There are many benefits available for the carers of those living with dementia, but navigating this complex system can be challenging. Our team at Re:Cognition Health have compiled some helpful tips to assist in accessing benefits, to which you may be entitled. From Carer’s Allowance and council tax reduction through to legal issues and blue badges, our team cover some of the most frequently asked questions:
If you spend time at least 35 hours a week looking after a partner, relative or friend who has an illness or disability, you may be eligible to claim Carer’s Allowance. This is a non-contributory benefit payable to the carer.
Am I entitle to Carer’s Allowance?
The criteria to qualify for Carer’s Allowance includes the following:
- Carer’s must spend 35 hours per week caring for someone, this includes physical assistance with their personal needs, or cleaning, meal preparation, any tasks other required, accompanying them to doctor’s appointments or just generally “keeping an eye on them”. If the individual for whom you care, does not live with you it can include any time you spend preparing for their visit, cleaning after they leave and the time spent returning them home.
- To qualify for Carer’s Allowance you cannot be in full time education
- You do not qualify for Carer’s Allowance if you earn more than £128.00per week (after deductions) Money you receive from personal or workplace pensions does not count as part of this earning.
State pension rules for Carer’s Allowance:
You can claim Carer’s Allowance if you are in receipt of a State Pension, but the rules are slightly different.
Carer’s Allowance is paid up to the rate of £67.25 per week. However, if your State Pension is more than £67.25 per week you will not receive Carer’s Allowance, as these are classified as “overlapping benefits” and a person may receive only one benefit, at one time. Instead, you will have an “underlying entitlement” to Carer’s Allowance. This means that you are recognised as a carer, but you cannot be paid the Carer’s Allowance.
However, if your State Pension is less than £67.25, you may receive Carer’s Allowance to top it up your pension to this value.
How do I access Carer’s Allowance?
To find out about how to receive Carer’s Allowance call the freephone number 0800 731 0297 which is open between the hours of 09.30am and 3.30pm Monday to Friday.
You can also make a claim online by going to www.gov.uk/carers-Allowance.
COUNCIL TAX REDUCTION
Some Carer’s do not have to pay Council tax if they are living with and caring for a person with dementia, who receives the higher rate of Attendance Allowance or PPI.
To apply, simply contact your local council tax department and ask them to send you a form for “mental impairment” Alternatively, you can go online to https://www.gov.uk/council-tax/discounts-for-disabled-people for further information and to make the application.
If a person has been diagnosed with dementia, you may wish to start thinking about choosing ways to make health, welfare and/or financial decisions when they not have the capacity to make decisions for themselves. The person who is chosen to make decisions on behalf of the individual with dementia is called an attorney and is appointed by a formal document called Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney:
A health and welfare LPA – this is for decisions about health and welfare, for example where the person with a diagnosis may wish to reside, their day-to-day care and their medical treatment.
A property and affairs LPA – this is for decisions about finance, for example selling their house or managing their bank account.
In the first instance, contact a Solicitor to make an LPA, or use the special form from the Office of the Public Guardian:
0300 456 0300 – 9am – 5pm Monday to Thursday and on Friday 10am – 5pm. Alternatively you can complete a form online by visiting www.gov.uk/power-ofattorney/make-lasting-power.
If you do not have a solicitor and have questions regarding Power of Attorney, the charity Allied Service Trust provide education, support and help individuals prepare for possible incapacity. They can be contacted on 01590 644073
If the person you care for has been diagnosed with dementia, you should be able to apply for a Blue Badge which makes life easier when seeking convenient parking car. Blue badges are permits which allow people with disabilities to park closer to their destination. To find out more:
Phone: 0844 463 0123.
Apply online at www.gov.uk/apply-blue-badge.
It’s important to enjoying spending time with the person for whom you care.
Because Dementia is a progressive condition, it does mean that the person will change over time and it is normal for the carer to feel a wide range of emotions including frustration, grief, anger and guilt; all of which can influence your relationship.
There are many things that you can do together to stay connected and it’s important to maintain a sense of routine, including hobbies, interests and activities they have always enjoyed within the weekly schedule. These could include activities which are great for the mind and body:
- Listening to music together and dancing
- Watching a favourite film or musical
- Playing board or cards games
- Going for a walk outside in the fresh air
- Looking through photo albums of places previously visited, exploring memories
- Enjoying physical touch such as a hand massage
It’s also a good idea to investigate dementia friendly activities available in the local community – art classes, library sessions, music lessons and fitness activities are which are widely available.
Last but not least -looking after yourself!
Caring for an individual with dementia can be both rewarding but also very challenging. It’s imperative you take time to look after yourself, so you can deliver the very best care and don’t become burnt out.
It’s also really important that you stay in touch with family, friends and neighbours, keeping them updated with your situation.
For tips on how to help care for someone with dementia visit: https://recognitionhealth.com/tips-for-dementia-carers/
Directory of Important Phone numbers:
Age UK: 080 0678 1174
Silver Line: 080 0470 8090
Alzheimer’s Society: 030 0222 1122
Admiral Nurses: 080 0888 6678
Independent Age: 080 0319 6789
CNWL Single Point of Access- in case of mental health crisis – call anytime: 080 0023 4650
Samaritans: 116 123
No Panic – for panic attack sufferers: 084 4967 4848
Medical and Social Care
NHS- non-emergency support
NHS- extremely vulnerable persons Tel: 080 0028 8327