Urgent warning as 5million Brits could be missing out on thousands of pounds in free cash – how to claim | The SunJanuary 29, 2023
OVER five million Brits could be missing out on free cash support.
The latest census revealed there are five million unpaid carers in the UK.
Kirsty McHugh, chief executive of national charity Carer’s Trust, reckons the figure is much higher.
“Most unpaid carers don’t recognise themselves as such,” she told The Sun.
That includes family members who look after relatives who need lots of care, such as older people or those with a disability.
With the latest census conducted in the middle of the pandemic, many people would have been unable to visit the homes of those they were caring for so may have simply not identified as unpaid carers at that time.
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However high the actual figure is, unpaid carers are struggling with their finances because of the time they take to care for someone means time when they’re not able to earn.
They may also be struggling emotionally because of not being able to take time off between working and caring.
That can leave many carers desperately in need for respite from their duties.
The good news is there may be help with benefits available for some and grants and other assistance for others.
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“Nobody should be struggling alone because they’re caring for someone else,” said Ms McHugh.
“There is help out there and if you’re eligible and don’t claim, you’re effectively losing money.”
"Unfortunately, many people fail to see themselves as carers and fail to apply for benefits provided by the government,” said tax expert Rachael Griffin of Quilter.
“Failing to do so can have a disastrous impact on someone’s financial wellbeing.”
Here are details of what help you may be able to get if you’re an unpaid carer.
Carer’s Allowance – £69.70 a week
Some carers can claim cash from the government through what is known as Carer's Allowance.
“You might be able to get £69.70 a week if you care for someone at least 35 hours a week and they get certain benefits,” said Ms Griffin.
You don’t have to be related to, or even live with the person you care for to be eligible for Carer’s Allowance.
“However, there are a number of criteria that need to be met to be able to claim this allowance so it’s best to check online before making a claim,” advised Ms Griffin.
For instance, you must be over the age of 16 and not in full-time education.
If your income is more than £132 a week after tax, you won’t be eligible for the payout.
The person you care for must get a benefit such as Attendance Allowance or the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment.
You can claim Carer’s Allowance on the GOV.UK website.
Carer Premium – £38.85 a week
You may be able to get extra money, up to £38.85 a week, added to your existing benefits or credits if you claim Carer's Allowance (or have an underlying entitlement to it).
It is called the Carer Premium and it is part of the calculation that works out how much money you are entitled to and it is added to the other amounts.
In Scotland, people who get Carer’s Allowance are handed a supplement paid as a lump sum twice a year.
The payment should be made automatically by Social Security Scotland, but contact them if you think you’re eligible and are not getting the payment.
Those who are not eligible for a Carer’s Allowance but do care for someone may be able to claim Carer’s Credits.
These are National Insurance credits that help with gaps in your National Insurance record and are crucial for ensuring you will be able to claim a decent state pension when you eventually retire from working.
Your National Insurance record determines how much State Pension you eventually receive and gaps in contributions can hit people hard in later life if they have to live on less money.
Gaps in contributions can also affect your chances of getting jobseeker’s allowance and similar benefits.
You can claim Carer’s Credits if you care for someone for at least 20 hours a week.
Last year, just 5,646 people claimed against an estimated 200,000 who could be eligible.
Across the country, there is a wide range of help for carers offered on a local basis either through charities or local councils, which were handed a £500million household support fund in the last Budget.
Local help can be grants to assist with essentials such as emergency bill payments or even helping you to buy items such as a fridge to store essential medicines.
“But with the help carrying widely across the country the best advice is to contact your local carer service,” said Ms McHugh.
“They can advise you about benefits and support you may be able to claim for, such as respite from caring if you need it.”
They will help you fill out claim forms and will know of any local charities that could help.
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You can find out where your local carer service is by inputting your email on the Carers.org website.
For further advice, you can call the Carers UK helpline on 0800 808 7777.
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