Take a look at the most popular questions we get asked below…
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Who is a carer?
A carer is someone that cares, unpaid, for a family member or friend who, due to illness, a disability, a mental health problem or an addiction, cannot cope without support.
Who is a young carer?
A carer under the age of 18 is called a young carer.
What is the Care Act and what does it mean for carers?
The Care Act 2014, which came into force in April 2015, aims to put disabled people and carers in control of their care and support. The main changes introduced by the Care Act:
- Local authorities have a new general responsibility to promote a person’s wellbeing when providing support. This includes whilst doing an assessment, creating a care plan and providing practical support.
- Local authorities must ensure people in their area have accurate information and advice to make an informed decision about care and support
- New national eligibility criteria for providing support have been introduced for all local authorities in England. Carers and people who need support have separate eligibility criteria.
- Carers have the same right to an assessment as disabled people. This means they no longer have to provide a ‘regular’ or ‘substantial’ amount’ of care to get a Carer’s Assessment.
What rights do young carers they have under the Care Act?
Children and young people aged under 18 who are providing care have the right to be assessed for care and support. The Children and Families Act 2014 gives carers under the age of 18 the right to an assessment on the appearance of need, they do not have to request one.
The Care Act gives them the right to an assessment as they approach 18 years of age, called a Young Carer’s Assessment.
The Care Act also provides that where a disabled adult is being cared for, a local authority must consider whether there are any children involved in providing that care, and if so, what the impact is on that child.
What is a carer assessment?
A carer’s assessment is an opportunity to discuss with the local council what support or services you need. The assessment will look at how caring affects your life, including for example, physical, mental and emotional needs, and whether you are able or willing to carry on caring.
You will be entitled to an assessment regardless of the amount or type of care you provide, your financial means or your level of need for support. You don’t necessarily have to live with the person you are looking after or be caring full-time to have an assessment. You may be juggling work and care and this is having a big impact on your life.
You can have an assessment whether or not the person you are looking after has had a needs assessment, or if the local council have decided they are not eligible for support.
If you and the person you are looking after agree, a combined assessment of both your needs can be undertaken at the same time.
If you are sharing caring responsibilities with another person, or more than one person, including a child under 18, you can each have an assessment (although for a child under 18 the assessment will be different.
How do I get a carer’s assessment?
You should be offered an assessment by the local council adult social services department of the person you are looking after. If you have not been offered one, you should contact them by phone, in writing or on-line, and ask for an assessment. If you want to, you can ask for an assessment before you take up your caring role.
How will my carer’s assessment be carried out?
In some areas, local organisations may be asked to carry out the assessment, but arrangements should still be made through your local council and they should explain who will carry out the assessment.
Assessments can be done over the phone or online, but this should only happen if you agree. Your local council may carry out a supported self-assessment. This could involve you filling in a self- assessment questionnaire, and then being contacted by the local council to discuss what you have written on the form.
If the assessment involves a meeting, it should be carried out in a convenient and private place, usually at your home or at a council office. It is your choice about whether the person you are looking after is present or not. If it helps, you can have a family member, a friend or someone from a carer’s organisation with you.
Your assessment should cover:
- your caring role and how it affects your life and wellbeing
- your health – physical, mental and emotional issues
- your feelings and choices about caring
- work, study, training, leisure
- relationships, social activities and your goals
- planning for emergencies (such as a Carer Emergency Scheme) – the local council should be able to tell you more about what they can do to help you plan for an emergency
You should be asked about these issues, but if not you can raise them yourself. The aim of the assessment is to help you get the support that you need. So it’s best to give your honest opinion about your caring role, the care you provide and your feelings about being a carer.
How will the local council decide whether I am eligible for support?
Following your assessment, to be able to receive services and/or direct payments from the local council, you will need to meet the national eligibility criteria and therefore have what the law calls ‘eligible needs’.
Generally speaking, you will meet the eligibility criteria if there is (or is likely to be) a significant impact on your wellbeing as a result of you caring for another person.
There are three questions that the local council will need to consider when making their decision.
- Are your needs the result of you providing necessary care?
- Does your caring role have an effect on you?
- Is there, or is there likely to be, a significant impact on your wellbeing?
If the answer to all three questions is yes, then you will have eligible needs. These questions are explained in more detail below.
1. Are your needs the result of you providing necessary care?
The local council could decide that the care you provide is not necessary, that the looked after person could do the things you do themselves. Or they could decide that your needs or problems are the result of something other than your caring role.
2. Does your caring role have an effect on you?
The effect on you must be either:
- your physical or mental health is at risk of getting worse, or
- you are unable to achieve at least one of the following outcomes:
- look after any children you have responsibilities for
- provide care to any other person
- maintain your home in a fit and proper state
- eat properly and maintain proper nutrition
- maintain and develop your relationships with family and friends
- take part in any education, training, work or volunteering you may wish to
- time for social activities, hobbies etc.
In considering whether or not you can achieve the above outcomes, the local council must take into account any difficulties you have. You will be considered unable to achieve the outcome if you:
- need assistance to achieve the outcome
- can achieve the outcome unaided but experience pain, distress or anxiety
- can achieve the outcome unaided but doing so endangers, or may endanger your or another person’s health and safety
3. Is there, or is there likely to be, a significant impact on your well-being?
The definition of ‘well-being’ is very broad and includes things like personal dignity, control over your day to day life, participation in education, work or social activities, relationships with other people, having suitable accommodation, and protection from abuse and neglect.
The word ‘significant’ is not defined in law and so it should be given its everyday normal meaning. If you think that the effect on you is noticeable or important, this could count as significant.
What help can I get?
If you don’t have eligible needs
If the local council decides that you do not have eligible needs, then you must be given a written decision explaining this.
You must also be given advice and information about what could be done to prevent or reduce your needs either now or in the future. This advice and information should be based on your specific circumstances.
If you do have eligible needs
If the local council decides that you do have eligible needs, then providing you want them to, they have a legal obligation to meet these needs and must draw up a support plan detailing how these needs will be met.
It may be agreed that the best way to help you as a carer is by providing services directly to you, by providing services to the person you are looking after, or a combination of both.
The local council can provide services themselves, or arrange services through another organisation. Alternatively, you or the person you are looking after can request direct payments, which are payments which enable you to buy services to meet your eligible needs.
The local council may or may not charge you for carers support, most councils do not. If they do, they must carry out a financial assessment to work out whether you have to make a contribution and if so, how much. If the help you are offered is free, the local council do not have to carry out a financial assessment.
Note: If the local council do charge for carers support and the outcome of your financial assessment is that you will have to pay the full charge, then the local council only has to meet your needs and draw up a support plan if you ask them too. The local council can then issue an additional charge for this.
The support plan must include:
- details of the needs identified in the assessment
- which needs meet the eligibility criteria
- which needs the local council is going to meet, and how
- the outcomes that you want to achieve
- information about the personal budget available (the amount of money that the local council has worked out it will cost to arrange the necessary support for you)
- information about direct payments
- information and advice to support you in your role as a carer and address your needs
Some examples of the kind of help that could be available directly to you as a carer:
- help with transport costs, such as taxi fares or driving lessons
- costs for a car where transport was crucial, such as repairs and insurance
- technology to support you, such as a mobile phone, computer where it is not possible to access computer services elsewhere
- help with housework or gardening
- help to relieve stress, improve health and promote wellbeing such as a gym membership
Some examples of the kind of help that could be available to the person you are looking after, in order to help you as a carer:
- changes to their home to make it more suitable
- equipment such as a hoist or grab rail
- a care worker to help provide personal care at home
- a temporary stay in residential care/respite care
- meals delivered to their home
- a place at a day centre
- assistance with travel, for example to get to a day centre
- laundry services
- replacement care so you can have a break
What might I have to pay for support as a carer?
The local council may or may not charge you for carer’s services. However if they do decide to charge carers for services they must carry out a financial assessment to determine how much you would need to contribute (if anything).
Note: Only the person receiving the services can be charged for them. As a carer you cannot be charged for services provided to the person you are looking after, and the person you are looking after cannot be charged for services provided to you as a carer.
The financial assessment
The financial assessment will look at your income and capital (including any share of joint income or capital), and the outcome could be that:
- You are entitled to receive the services free of charge.
- You have to pay something towards the costs of the services you receive.
- Your income or capital is above the threshold and so the local council does not have to provide you with any services. In this situation, you can still ask the local council to meet your needs, however the local council can not only charge for the services provided, they can also charge for the cost of arranging and managing those services.
This is how the local council work out what you will pay:
Step 1: They decide which services they will provide and their cost.
Step 2: They check if you have capital above a certain amount (see below).
Step 3: They work out how much income you have coming in (see below).
Step 4: To ensure that you have enough money to live on the local council has to leave you with a protected amount. For carers this amount is called the Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) which is equivalent to Income Support or the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (plus any relevant premiums excluding the severe disability premium), plus a buffer of 25%.
Step 5: The local council will charge an amount from your income and capital above the protected amount.
The upper capital limit for 2018/2019 is £23,250. This means that if you have capital over this amount, you will pay the full cost for any services you receive.
The lower capital limit for 2018/2019 is £14,250. This means that if you have capital below this amount, it should be ignored for the financial assessment.
If your capital is between £14,250 and £23,250, £1 a week for every £250 is taken into account as income. So, if you have capital of £4,000 above the lower capital limit, £16 will be taken into account as income a week.
The value of the home you live in should not be taken into account as capital.
When deciding how much income you have, only some income is taken into account. Certain types of income are always disregarded (ignored) including:
- earnings (employed or self-employed)
- the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit
The local council can treat disability related benefits, such as the care component of DLA, the daily living component of PIP, or Attendance Allowance as income. If they do, they should deduct any disability related expenditure before they take it into account as income..
Most other benefits will be taken into account as income in full.
When do I consider a care home?
It may be the person you care for needs to go into residential care. This may be due to their care needs increasing beyond what can be achieved in the home. Things you may need to consider before making this change:
- making the decision that residential care is the right option for the person you care for
- finding the right residential home to support the care needs of the person you care for
- paying for residential care
- the possible impact on any benefits that you or the person you care for may receive
How do I choose a care home?
Think of it like buying a house, you need to get a feel for what’s out there before making a decision. You should make a list of local homes and visit a few to get an idea of what they’re like.
As a starting point, ask your friends and family – they may be able to point you towards a care home with a good reputation.
It’s worth taking time to find the right home. Try to visit the home to have a look round and talk to staff members. Some homes may invite you to spend the day there so you can get a feel of what it’s like. You may be able to move on a trial basis before you decide whether to stay.
Before you visit, make a list of all the questions you want to ask and all the things you want to look out for – it’s easy to forget things and doing as much research as you can is important. It’s useful to ask about the level of care provided, the fees and waiting list. The Age UK guide ‘Choosing the right care home for you’ (link to https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/care/arranging-care/care-homes/help-finding-care-home/ ) guide has a list of questions to help you research.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) and an independent regulator who inspect health and social care services across the UK. Inspectors carry out robust inspections over several days. They look at a number of key areas including:
- policies and procedures
- staff recruitment and training
- how people are supported, making sure that people are supported in a person centred way that meets all their needs.
- how people are kept safe from harm.
- how quickly the home respond to changes in people’s needs.
- how people are supported with any health needs (including medical appointments, nutrition and fluid intake).
- ensuring that people are supported with dignity and respect
- care plans, risk assessments and other documents are of good quality and are up to date.
- understanding of consent, mental capacity and deprivation of liberty and making sure the correct processes are in place for individuals as required.
As part of the inspection, inspectors will talk to people being supported, their carers and staff at the care home. The take all of the information gathered and produce a detailed report that set out how the care home is performing. They award each care home a rating of Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement or inadequate. Where services are below a good standard, they are required to develop an action plan to address all areas of concern. This is then monitored by CQC and the local authority to ensure that improvements are made in a timely manner.
How do I choose a home care provider?
To support someone to maintain their independence for as long as possible, living at home is the best option. Support can be provided through a home care provider who will have a team of trained and experienced support workers.
A good home care provider will offer you a free assessment at a time and place to suit you. They should be transparent about the costs of home care. You can discuss what support you would like; you may want to start off with one visit a week through to four visits a day and anything in between. You will be offered a person centred plan that supports the needs of the person being supported and will also take account the wishes of carers and other family members.
Consistency is key so you need to make sure you are offered a small team of people that you can get to know and build a trusting relationship with. You should also been given a named contact that you can get in touch with when you need to.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) also regulate and inspect community and home based services and they are subject to the same inspection regime as a care home.
To find a home care service near you:
Crossroads Together offer services in your own home on a not for profit basis. To find out more click here – Your Care, Your Way
What is live in care?
Live in care is where you have a support worker that ‘lives in’ and provides care and support 24/7 as needed. Depending on the support you need, a second support worker will be introduced so that your support worker can take a break.
Support workers are able to provide a wide range of tasks including support with:
- personal care (including continence support)
- light domestic tasks
- meal preparation
- medication administration
- going out into the community
- arranging and attending appointments
The cost of live in care can vary significantly so it is worth spending some time looking at different organisations, having assessments and comparing the costs.
Choosing a care service is a very important decision, you should not feel pressured to make a quick decision and organisations should not put you under undue pressure to choose them.
How do I know I can trust my support worker?
Each support worker will go through a robust recruitment an induction programme that should include:
- an enhanced DBS check
- a minimum of two employment references
- fully completed application form
- a values and competency based interview undertake by a minimum of two experienced staff
- a week long induction programme
- regular spot checks
- on the job shadowing
- quarterly supervision
- annual appraisal
- regular team meetings
- regular refresher training
Crossroads Together offer services in your own home on a not for profit basis. To find out more click here – Your Care, Your Way
What is Extra Care?
The term ‘Extra Care’ is a new way of talking about either sheltered housing or assisted living warden controlled housing.
The schemes are designed with the needs of frailer older people in mind and with varying levels of care and support available on site. People who live in Extra Care Housing have their own self-contained homes, their own front doors and a legal right to occupy the property.. It comes in many built forms, including blocks of flats, bungalow estates and retirement villages. It is a popular choice among older people because it can sometimes provide an alternative to a care home.
In addition to the communal facilities often found such as a (residents’ lounge, guest suite and laundry, Extra Care often includes a restaurant or dining room, health & fitness facilities, hobby rooms and even computer rooms. Domestic support and personal care are available, usually provided by on-site staff. Properties can be rented, owned or part owned/part rented. There is a limited amount of Extra Care Housing in most areas and some providers set eligibility criteria which prospective residents have to meet.
To find Extra Care housing services in your local area visit http://www.housingcare.org/elderly-uk-assisted-living-extra-care-housing.aspx
What is a Personal Assistant?
A Personal Assistant, or PA, is someone who is employed by an individual with care or support needs, who is in receipt of a personal budget.
Personal Assistants undertake a wide range of care and support tasks for a single employer, rather than personal care tasks for a larger number of people. They tend to work in isolation rather than as part of a team, unlike most residential or domiciliary care staff. Their role requires a wider range of skills and is harder to define than other social care roles.
The following are some common Personal Assistant tasks:
- Personal care, washing and bathing
- Cooking and preparing food
- Assisting with meeting people, socialising and leisure activities
- Getting into and out of bed and chairs
- Administering medication
- Assisting with banking, paying bills, collecting pensions or benefits
Can someone help me to employ a Personal Assistant?
Skills for Care are a national organisation dedicated to ensuring the social care workforce has the right skills to do the job, as well as promoting the befits to working on the sector. They have produced a really helpful toolkit that takes you through how to employ your own Personal Assistant. You can find the guide here: http://www.employingpersonalassistants.co.uk/
In Cheshire, the Cheshire Centre for Independent Living (CCIL) are a registered charity offering payroll services for people employing a Personal Assistant. You can find more information by visiting https://www.cheshirecil.org/services/payroll-services/
What is Carer's Allowance and how can I claim it?
Carer’s Allowance is the main benefit for carers. It is currently £64.60 a week from April 2018. The rate generally changes each year. To qualify for Carer’s Allowance, you must:
- Be aged 16 or older.
- Care at least 35 hours a week for someone who is receiving a qualifying disability benefit.
- Not be in full-time education (over 21 hours a week).
- Not earn over £120 a week (after some allowable deductions such as tax and National Insurance contributions).
- Satisfy UK presence and residence conditions – see Citizens UK for details.
Qualifying benefits are:
- Attendance Allowance (AA) or Constant Attendance Allowance.
- Middle or higher rate care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
- Either rate of the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
- Armed Forces Independence Payment.
- Armed Forces Independence Payment Constant Attendance Allowance (of £67.20 or more paid with an industrial injuries disablement, war or service pension).
You can only receive Carer’s Allowance once, even if you care for more than one person. If you share caring responsibilities with someone else, only one of you will be able to claim Carer’s Allowance.
If you receive means-tested benefits, such as Universal Credit, Carer’s Allowance will count as income. However, you can get additional money added when calculating your means-tested benefits. This is called the carer element in Universal Credit.
Carer’s Allowance is subject to overlapping benefits rules. This means that if you receive one or more of the overlapping benefits, you will not be entitled to Carer’s Allowance, even if you meet the other eligibility criteria. Overlapping benefits include:
- State Pension.
- Contributory Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Employment Support Allowance (JSA).
- Bereavement benefits e.g. Bereavement Allowance.
- Incapacity Benefit.
- Maternity Allowance.
- Severe Disablement Allowance.
It can still be worth applying for Carer’s Allowance even if overlapping benefits rules apply. This is because you will be recognised as having an underlying entitlement, which may increase your means-tested benefits.
Claiming Carer’s Allowance or the Universal Credit carer’s element can affect the means-tested benefits of the person you care for. If the person you care for currently receives the severe disability premium on means-tested benefits, they will lose this when you receive Carer’s Allowance. This does not apply if you are awarded an underlying entitlement to Carer’s Allowance.
You can get Carer’s Allowance backdated up to three months before the date you make your claim. This can be extended to more than three months when you claim Carer’s Allowance within three months of the date the person you care received a decision to award them a qualifying disability benefits.
What is Attendance Allowance?
Attendance Allowance can be paid regardless of your income, savings or National Insurance contribution record and is a tax free benefit. If you are a carer who has care needs, you can claim Attendance Allowance for yourself and this will not affect your Carer’s Allowance.
Getting Attendance Allowance does not reduce other benefits, it may even increase them. If you have a carer then claiming Attendance Allowance may help them to qualify for certain benefits (such as Carer’s Allowance). Attendance Allowance may also entitle you and/ or your carer to further help with council tax.
There are no restrictions on how you can spend your Attendance Allowance, and you do not have to spend it on paying for the care that you need. However, your council or trust can take Attendance Allowance into account when calculating how much you might need to pay for any care services you receive.
To qualify for Attendance Allowance you must meet all of the following criteria:
- be aged 65 or over
- need help looking after yourself because you have a disability or illness
- have had the disability or illness for at least six months (you can make your claim before the six months have passed, but you will not receive any payment until they have)
- have no immigration conditions attached to your stay in the UK subject to some exceptions (if you have immigration restrictions on your stay in the UK claiming benefits may affect your future right to remain in the UK, so seek specialist immigration advice before claiming – you can search for immigration specialists Legal Aid Agency )
- meet the residence and presence conditions.
Note: If you are terminally ill there are simpler rules which make it easier to apply – see here (If you have a terminal illness) for further details.
Attendance Allowance can be paid if you need help with your personal care or someone to check that you are ok. The legal term used for needing help with personal care is attention and the term used for needing someone to check on you is supervision – see below for more information.
Note: What matters is that you need either attention or supervision, not whether you are currently getting all the help that you need. So remember to think about the help you need, not just the help that you currently get.
To satisfy the daytime test you need to show that you reasonably need either one of the following:
- frequent help with personal care throughout the day (i.e. about three times or more)
- someone to check on you continually (i.e. frequently or regularly) throughout the day to make sure that you are safe
To satisfy the night-time test you need to show that you reasonably need either one of the following:
- help with personal care at least twice a night, or once a night for at least 20 minutes
- someone to check on you at least twice a night, or once a night for at least 20 minutes, to make sure that you are safe
If no-one is currently helping you with personal care you may be accepted as needing help if you have some difficulty coping.
If no-one is currently checking on you, you may still be accepted as needing supervision if you or another person may be placed in danger without it.
Attention – help with personal care
Personal care needs include help with things like:
- getting in and out of a chair
- bathing and washing
- dressing and undressing
- help with medication and treatment
- getting in and out of bed and sleeping
- eating and drinking
- seeing (ie you need someone to see for you)
- using the toilet
The help must usually be given in your presence. Here are some examples of the help you may need:
- you have arthritis which makes movement difficult – you need somebody to help you with daily activities such as getting in/out of bed, washing and dressing, and getting in/out of chairs
- you are profoundly deaf and British Sign Language is your first language – you need an interpreter when communicating without sign language, to interpret spoken announcements, and perhaps also to interpret written English
- you have a mental health problem and you need prompting to look after yourself and to do things such as taking your medication, eating, washing and dressing
- you are visually impaired and need someone to assist in situations such as selecting clothes to wear, using cooking appliances safely and preparing food
- you have a learning disability and need help with activities including managing money, writing letters and looking after your health and your hygiene
Supervision – needing someone to check on you
To qualify as needing supervision you must need someone to check on you regularly during the day. The checks must be to avoid a ‘substantial danger’ to yourself or others due to your disability.
For example, you may need such checks if you have memory loss, are in danger of falling, have poor awareness of potential dangers, have serious behavioural problems, lose consciousness or have seizures.
Substantial danger may include situations such as falling, leaving the gas on, self-harm, violence towards others or a serious risk to your health should you be left unsupervised. The potentially dangerous situation does not have to happen frequently, but you must need frequent checks to reduce the chance of harm.
To claim, contact the Attendance Allowance Helpline on 0800 731 0122 (text phone 0800 731 0317) or click here GOV.UK to download a claim form.
What is Disability Living Allowance (DLA)?
DLA is not means tested so your financial circumstances will not be taken into account. DLA is also not taxable and does not reduce other benefits. In fact, it may even increase the amount of benefit you get, or help you to qualify for other benefits (such as Carer’s Allowance) and/ or tax credits.
Note: People aged 16-64 can no longer make a new claim for DLA, and should instead claim a benefit called Personal Independence Payment (PIP). If you are 65 years of age or over, you should instead claim a benefit called Attendance Allowance
For a child under the age of 16 years to qualify for DLA, they must meet all of the following criteria:
- they must need care, attention or supervision because of a physical or mental disability or health condition (and your child does not need to have an actual diagnosis)
- they must have needed this care, attention or supervision for at least three months, and be likely to need this care, attention or supervision for a further six months (you can make the claim before the three months have passed, but you will not receive any payment until they have)
- they must need substantially more care, attention or supervision than other children of the same age who do not have a disability or health condition
- they must have no immigration conditions attached to their stay in the UK subject to some exceptions (if they have immigration restrictions on their stay in the UK claiming benefits may affect their future right to remain in the UK, so seek specialist immigration advice before claiming – you can search for immigration specialists Legal Aid Agency)
- they must meet the residence and presence conditions
There are two components of DLA:
- care component – this can be paid at a lower, middle or higher rate – there is no lower age limit for claiming
- mobility component – this can be paid at a lower or higher rate – however the higher rate cannot be paid until the child is three years of age and the lower rate cannot be paid until the child is five years of age
For 2018/19 the rates are:
The care component
The care component of DLA can be paid to a child who needs a lot of extra help with personal care, supervision or watching over. The help they need must be substantially more than the help needed by a child of the same age without a disability or health condition.
The lower rate care component is for children who need help in connection with their personal care for a significant portion of the day (which generally means at least an hour a day – although this does not necessarily have to be all at once).
Note: If you are 16 or over, there is an additional way of qualifying for the lower rate of the care component – this is where you cannot prepare a cooked main meal for yourself if you have the ingredients.
The middle rate care component is for children that have either daytime or night-time needs (see explanation below). Special rules apply for some children undergoing renal dialysis at least two times per week.
The higher rate care component is for children who have both daytime and night-time needs (see explanation below). Your child will automatically get the higher rate if they are terminally ill.
To satisfy a daytime test your child must need one of the following:
- frequent (i.e. about three times or more) help with personal care throughout the day
- someone to check on them continually (i.e. frequently or regularly) throughout the day to make sure that they are safe
To satisfy a night-time test your child must need one of the following:
- help with personal care at least twice a night, or once a night for at least 20 minutes
- someone to check on them at least twice a night, or once a night for at least 20 minutes, to make sure that they are safe
Help with personal care needs include help with things like:
- dressing and undressing
- bathing and washing
- using the toilet
- getting in and out of a chair
- getting in and out of bed and sleeping
- help with medication and treatment
- eating and drinking
- seeing (i.e. you need someone to see for you)
A child is considered to need someone to check on them if they need to be checked on regularly during the day to avoid ‘substantial danger’ to themselves or others.
The mobility component
If your child needs help getting around they may qualify for the mobility component. You need to show that your child is unable or virtually unable to walk and/or needs substantially more guidance and supervision than a child of the same age without a disability or health condition.
The lower rate mobility component can be paid to a child from the age of five years. It is for children who can walk but who need extra guidance or supervision on unfamiliar routes outdoors.
The higher rate mobility component can be paid to a child from the age of three years. It is for children who are unable, or virtually unable to walk, or where the exertion required to walk would constitute a danger to their life or would be likely to lead to a serious deterioration in their health. Children can also qualify if they have a severe visual impairment, are both deaf and blind, or are severely mentally impaired.
To claim, call the Disability Living Allowance Helpline on 0800 121 4600 (text phone: 0800 121 4523) or click here GOV.UK to download a claim form.
What is a Personal Independence Payment (PIP)?
If you are aged 16 to 64 and are not already getting DLA, you can claim PIP now.
If you are aged 16+ and were under 65 on 8th April 2013 (in England, Wales & Scotland) or were under 65 on 20th June 2016 (in Northern Ireland) and are already getting DLA, then at some point you will be assessed for PIP instead by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) (Department for Communities (DfC) in Northern Ireland). This is called the PIP Migration process. This will happen when one of the following applies:
- you reach 16 years of age (unless you are a child and have been awarded DLA under the special rules for terminal illness)
- there is a reported change to your care or mobility needs
- you have a DLA fixed award due to expire
- you choose to claim PIP instead of your DLA
- you are invited to claim PIP as part of the migration process, even though none of the above changes have occurred.
Note: DLA claimants do not need to take any action regarding their PIP re-assessment until they are told to do so by the DWP (DfC in Northern Ireland).
PIP can be paid regardless of your income, savings or National Insurance contribution record and is a tax free benefit. You can get PIP even if you are working or studying. If you are a carer who has care needs, you can claim PIP for yourself and this will not affect your Carer’s Allowance.
Getting PIP does not reduce other benefits, it may even increase them. If you have a carer then claiming PIP may help them to qualify for certain benefits (such as Carers Allowance). PIP may also entitle you and/or your carer to further help with council tax.
There are no restrictions on how you can spend your PIP money, and you do not have to spend it on paying for the care that you need. However, your council or trust can take PIP into account when calculating how much you might need to pay for any care services.
Who can claim PIP?
To qualify for PIP you must meet all the following criteria:
- be aged 16-64 years old (or if you are being reassessed you were under 65 on 8th April 2013 in England, Wales & Scotland or were under 65 on 20th June 2016 in Northern Ireland)
- satisfy the daily living and/or mobility activities test
- have satisfied the tests for at least three months and be likely to continue to satisfy the tests for at least nine months after the three month qualifying period (you can make your claim before the three months have passed, but you will not receive any payment until they have)
- have no immigration conditions attached to your stay in the UK subject to some exceptions (if you have immigration restrictions on your stay in the UK claiming benefits may affect your future right to remain in the UK, so seek specialist immigration advice before claiming – you can search for immigration specialists Legal Aid Agency)
- meet the residence and presence conditions
Note: You will not be able to make a new claim for PIP once you are 65 years old. If you are 65 or over and not getting DLA or PIP you can claim Attendance Allowance. However you will be able to stay on PIP if you claimed or received it before you reached the age of 65.
Can I get help with my council tax?
Council tax bills are generally based on the assumption that there are at least two adults living in the property. If one of those adults is caring for the other then you may be entitled to a council tax reduction.
To be considered for a council tax reduction as a carer, you must meet all the following criteria:
- you must provide care for at least 35 hours a week
- you must live in the same property as the person you care for
- you must not be the spouse or partner of the person you care for, or their parent if you care for a child under 18
- the person you care for must be getting either the middle or higher rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance (only the higher rate in Scotland), the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment at any rate (only the enhanced rate in Scotland), Attendance Allowance at any rate (only the higher rate in Scotland), Armed Forces Independence Payment or the highest rate of Constant Attendance Allowance
You do not have to claim Carer’s Allowance to qualify for this discount, and your income and savings will not affect your eligibility. If there is more than one carer in the property, they can both be disregarded for council tax purposes as long as they all meet the conditions.
What is Lasting Power of Attorney and how do I make one?
Lasting Power of Attorney enables a person to make decisions on behalf of a person who lacks mental capacity. Mental capacity is the ability to make and communicate decisions.
When making a Lasting Power of Attorney, the person who gives permission for someone to make decisions on their behalf is called a donor. The person who makes decisions on a person’s behalf is called an attorney.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney: Property and Financial Affairs (which covers financial and property decisions) and Health and Welfare (which covers decisions about health and care).
When setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs, a person can choose to allow their attorney to make decisions about finances on their behalf before they lose mental capacity. A Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare can only be used once a person loses mental capacity.
The attorney has certain responsibilities when making decisions on a person’s behalf. See GOV.UK for more information.
A Lasting Power of Attorney must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian to be valid. Lasting Power of Attorney can be applied for online, but you will need to print out and send the forms with a written signature. A Power of Attorney is a legal document, but you do not have to involve a solicitor.
You will need a certificate provider to register a Lasting Power of Attorney. This is a person who confirms that the person making the Lasting Power of Attorney knows what they are doing and isn’t being pressurised or coerced. A certificate provider can be a professional, such as a social worker or solicitor, or someone who has known the person for two years or more and isn’t a relative or partner.
There is a £82 fee to register a Lasting Power of Attorney, but there are some circumstances where fees may be reduced/exempt. Check the Office of the Public Guardian website for more information.
Once a person loses the mental capacity to grant a Lasting Power of Attorney, only the Court of Protection can appoint a decision maker to make decisions on their behalf. The decision maker is called a Deputy.
Deputy application must be made to the Court of Protection. There are fees to pay to be a Deputy, including an application fee and an annual supervision fee, and a number of forms to fill in. It may therefore be helpful to plan ahead and consider appointing an Attorney at an earlier stage.
We currently offer an LPA service across Cheshire West, Liverpool and Greater Manchester – to read more click here – Lasting Power Attorney
What is a Personal Budget?
If you or your loved one have been assessed as being eligible for Social Care services you should be offered a Personal Budget to pay for your assessed Social Care needs. Instead of having to use traditional services, for example the council contracting with an agency on your behalf, you can now choose how you meet your needs. A support plan will be written up between you and your Social Worker, which outlines how you will use your Personal Budget.
You can choose how you receive your Personal Budget:
Virtual Budget – This is where the council continues to commission services outlined in your support plan and pay for them on your behalf.
Direct Payment – This is where you receive your budget direct in 4 weekly amounts over the year, you are then responsible for using that money as set out in your support plan and keeping proper financial records. Some people use this money to pay for a Personal Assistant
Indirect Payment – This is where someone manages the budget on your behalf, this could be a family member or an outside agency. They manage the money and pay for the services as outlined in your support plan and they keep the financial records.
Should I tell my employer that I am a carer?
It is entirely your choice whether to tell your employer about your caring role, however, if you think it may have an impact on your attendance and/or your performance at work, it may be in your best interests to inform your employer.
There may be extra support for carers in your workplace, so it could be worth finding out what extra support, if any, is available.
To find out more, you could check your contract of employment, staff handbook, HR policies or speak to your HR department.
Am I entitled to time off because of my caring responsibilities?
All employees have the right to take a ‘reasonable’ amount of time off work to deal with an emergency or an unforeseen matter involving a dependant (which includes your partner, child or parent, or someone living with you as part of your family – others who rely on you for help in an emergency may also qualify). The time off is unpaid unless your employer is willing to give paid time off as a contractual right.
Examples of emergency situations
- a disruption or breakdown in care arrangements
- the death of a dependant
- if a dependant falls ill or is in an accident
- to make longer term arrangements for a dependant who is ill or injured (but not to provide long term care yourself)
- an incident involving a child during school hours
What should I do if I want to change my working hours because of my caring responsibilities?
All employees have a right to request flexible working after they have worked for the same employer for 26 weeks (six months), as long as they haven’t already made a flexible working request within the last 12 months.
Flexible working requests should be made in writing and should include details of the revised working pattern you are seeking, how you think this may affect your employers business and how you think this can be dealt with.
Employers must have a sound business reason for rejecting any request.
Examples of flexible working
- home working
- part-time working
- term-time working
- working compressed hours
- working staggered hours
- working annualised hours
- shift working
- job sharing
Where can I get more information online?