Life may have forced you to attain maturity early and take care of somebody in your family. You’re a young carer if you’re under 18 years of age and help to care for a parent or sibling with a disability, illness, drug/alcohol problem or mental health issue. Often, it requires you not only to tend to the person’s daily needs like bathing and dressing but also to do chores around the house like cooking, cleaning and washing up. Along with this, you must be giving the person emotional support too. Did you know that millions of pounds of carers’ benefits are unclaimed by young carers? Let’s know more about this kind of financial support…
As a young carer, you can claim Carer’s Allowance of £64.60 per week in 2018-19. If you live in Scotland, you’re eligible for a supplementary payment of £221 every year. This happens in two instalments. However, you’ll have to fulfil certain conditions first:
- Spend at least 35 hours/week giving support to a person requiring care
- Aged 16 and above
- Don’t study full-time or for more than 21 hours a week
- Earn £116 or lesser (after taxes, care cost benefits at work and 50% of your payment into pension)
Carer’s Allowance is taxable for a young carer and may affect other benefits you’re getting. It may also affect the benefits a person who needs care gets namely Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment. You can’t get this allowance if you’re claiming State Pension or contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
Being a young carer, you don’t make any contributions because you’re caring for a disabled or sick relative. So, the government provides Carer’s Credit as a National Insurance credit towards your State Pension.
Conditions to claim:
- Your age is 16 or more
- You aren’t yet eligible for State Pension
- You can’t claim Carer’s Allowance
- At least spend 20 hours of care a week
- The person you care for receives one or all of the following benefits- Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment. Even if he/she doesn’t get these benefits, you can still claim by filling out a Care Certificate.
Another financial support for a young carer like you is Carer Premium. This is an addition if you already get:
- Income Support
- Housing Benefit
- Universal Credit (UC)
- Council Tax Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Income-based Employment & Support Allowance (ESA)
You can enquire about Carer Premium at your nearest Jobcentre Plus or Jobs and Benefits office.
Pension Credit is available for a young carer if they’ve reached their State Pension age. It has two parts- Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit. Savings Credit is only paid if your partner or you reached the age of State Pension before the 6th of April, 2016. The amount of Pension Credit you’ll get would depend on how much you earn, your savings and your marital status. If you receive Pension Credit, you can claim the extra amount for carers as a plus, if you claim Carer’s Allowance or have an underlying entitlement to it.
In addition to Carer’s Allowance, you can also claim additional benefits because you’re a young carer. These include:
This is a non-taxable sum available to those on a low income and below State Pension age.
It’s possible that you have your own health problems inspite of being a young carer and having responsibilities. In this case, you might be eligible for income-related Employment & Support Allowance. This affects Carer’s Allowance, however.
If you’re a young carer and a jobseeker too, you’ll be eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance. It’s taxable and means-tested.
Suppose you don’t earn enough to keep body and soul together, you can top up your income with Working Tax Credit. It’s non-taxable and means-tested.
This benefit helps pay all or part of your rent if you earn a low income.
Universal Credit (UC) is a new type of financial support from the government for UK citizens who are either unemployed or on a low income. It’s going to replace existing benefits like Income Support, ESA, JSA, Housing Benefit and tax credits.
If the person you care for has limited mobility as a result of disability or disease, they can get support under this scheme. It can provide a car, wheelchair or a powered scooter.
Blue Badge Parking
A young carer may take their relative outside by car. With blue badge parking, drivers accompanying passengers with mobility issues can access more convenient parking spaces such as disabled parking bays. They are also permitted to park their vehicle on single or double lines for upto 3 hours.
Disabled Persons Railcard
This is yet another benefit by the National Railway network for disabled persons and a young carer with them. They can claim a discount of 1/3rd off rail tickets. This card would cost £20 a year and £54 for three years. They’re available at the staffed ticket office and even online.
Cinema Exhibitors’ Association Card
A young carer can get themselves a free ticket when they take the person they care for to the cinema. All national cinema chains accept it. You can apply online.
Although they’re not advertised, a young carer always gets free or discounted tickets at museums, leisure centres and National trust sites for their services. Just ask your local authorities what extra support is available.
Summary- Financial support for a Young Carer
- Carer’s Allowance
- Carer’s Credit
- Carer Premium
- Pension Credit
- Income Support
- Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Universal Credit
- Motability Scheme
- Blue Badge Parking
- Disabled Persons Railcard
- Cinema Exhibitors’ Association Card
- Other Discounts