Looking after a member of your family who has a disability, illness, mental-health condition or drug or alcohol problem can be a massive commitment. Fortunately there’s financial support available, and support services to help share the load.
What tasks do young carers do?
You might find yourself carrying out tasks around the home, cleaning or cooking meals for your family member or helping them with physical tasks, such as moving from one place to the other, bathing or getting dressed in the morning.
That can be difficult enough, but what if you also find yourself managing your family’s money, or having to give up college or university in order to pay for the care they need?
What kind of financial support is available for young carers?
The government offers two kinds of financial support for young carers.
Before applying for Carer’s Allowance, it’s a good idea to check with the person you’re caring for, as it might affect their benefit payments.
Carer’s Allowance is paid at a standard rate of £67.25 (2020-21) a week.
You are entitled to Carer’s Allowance if:
- you’re aged 16 or over
- you satisfy UK presence and residence rules
- you spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone
- you aren’t in either full-time education or earning more than £128 (2020-21) a week net, which means £128 after paying tax, National Insurance and certain other deducations.
Check with the Citizens Advice Bureau to see if you qualify for Carer’s Allowance.
Apply for Carer’s Allowance on the GOV.UK website.
If you live in Scotland, carers will also get two supplementary payment of £230.10 (2020-21) a year.
On top of this, you will also get an extra Coronavirus Carer’s Allowance Supplement payment at the end of June 2020. You do not need to do anything to get this extra payment and eligible carers will get at least £460.20.
Carer premium is an extra payment of up to £36.85 (2020-21) per week that can sometimes be added into the calculation of other benefits you might get on top of your Carer’s Allowance, such as Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, or Council Tax Reduction (Rate Relief in Northern Ireland).
The carer addition is an equivalent amount paid with Pension Credit.
The carer element is an equivalent amount paid with Universal Credit.
If you already get any of these benefits, you should let the relevant people know that you’ve been awarded Carer’s Allowance so they can add the carer premium to your payment.
You’ll find their contact details on any letters they’ve sent you.
If you have only just heard about carer premium and already get Carer’s Allowance, benefit payments can sometimes be backdated.
These benefits are means-tested, so whether or not you qualify will depend on your income and savings.
Young Carer Grant (Scotland only)
If you live in Scotland you might be able to get an extra yearly payment of £300 if:
- you’re aged between 16 and 18
- care for one to three people for an average of 16 hours a week for at least the last three months.
Other types of support for young carers
Did you know?
Campaign group, the Carers Trust, believes as many as 700,000 children and young people are caring for family members in the UK.
There are lots of other types of financial and practical support available to young carers, but first you’ll need to have a carer’s assessment.
This is a chance for you to chat with a social worker and tell them what help you need with your caring.
If you’re under 16 you can ask for a carer’s assessment the next time the person you’re looking after is having their own assessment.
If you’re over 16 you can ask your local authority to carry out an assessment at any time.
How to apply for a carer’s assessment
If you’re in England, Wales or Scotland, you’ll need to speak to the social services department of the local council responsible for the person you’re caring for.
If you’re in Northern Ireland, you’ll need to speak to the Health and Social Care Trust of the person you’re caring for.
Who else can help?
Did you know?
You can speak to a Carers Direct helpline adviser on 0300 123 1053 if you would like help with finding local support, or ask a question using webchat.
It’s not easy being a young carer and money is only one of the challenges. There may be other sources of financial help available from charitable funds. Visit Turn2Us who might be able to put you in touch with such an organisation.
If you feel your role as a carer is affecting your education and schoolwork or if it’s making you feel anxious or upset, you should talk to someone about it.
There are plenty of people who will be more than happy to listen and help you cope with the responsibilities of being a young carer.
You could start close to home, with a relative or friend who already knows your situation, or even your local doctor.
Then there are organisations that have been set up specifically to offer advice and support to young people, such as:
Other information resources
There’s lots of other help and advice available for young carers on all aspects of caring.
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