Financial support for carers
Carer personal budgets
A carer personal budget (also known as a carer direct payment) is a sum of money paid by the council to help to a carer to pay for things which will help them in their caring role. It allows a carer to have more control over how they are supported.
If you are eligible for support from your council following a carer's assessment you will be given a personal budget - the amount you receive will depend on your situation, and will be paid as a lump sum. This payment will cover a 12-month period after which your situation will be reviewed with you.
You and the person who completes the assessment with you will create a support plan which will show how your support will be arranged, and how you will spend your personal budget.
What can I do with my personal budget?
Your personal budget can be used in all kinds of ways; it's yours to use to pay for anything that will support you in your caring role and that has been agreed in your carers' support plan.
Here's how you might want to use your personal budget:
- travel expenses or fees to take up leisure or education activities
health promotion activities such as exercise classes, gym membership, massages or relaxation or complementary therapies
- practical things such as a washing machine or a computer
a short holiday
- driving lessons
- help with housework and gardening
- a mobile phone
- leisure classes to relieve stress.
The budget cannot be spent on any illegal activities, or on alcohol, gambling or smoking. You will be asked by the council to demonstrate how you have spent your budget.
To get a personal budget you will have to have had a carer's assessment.
Further information about personal budgets
The Carers Network are the main organisation in Hammersmith & Fulham providing support, information, breaks and grants for unpaid carers.
The Alzheimer's Society can help you find out about the personal budgets available for carers who are looking after someone who is living with dementia.
Personal budgets for carers | Alzheimer's Society
Carers UK provide more information on carer personal budgets.
We’re here to make life better for carers - Carers UK
If you look after someone, you may be eligible to receive Carer's Allowance. This benefit is intended to help towards your costs of living when you are looking after someone.
Carer's Allowance is worth £67.25 per week (for April 2020-21) and is usually paid every four weeks.
You'll also get National Insurance credits each week towards your pension if you're under pension age.
Eligibility for Carer's Allowance
You may be eligible for Carer's Allowance if you:
- are aged 16 or over and not in full-time education
- spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone
live in the UK
- have lived in the UK for at least 2 of the last 3 years
- are not in receipt of certain other benefits, such as Jobseeker's Allowance or Incapacity Benefit
- are not working, or earn less than £128 a week after tax and anything to pay towards the care of the person you look after.
You can find more information about Carer's Allowance and advice on how to claim it on the gov.uk website.
Carer's Allowance - GOV.UK
If you need help completing the forms or have any questions, you can get advice from the Carer's Allowance Unit
Contact the Carer's Allowance Unit - GOV.UK
Further information about Carer's Allowance
Carers UK has advice and information on benefits for carers, including Carer's Allowance.
Carer's Allowance - Carers UK
Age UK provide additional information on the Carer's Allowance.
Carer's allowance and payment advice | Age UK
If you are a working-age carer who is unable to work because of their caring commitments you may be able to claim Carer's Allowance.
If you get Carer's Allowance, or have an underlying entitlement to it, you may then become entitled to Universal Credit or one of various means-tested benefits.
And if you are already receiving one or more means-tested benefits you may be entitled to more of these benefits. This is because getting Carer's Allowance or having an underlying entitlement to it means that an extra amount of money called the 'carers premium or addition' is included in the calculation of the means-tested benefits you apply for.
You may find that you are entitled to one or more of the following means-tested benefits:-
- Universal credit
- Income support
- Employment and support allowance
- Jobseeker's allowance
- Housing benefit and council tax reduction
Remember that means-tested benefits take into account how much income and savings you and your household have.
You can do an online check of your entitlement to benefits by using the gov.uk website's Benefits Adviser calculator or the independent Entitled To benefits calculator.
Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit are paid to top up the incomes of families or workers with a low income. The amount you get of either or both depends on your household taxable income.
Further information about carers benefits
The Money Advice Service
Benefits you can claim as a carer - Money Advice Service
The Carers Trust
Money and benefits - Carers Trust
The NHS website
Benefits for carers - NHS