What is a carer?
If you provide unpaid support to a family member, partner, friend or neighbour because they are ill, frail, disabled or have mental ill health, eating disorder or substance misuse problems and this person could not manage at home without support then you are a carer.
You may be providing practical help such as cleaning, cooking or physical tasks such as bathing, lifting and dressing. You may be giving emotional support or have to keep a close eye on the person you care for. Caring for someone can be demanding and being identified as a carer can be important to get the support you need to continue in your caring role.
Young carers take on the practical and emotional caring responsibilities normally expected of an adult and come from any cultural and social background. There is no typical young carer but they may be :
- Doing lots of extra housework, cooking or shopping.
- Helping someone to wash or dress.
- Looking after a brother or sister with physical or learning disabilities.
- Constantly worrying about and keeping an eye on the person they care for.
- Helping a parent/family member who has a drug/alcohol dependency.
- Providing emotional and practical support to someone with mental health illness.
- Helping a family member to take their medication.
Spurgeons – Young carers in Wiltshire
If you are under 18 and living in Wiltshire and you look after someone in your family who is disabled, has a long term illness, misuses drugs or alcohol, or has a mental illness and you have to do more than just helping out, then you are a young carer and Spurgeons can help you in a number of ways:
- Meet with other young carers.
- After school Youth Clubs and Holiday Activities.
- Counselling by referral to Relate
- Transition support.
- Gain new skills.
- Social networking site.
- Young Carers Festival
For further information, visit the Spurgeons Young Carers website or call 01225 701820.
Carer Support Wiltshire
If you are aged 16-25 and provide support to a relative, partner, friend or neighbour who could not manage without you then Young Adult Carers can offer you:
- One-to-one advice.
- Emotional support.
- Useful information.
- Help to access education and training.
- Employment advice.
- Opportunities to take a break.
Many attractions now offer reduced rates for Carers and additional support for disabled people – it is always advisable to contact first and explain your situation.
- The Key – This is a secure and encrypted register for children and young people with a disability. Key will enable Parents/Carers to be informed quickly about various services that are available, including the Wiltshire Passport.
- Wiltshire Passport – This is an initiative offered by Wiltshire Council and is available to all carers and young people with a disability who are registered on The Key. The Wiltshire Passport offers discounts and additional services from local businesses and organisations, including leisure centres. You will be able to use your card wherever you see the Wiltshire Passport sign.
- Wiltshire Passport Participant List – a full list of participating businesses for Wiltshire Passport. It should be noted that Wiltshire Council does not endorse or recommend any organisations, products or services displayed on their website.
- The Cinema Exhibitors’ Association – this is a national card that can be used to verify that the holder is entitled to one free ticket for a person accompanying them to the cinema. Applicants need to be in receipt of Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Payment or be registered blind. This website also lists accessible films.
Carer support card
The Carers Emergency Card (CEC) scheme is an initiative run by Wiltshire Council and managed by Carer Support Wiltshire. It offers peace of mind and reassurance that things will be taken care of in case of an accident or emergency. The card is available to carers aged 18 or over who are caring for someone who lives in Wiltshire (excluding Swindon).
Carer’s Allowance is a taxable non means tested, non contributory benefit and is payable to a carer who meets all the following criteria:
- They must care for someone who receives Middle or Higher rate DLA
- They must provide that care for 35 hours or more every week
- They cannot be in full time education
- They must be over the age of 16
- They must have lived in Great Britain for at least 2 of the last 3 years
- If employed, they must earn less than £100 per week after deductions of Income Tax, National Insurance, Pension contributions etc. After allowing for these, up to 50% of your remaining earnings can be used to meet childcare costs.
In 2013/14 successful claimants can receive £59.75 per week Carer’s Allowance payable either weekly in arrears or every 4 or 13 weeks.
Carer’s Allowance is classed as an Earnings Replacement Benefit. If you are already claiming a similar benefit such as Income Support or Employment & Support Allowance you may not receive payment of Carer’s Allowance but may have what is called an ‘underlying entitlement’. You must also declare the amount paid to you as income when completing your Child Tax Credits annual renewal form
Your entitlement to Carer’s Allowance (or your underlying entitlement) will qualify you for the carer premium in Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit.
You can apply for Carer’s Allowance on line by clicking on the link below or getting a form from the Carers Allowance Unit on 0845 608 4321