Unpaid carers are lacking emotional, financial, and practical support from their local authority
Unpaid carers are lacking emotional, financial, and practical support from their local authority, and face the toughest winter yet.
There are millions of carers in the UK on low or no pay, with many of them missing out on vital help in the form of Carer’s Allowance or carer’s credit.
However new research shows that out of those who apply for support, almost half are rejected, adding further financial strain as carers are already out of pocket by an average of £2494 a year.
As Christmas draws closer, unpaid carers are urged to consider other ways they could make extra cash, or claim other benefits they may be entitled to.
Will Donnelly, co-Founder at Lottie, shares the devastating impact of discrepancies in social care support available.
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Lottie’s new research has found many carers are out of pocket by £2494
He said: “Our research, revealing the discrepancies in local authority support for unpaid carers across the UK is alarming. The lack of financial resources, practical assistance, and emotional support available to carers across the UK is exacerbating the caregiving crisis facing our nation.
“Now more than ever unpaid carers are under greater pressure – emotionally and financially to provide support for their loved ones with little to no help.
“The average unpaid carer is out of pocket by £2494 a year due to the costs of caring – even with the additional benefit of Carer’s Allowance.
“This includes expenses like travel, household bills, and any equipment needed – and is taking its toll on those most impacted as Christmas approaches.”
Unpaid carers are eligible to claim Carer’s Allowance, a monthly payment distributed by the DWP of around £307 a week
Lottie’s new research has found many carers are out of pocket by £2494 and also unable to access adequate support from their local authority.
To help ease the burden this Christmas, Lottie will focus on a Carers Christmas Giveaway – where carers have the opportunity to win exciting prizes worth up to £250 each day.
Starting from December 5 and running until December 15, 2023, each day will bring a new chance for carers to win prizes that aim to bring joy, relaxation, and a well-deserved break.
Mr Donelly continued: “In the run-up to the festive season, we’ve seen a surge in unpaid carers across the country, actively searching for emotional, financial and practical support.
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“Over the last 30 days, Lottie’s analysis into carer’s online habits has found a 5000 percent increase in online searches for ‘carers support grant budget 2024’ and ‘carer payment eligibility’. This is followed by a 100 percent increase in online searches for ‘carer support groups near me’.
“Carers are desperately seeking for support to act as a lifeline during an extremely difficult time – and this is unacceptable.”
Unpaid carers are eligible to claim Carer’s Allowance, a monthly payment distributed by the DWP of around £307 (£76.75 per week), provided claimants care for someone on certain means-tested benefits for at least 35 hours per week.
However according to insights from Carers UK, around 10.6 million people are currently providing unpaid carers duties in the UK now, many of whom will be caring for an elderly relative, friend or neighbour whose physical or mental health is in decline.
One thing unpaid carers can claim for is Carer’s Credit, a National Insurance credit that helps bridge some of the gaps in a carers’ National Insurance (NI) record and helps towards your state pension.
Claimants must care for someone for at least 20 hours per week, with the credit allowing them to maintain caring responsibilities and still contribute to their state pension, which is based on NI contributions
A DWP spokesperson said: “This Government recognises the huge value of unpaid carers in the lives of their family and friends and we remain committed to helping them financially. Universal Credit includes a carer element worth more than £2,000 a year, and since 2010 we have increased Carer’s Allowance by nearly 40 percent, worth just under an additional £1,200 a year.
“We know the pressures of high prices are continuing to be felt which is why a Cost of Living Payment worth £900 will be paid to more than eight million households this year and next, including to nearly 60 percent of working-age carers on low incomes and Carer’s Allowance.”