Benefits and financial support for carers
This page contains information about:
- allowances and credits
- Council Tax reductions
- discount card for carers
- taking a break with our vouchers scheme
Allowances, credits and Council Tax reductions
Caring for someone else can mean spending more money to ensure the carer and the cared for person lives well. For example, keeping warm, eating healthily and taking a carer’s break are all very important to health and wellbeing and may incur extra expenditure.
Therefore, it's important to know that there is financial support and help available to you.
Carer's Allowance / Premium (link opens in new window) is paid to people who spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone.
Carer’s Credit (link opens in new window) is a National Insurance credit that helps build your entitlement to the State Pension. It makes sure there are no gaps in your National Insurance record. Carers need to be caring for 20 hours or more a week to qualify.
Pension Credit / Income Support / Housing Benefit / Council Tax Benefit / Employment and Support Allowance – These are means tested benefits. Entitlement will depend on your financial circumstances.
Council Tax reductions - In Central Bedfordshire the Disabled Band Reduction scheme provides for a reduction in the Council Tax rate if an extra room is required for special needs, or if extra space is needed for wheelchair access indoors.
You can do an online check (link opens in new window) of your entitlement to benefits by using the government’s Benefits Adviser calculator.
Your local Citizens Advice (link opens in new window) office can help you with completing forms.
Carers' Discount Card
Unpaid carers in Bedfordshire can benefit from an exclusive card scheme that gives them access to a range of discounts at some local and national businesses.
Carers will be eligible for up to 20 per cent off standard rates when they show their photo identity card at more than 60 participating businesses across Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough including bakeries, restaurants, pharmacies, holistic treatments, beauty salons, clothes shops, taxis, as well as holidays and leisure.
For a full listing please visit Carers' Discount Directory (link opens in new window)
The scheme is part of ongoing efforts to help unpaid carers save money and is offered by Carers in Bedfordshire (link opens in new window), with support from the council and the business community.
We hope that the discount card scheme will also encourage unregistered, unpaid carers to get in touch and find out what other benefits and help are available to them.
For more information about the discount card or if you are or know any unpaid carers who would like to sign up, please contact Carers in Bedfordshire (details below). Alternatively if you are a business (or know of one) who would like to register to offer discounts to carers on products or services, Carers in Bedfordshire would be very happy to hear from you:
Take a break with our vouchers scheme
We support unpaid carers to take a break from their caring role and to enjoy some time for themselves. This could be to pursue social, educational or employment opportunities or just relax and have some leisure time.
One of the ways we can support you is through carers' vouchers.
How to get your carers' voucher
To obtain a carers' voucher, you will need to have a carers' assessment which will be undertaken by social services. You can ask for a carers' assessment even if the person you care for doesn't receive any services from us. Assessments are free of charge.
You will be entitled to an assessment regardless of the amount or type of care you provide, your financial means or your level of need for support. You don't necessarily have to live with the person you are looking after or be caring full-time to have an assessment. You may be juggling work and care which is having a big impact on your life.
If you and the person you are looking after agree, a combined assessment of both your needs can be undertaken at the same time.
The assessment can be done face-to-face, over the telephone or online.
After the assessment, we will decide if you are eligible to receive a carers' service and if you are, all the options available will be discussed with you. One of those options is carers' vouchers.
A bit more about carers' vouchers
If we agree to award you carers' vouchers, you will receive an agreed allocation each month. Each voucher is worth one hour of care and we have a list of approved home care agencies that will accept the vouchers. You can decide to take a short break each week or save up the vouchers and take a longer break, for example, a day per month. The vouchers are valid for three months from date of issue. You will be able to arrange the care directly with your chosen agency and you give them the voucher(s) in exchange for the care they provide.
What can the vouchers be used for?
The agency you choose from the approved list to provide the care will arrange for someone to sit with the cared for person in their home while you take a break.
The sitting service is provided to you, the carer, to allow you to take a break. This means that if the cared for person requires any type of service themselves (such as personal care which includes moving and handling, bathing etc) then the relevant health or social services agency should be contacted to provide this.