.
The care component is based on how much care and supervision your child needs because of their condition. For the care component, a child’s disability must lead to them needing attention with bodily functions like seeing, eating, communicating, and going to the toilet, or personal care like bathing or dressing. They may also qualify if they need supervision to prevent danger to themselves or others. How often they need this attention or supervision and whether it is during the day and/or night will decide which rate of DLA they might be awarded.
DLA isn’t means tested, so it doesn’t matter how much you earn or how much money you might have in savings.
Any other benefits you might be getting won’t be affected. In fact, getting DLA could mean that:
- you can get other benefits, or
- you can get a higher rate of the benefits that you currently get
Find out if you or the person you care for is missing out with the benefits calculator at Turn 2 Us . It’s completely confidential. Complete if fully and accurately for a good indication of the benefits you could apply for.
Not sure where to start with budgeting? Then use the free Money Matters Budget Planner
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Before you get started, grab as much information (bank statements, bills…) as you can. The more up to date your details are, the more accurate your results will be.
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Not sure where to start? It can be scary to admit you need help, but that’s an important step towards dealing with your money worries. StepChange are there to help start the conversation about debt
Help with Energy Bills
If you can’t afford your bills
Information and advice from Ofgem about getting help if you can’t afford your energy bills. Find out more on their website.
Home Energy Checklist
Download this useful home energy checklist featuring information on energy efficiency, affordable warmth and living costs. Click here to download Click here to download.
Priority Services Register
Are you or the person you care for on the priority service register with your energy supplier? The Priority Services Register is a free support service to help people in vulnerable situations. Energy suppliers and network operators offer it. Each keeps their own register. You need to contact your energy supplier or network operator to get on it.
Grants & benefits to help you pay your energy bills
North Lincolnshire Council offers advice on managing your debts, help to pay your council tax, apply for housing benefit, help with childcare funding, finding a job and looking after your mental health.
North East Lincolnshire Council gives information to help you with money.
The Carers’ Support Service works with local Foodbanks. Talk to us.
Discounts & concessions for Carers
There are more discounts and concessions out there for Carers than you would think. It is always worth asking, even if a discount isn’t promoted. Below is a short list of organisations that offer discounts and concessions. If you come across a discount that we haven’t got below, complete the form at the bottom of the page to let us know.
Discounts For Carers.com Exclusive discounts, cashback and vouchers for Carers & Care Workers.
CEA Card – for 90% of UK cinemas including Parkway Cleethorpes and Vue Cinema Scunthorpe – the card costs £6 and last for a year.
Grimsby Auditorium (See section 5)– If you require the support of a personal assistant or companion you may be eligible to benefit from a reduced price on their ticket too.
Scunthorpe Theatres – Where a disabled patron requires a companion to attend then the combined total cost for patron and companion will be equivalent to the full price of one ticket. To apply for a free ticket for a personal assistant please complete the form here: Personal Assistant Application Form
English Heritage – Call 0370 333 1182 – They can provide the person you care for with a Letter of Authority that gives the Carers accompanying them free entry
Merlin Group. One carer goes free with every disabled guest. The Merlin group consists of attractions and theme parks such as Alton Towers, Lego Land, Sealife, Chessington World of Adventures, Thorpe Park, Madame Tussaudes, The Dungeons and more
Grimsby Town FC – Each disabled fan in receipt of High Rate DLA/Enhanced PIP is entitled to one carer free.
Scunthorpe United FC – Disabled supporters in receipt of middle or higher rate DLA or those with standard or enhanced PIP, will be entitled to a complimentary carer ticket. For any queries on assistance required email email@example.com
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