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Caring and your finances

Posted 11 August 2015

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6.5 million people in the UK are carers and many of those are living under financial pressure due to this. If this is you then read on to find out what help there is available.

Many people find themselves in the situation where they need and want to care for someone close to them who’s become ill or needs assistance with everyday life. As time goes on, and people age, their medical and practical needs increase, and it often falls to a spouse or family member to provide that essential care.  Or you may be caring for a child or other family member with a disability.  According to Carers UK, there are 6.5million people providing this type of care in the UK.

Whilst caring for loved ones is not always something that people see as a burden, it is important that we acknowledge the practical and financial strain that this responsibility can sometimes bring into a carer’s life.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to provide care, but it impacts on your life to the extent that you’re not able to earn as much money as you were before, then it’s important that you look into the benefits that might be available to you.

 

Caring and Debt

If you’re caring for others and, cannot work as much as you’d like, or not at all, you’re going to experience a loss of income. If this happens, you may find that you aren’t able to keep up the repayments on your existing credit commitments and fall into arrears, or you may be tempted to rely on credit to cover the shortfall and build up problem debt.

If you’ve brought someone into your home to care for them, your general cost of living will have risen, as household bills increase, as well as the cost of food shopping. There may also be special equipment they may need, which isn’t provided by the NHS. If you have to travel to someone else’s home to care for them, then you might find that the cost of travel creates a financial burden that you weren’t prepared for.

Carers UK also state that carers who have a disability themselves are more likely to be in debt because of their own disability and related costs of caring for another. They also revealed that 42% of carers have missed out on benefits that were due to them because they had not been given the right information.

What help is available?

There is a specific benefit provided by the Government called the Carer’s Allowance to help with the cost of providing care for a loved one. The allowance is £62.10 per week and to be eligible you would need to be over the age of sixteen and providing care for at least 35 hours per week.

It’s important to remember that this benefit is taxable and that it may affect your other benefits.

Unfortunately, the benefit does not increase if you are caring for more than one person.

Charities

Carers UK and Carer’s Trust are two charities that provide nationwide support for carers.  And, if you find that you are still struggling financially, even with the benefits available to you, then it is a good idea to reach out to them. They provide, information, education, advice and emotional support to carers. Have a look at the NHS’s website to find even more support for people in your situation.

If you are a carer, we hope that this post has been helpful. However, we understand that for some of you, being a carer has already resulted in you falling into unmanageable debt. If you are in this situation, it’s important to remember that there is always help available and a debt solution to suit your needs. Use one of the contact us options at the side of the page if you’d like to speak to one of our experts about a way forward to tackle your debts.

 

 

 

by Christine Walsh

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.