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Guest Article: Carers Trust

  • 06/06/2016
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Supporting #BenefitsAware this Carers Week

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A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support. 

7 million of us are already carers, that’s around 10% of the population, and anyone can become a carer at any time. It is predicted that 3 in 5 of us will become a carer at some point in our lives and that’s one of the reasons we're supporting Turn2us’ #BenefitsAware campaign.

Here at Carers Trust, we provide support and breaks for carers and work to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring. We do this via a UK wide network of quality assured independent Network Partners, online support services and through the provision of grants to help carers get the extra help they need to live their own lives.

Carers are on duty 24/7, 365 days a year and often find that they are disadvantaged financially and that their own health and wellbeing suffers. Our online services are available, every day of the year, to support them to find the information and advice that they need. They can do this through visiting one of our three dedicated online communities at matter.carers.org, babble.carers.org and carers.org, where they’ll find all the information they’ll need to support them in their role as carers.

Providing that information and advice is our team of specialist workers who, in addition to moderating and running the interactive communities on each site, are also on hand to answer emails from carers about anything that might be concerning them. Financial concerns and questions about benefits are two of the main topics that the team advise carers about. Many carers find themselves in that role suddenly and with very little support and a vital part of our job is to make sure that they have the information that they need to navigate their way through the social care and benefits systems. Each day can bring a different query but a typical question might be “My husband recently had a stroke and I need to give up work to care for him. What help is available?” Whilst it’s very difficult to say exactly what someone may be entitled to via email, what we can do is to point people towards the right benefits, encourage them to use the excellent Turn2us benefits calculator, ensure that they know the general criteria for applying for the benefits they’re eligible for and help them to understand how to appeal decisions if they are not successful in their claims.

A recent response from a 19yr old who emailed our team to ask for advice about financial support to help her care for her mum illustrates the importance of the simple, personalised advice we provide:

“I am grateful for your email because I have asked around and you’re the only people who have replied to me so thank you, hopefully I can get help soon”

 

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