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.
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 may be able to get help in a number of ways. You can:
- Ask for an assessment (where you describe what you do and the impact it has on you). Wiltshire Council has special staff who do the assessments and will arrange to visit you at home. Ask your school or GP to refer you via the DART (Digital Assessment Referral Tool) or SARF (Single Assessment Referral form).
- Contact Carer Support Wiltshire for advice and support;
- Look at websites such as Kooth (online counselling and emotional well-being platform for children and young people) and OnYourMind.org.uk (signposts children and young people in Wiltshire to sources of support for good mental health and emotional wellbeing). In addition, visit the Carers Trust for support and guidance.
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.
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 0800 731 0297.