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Every month, through our Ask an Expert feature,
Turn2us users are given the chance to ask a panel of experts their
specific questions relating to benefits, grants and managing
The answers given on this page were correct at the time of
publication and some of the details may have changed. This
page is provided for archive information only.
See Benefits: Carers for current
We invited you to submit your questions on benefits and
support for carers to the Ask an Expert panel. Here are the
answers to a selection of the questions we received. On
this page you will find:
The next Ask an Expert session will be on childcare and
benefits for families starting on 20 July.
Kelly Hunter, Centre Manager at
Trafford Carers Centre
(link opens in a new window) providing
a comprehensive support service for informal carers living
within the borough of Trafford.
Elizabeth Lodge, Head of Services at
Counsel and Care (now
part of Independent Age (link opens in a new
window), the national charity working with older
people, their families and carers to get the best care and
Bridget McCall, author of 'The Complete
Carers Guide', a practical, general guide for carers and Turn2us
Trafford Carers Centre: This is a real issue
for many carers; juggling work commitments with their caring
responsibilities. Many carers do end up having to give
up work as a result. Please contact your local carers
centre (link opens in a new window). They may have funds
available to help support you until you find out about the DLA
application. They may also be able to give you some benefit advice.
If the carers centre can’t help they should know of other local
services/organisations who can help.
If your son is awarded with middle or higher rate DLA, you may
also be able to claim Carer's Allowance,
and your local carers centre or Citizens Advice bureau will be
able to help advise you further on this.
You may also have a local service supporting children with
autism/Asperger's. Services may include group activities and
funding for breaks or support. You should be able to find out
what is local to you by contacting the National Autistic Society (link
opens in a new window). Their website lists local services and
what they provide.
Karen Holmes (Turn2us): Based on the
information provided it seems you may be eligible for Carer's
Allowance (CA), and as a carer you
could qualify for Income
Support (IS) as well. Although you will not qualify for CA
until the DLA decision is made, you can make a claim up
to three months in advance. IS can also be claimed in advance,
as long as the DLA claim has been made. You may be paid IS for
up to 26 weeks while you wait for the decision. A successful claim
for IS will mean automatic entitlement to Housing Benefit (HB England, Scotland, Wales and HB Northern Ireland) and Council Tax Benefit (CTB). Carers should use the
Turn2us Benefit Calculator to ensure they
are in receipt of all the relevant benefits for their situation,
many don't realise that receiving Carers Allowance can also lead to
a carers premium (an extra amount) being added to some other
benefits like Income Support.
Karen Holmes (Turn2us): You can use the
Turn2us Benefit Calculator to make sure you
are receiving all the relevant benefits for your circumstances. If
your household income is to decrease you should inform your local
authority who can reassess your Housing Benefit (HB England, Scotland, Wales and HB Northern Ireland) award and see if you
qualify for any Council Tax Benefit
Trafford Carers Centre: Perhaps you could
contact your local social services to see if you meet
their Fair Access to Care (FACs) criteria. This will
involve having a Community Care
Assessment. If you do meet the criteria, then you may be able
to access a personal budget. On some occasions they may
allow you to pay your carer to care for you through the personal
budget. You may need some help with this though. Your local
carers centre may be able to advocate on your behalf.
Generally it is good to make contact with your local carers
centre; they all offer different services but should be able to
advise you. You can use the Turn2us Find
an Adviser tool to find your local one. I would also
encourage your carer to request a Carer's
Assessment as this will identify what Carole's needs are
and will detail what impact caring for you will have, including the
financial impact from having to give up work. These factors
then will have to be taken into consideration when they are looking
at what support you will need.
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Trafford Carers Centre: Firstly in relation
to the issues regarding the lack of money coming into the
household, please encourage your friend to contact the local carers
centre (link opens in a new window). Some carers centres can
access emergency funds which can support carers in these sort of
circumstances for a short period of time, as well as helping to
support her in other aspects of her caring role.
In relation to the issues about her being told that she needs to
find a job, if she would struggle if she had to work, I would
suggest that she speaks to the advisor at the job centre to try to
make them understand her situation. Jobcentre Plus offices
sometimes have a specific staff member who takes a lead on
supporting carers into work. If this doesn’t work, then your
local carers centre should be able to advocate on the carers behalf
and speak to the Job Centre. This may involve writing a letter
explaining the reasons why it would be impossible for the carer to
work. It may also be worthwhile requesting a Carer's Assessment which will detail the impact
that caring for the three boys has on the carer and this should be
used to help the Job Centre to understand the issues. Carer's
Assessments are usually requested via social services.
Karen Holmes (Turn2us): Carers who are in
receipt of Carer's Allowance can qualify
for Income Support in recognition
that carers may struggle to hold down full time employment
alongside caring responsibilities. Where there is no entitlement to
Carer's Allowance, usually because the person they
are caring for is not receiving an appropriate disability
benefit, the situation becomes more difficult. This seems to be the
case here where Debbie is being asked to look for employment,
presumably as part of a Jobseeker's
Allowance claim. It may be worth seeking benefits advice to see
if either of the children with additional care needs qualify for
Disability Living Allowance.
It is worth noting that as a carer you can still
qualify for Income Support if you don't receive Carer's Allowance.
However the decision maker will handle these claims on a case by
case basis, looking closely at the quality and quantity of the
care being provided to see if they consider it 'regular and
You can use our Find an Adviser tool
to find a local benefits adviser.
Is Carer's Allowance means
To qualify, the person you are caring for must be getting
one of the following benefits:
For more details, see the Turn2us
information sheet on Carer’s Allowance
and Care: Carer’s Allowance is a
state benefit to help a person look after someone with a disability
but falls within what are known as “overlapping benefit” rules.
This means that you do not receive Carer’s Allowance if you receive
certain other benefits, including the State
Retirement Pension, which are paid at a rate that is the same
or more than Carer's Allowance. So, some people who are eligible
for Carer’s Allowance do not actually receive the payment and it
seems that this is the situation for your father.
Depending on the amount of your parents’
income and capital, there are a number of benefits that they may be
You can use the Turn2us Benefit Calculator to see if your parents are in
receipt of all the relevant benefits for their circumstances.
and Care: If a person is not in receipt of benefits and
they put off claiming their State Retirement
Pension for at least five weeks, they can earn an increase to
their State Pension. The increase will be one per cent for
every five weeks put off claiming. If the delay in claiming State
Pension is for more than 12 months, then a one-off lump sum payment
may be chosen, rather than the increase in the weekly payment.
However, if a carer defers claiming State Pension and claims
Carer’s Allowance, then the days for
which Carer’s Allowance is paid will not count towards any extra
State Pension or the lump sum payment.
With this in mind, a carer of pensionable age
should try to calculate (or seek advice to do so) which benefit
would be the most beneficial for them to claim.
A carer claiming Carer’s Allowance can also
affect some of the benefits claimed by the person needing care, so
this should also be considered when deciding which benefit to
Trafford Carers Centre: It is hard for me to
advise fully without knowing the full picture. Caring for
someone can be so stressful, but even more so when you can’t get
the support and help that you need. What I will say though is
that there are a number of places for you to go for advice and
Firstly I would recommend that you ensure that your wife gets a
Carer's Assessment (if she hasn’t already
had one). This should ensure that your wife’s needs are taken
into consideration by social services when they are looking at what
care her son needs. All carers are entitled to request a carers
assessment by contacting social services.
I would also suggest contacting your local carers
centre (link opens in a new window). All centres provide
different services but you may be able to access funding or support
so that your wife can get a break from her caring role. The carers
centre should also point you in the right direction in relation to
other organisations that could provide things for your wife’s son
to do during the day. You can find your local one using the Turn2us
Find an Adviser tool.
Your wife may be able to get Carer's
Allowance if her son is on the middle or higher rate of
Disability Living Allowance (DLA). There
are a number of criteria in relation to this allowance but again
the local Carers Centre should be able to give you more information
about this. Your local Citizen’s Advice bureau (CAB) is also
good at providing advice in relation to benefits. In the North West
of England there is a part of the Citizens Advice
bureau which offers support in relation to Community Care Law,
with specialist legal advisors to help carers challenge social
services. Contact your local Citizens Advice
bureau to see if this service is offered near you. You
can find your local one using the Turn2us Find an Adviser tool.
In summary it is important for all carers to contact their
centre (link opens in a new window) as they can offer so much
help and support no matter what the problem is and if they can’t
help they should be able to signpost onto another organisation or
service who can.
McCall: People who have severe mobility problems or who
are registered blind can apply for a Blue Badge parking permit.
This allows them – as a driver or a passenger – to park close to
where they need to go. Although available throughout the UK, the
rules about where you can park differ in each country and there are
some restrictions in four central London boroughs. The scheme also
provides exemption from some tolls at river crossings, bridges and
tunnels as well as the London Congestion Charge, although in most
cases you have to apply in advance to qualify. It can also be used
in some European Union countries.
You apply for a Blue Badge, which is usually
valid for up to three years, through your local council. There may
be a small charge of £2 (£20 in Scotland).
If your husband is receiving the higher rate
of the mobility component of Disability
Living Allowance or a War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement, he
will automatically qualify for a Blue Badge. If not, he may
qualify following assessment by your local council.
For more details, see the Turn2us Travel Concessions for people with
disabilities and their carers information sheet
and Care: As a carer, you have a right to a Carer’s Assessment from your local social
services. They will look at your situation and see if you are
entitled to any services that could help with your caring role. The
kind of help and support you can get includes respite care and day
care to give you a break. Day centres offer social activities and
outings for disabled adults. Your council should be able to
tell you what services are available in your area.
Local carers’ support groups, such as those
run by the Carers Trust (link
opens in a new window), can also provide essential emotional
and practical support for carers. Services do differ from area to
area, so for further information about your local group contact
0845 450 0350.
You may also find it helpful to look at the
Direct website (link opens in a new window) for
information about financial help, legal matters, keeping well,
working and other sources of support.
Counsel and Care: It is important
that you seek support to help you care for your husband. As your
husband’s main carer, you have a right to a carer’s assessment from
social services. Social services will look at your situation and
see if you are entitled to any services that could make caring
easier for you.
There are also local carers’ support
groups, such as those run by the
Carers Trust (link opens in a new window), which can
provide essential emotional and practical support for carers.
Services do differ from area to area, so for further information
about your local group, contact 0845 450 0350.
Counsel and Care has a team of experienced
advice workers able to talk to people about both straightforward
and complex care and support issues for older people, whether they
are in their own home, in hospital, in residential care or in any
other care environment. You can call 0845 300 7585 to
speak with someone about your situation.
For you to qualify for Carer’s Allowance, your husband must be getting
Attendance Allowance or Disability Living Allowance. Carer’s Allowance is
an ‘overlapping benefit’, so you will not qualify for Carer’s
Allowance if you receive certain other benefits, including the
State Retirement Pension, which are paid
at a rate that is the same or more than Carer's Allowance.
If your husband is not already claiming
Attendance Allowance, you can initiate a claim by contacting the
Attendance Allowance helpline number 08457 123456 or the Benefits
Enquiry Line 0800 882200.
Practical help might also be available to you
as a carer from your local council. If you have not already done
so, I would suggest that you contact your local council and ask for
a Health and Social Care (or Community
Care) Assessment for your daughter and a Carer’s Assessment for you. This will identify
the particular issues that you need help with and services may then
be provided to help you and your daughter.
Many carers get invaluable support from
carers’ organisations such as Carers UK (link opens in a new
window) and the Carers Trust (link opens in a new
window). This includes contact with other carers for mutual
The Carers Trust has 144 independently
managed carers centres
(link opens in a new window) throughout the UK. You might
also find it helpful to contact Diabetes UK (link opens in a new
window), the national charity for people with diabetes, for
information and advice on managing your daughter’s condition as
well as opportunities to meet other families living with
and Care: Your husband’s GP should be able to help you
both manage this situation and will have details of the nearest NHS
continence clinic. A continence adviser based there will provide an
assessment and advice about treatment.
Your husband may also be assessed by the
hospital urologist and ward staff should be able to advise you
about who is managing your husband’s discharge from hospital to
ensure that the appropriate professionals are involved. They will
discuss with you how to manage the condition and specialist
treatments available. If it is agreed that pads or other products
are necessary to manage your husband’s condition, they should be
available from the NHS. What is available varies from region to
region but if your husband meets the eligibility criteria, you
should be told which ones he will need and given details of how to
receive regular supplies.
You may want to contact the Bladder and Bowel
Foundation (link opens in a new window) for information
and advice on continence issues, tests and treatments. Their
specialist nurses offer help by phone or email.
To talk about both care and support
issues for older people you could also call Counsel
and Care on 0845 300 7585. We have a team of
experienced advice workers who are able to talk with you as a carer
about the situation you face.
If you do not know which local
carers organisations there are in your area,
you can use our Find an Adviser tool to
find local ones, including Carers Trust local carers centres
and respite care schemes (formerly Crossroads Care schemes).
The opinions expressed are those of the expert only. The answers
and associated material are for general information only and do not
constitute financial, legal or other form of advice. You should not
rely on this information as an alternative to financial, legal or
professional advice from a qualified professional for your own
particular situation. The answers are given in response to specific
questions submitted by other users. You should not rely on this
information alone to make (or refrain from making) any
Whilst effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the
information, Turn2us does not accept any liability for this
information. It is the responsibility of users to check the
accuracy of relevant facts and opinions given as part of any answer
before entering into any commitment based upon the information
Date of publication: 22 June 2011
Updated: 4 January 2013
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