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 £66 a week.
You are entitled to Carer’s Allowance if:
- You’re aged 16 or over
- Spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone
- Aren’t either in full-time education or earning more than £118 a week net.
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 £226 a year.
For more information please visit the Scottish Government website.
Carer premium is an extra payment of up to £36 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, Housing Benefit, or 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.
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.
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. VisitTurn2Uswho 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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