Carers do a fantastic job across the UK, writing reports, liaising with professionals, arrangement appointments and carrying out the many responsibilities of hands on care such as dressing, feeding and bathing. In many cases, carers are people’s loved ones; the husband of an elderly wife or the parent of a disabled child, for example. Despite many people becoming carers for people out of love, obligation and necessity, it’s essential for individuals to recognise the invaluable job they’re doing. This means realising they’re doing a full-time job and may need some financial support as a result.
Many carers may have to reduce their working hours or give up their job entirely to look after people they love. As a result, lower incomes, reduced pension plans and fewer job prospects can make life even more challenging. It’s here that carers’ grants can become a vital financial resource to make ends meet. This support is even more essential when you consider the extra equipment that families might need; wheelchairs, bath aids and even special vehicles, for example.
The Difficulty of Being a Carer
The support of friends and family can be a great help to many carers, but it doesn’t replace the fact there are many responsibilities to carry. Regardless of whether you’re caring for a middle-aged child, youngster or parent, being a carer whilst also having your own life and identity is extremely challenging. As a result, family organisations, carers groups and funding for carers are all lifelines, offering the chance to improve both you and your loved ones’ lives.
The British government recognises the roles cares’ play in looking after some of society’s most vulnerable people and, as such, offer a carer’s grant. Each year, the government allocates money to councils who then share this money between social services, local groups and charities to provide services and support at a local level.
If you’re the main carer of a disabled child or parent, you are also entitled to a Carer’s Allowance as long as you work in this role for at least 35 hours per week. The person you’re looking after needs to be receiving either the middle or higher rate of care as part of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or the Disability Living Allowance. In addition, your income must be below £110 a week after income tax, national insurance and other payments, such as work-related expenses like uniforms and tools, are deducted. This is one of the most common mistakes people make; the £110 is after deductions, so if you’ve not applied for a Carer’s Allowance because your earnings were too high, you might want to reconsider your income.
You can find further eligibility details on the gov.uk website.
Other Charitable Funding
In addition to financial support from the government, there are a wide variety of charities across the UK who offer grants and support for carers and those they’re looking after. These include Family Action, Family Fund and Rank Carers Grant Fund.
- Family Action
Family Action is a charity providing support to young carers, socially isolated families and disadvantaged children. The organisation provides both emotional and practical support to help children achieve their potential, and this is done via a number of finance options.Small grants are given by Family Action, often to families on low incomes. The Welfare Grants Programme offers money towards the expense of general household needs, clothing, medical adaptations and communication aids. Meanwhile, the Educational Grants Programme is a way for children above 14 years old to get training that could help them boost their future employment prospects.
- Family Fund
Family Fund is the UK’s largest provider of grants to families who have seriously ill or disabled children under the age of 17. These grants can be of huge help to carers, helping families pay the bills or enjoy some respite time away from home.There are many ways in which Family Fund money can help. It can be put towards practical, everyday essentials such as bedding, washing machines, specialist toys and fridges. The charity also offers holiday vouchers which can be redeemed at Butlin’s, Travel by Inspire and Haven, offering the chance for the entire family to get away and enjoy a break; the ideal chance for a change of scenery, to have some respite and get the chance to reconnect with loved ones.Despite its limited funds, the organisation strives to help as many families as possible. Eligibility for funding depends on Family Fund’s criteria, which includes carers being permanent residents of England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, having lived in the UK for at least six months and have permanent residency, and being the parent or main carer for someone under the age of 17. Applicants are also requested to show evidence they receive at least one of a listed number of benefits including but not exclusive of Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit, Incapacity Benefit and Housing Benefit.
- Rank Cares Grant Fund
Working in partnership with the Carers Trust, the Rank Group have launched a relatively new variety of grants that can help carers continue in their essential roles looking after loved ones.To make an application for funding, you should apply to a local Crossroad scheme or carer’s centre in your local area. If successful, grant money can be used to pay for household items, like washing machines and cookers. It can also pay for courses to help people gain new skills, or cover transport-related costs such as driving lessons or hospital visit expenses. The Rank Carers Grant Fund can also offer help with money for taking a short break.
Access Carer’s Grants for Emotional and Financial Support
If you’re caring for a loved one, then it’s important you remember you’re also doing a job and should be recognised for it. Giving up your own working career and spending your life looking after someone else might seem like the right thing to do, but all too quickly, emotional and financial pressures can begin to creep in. This is why it’s so important to apply for funding, helping you meet the challenges of everyday life head on, and allowing you to give the best care possible whilst regaining a sense of your own identity and independence.