Benefits advice and employment

Benefits advice

Caring can have a significant financial impact on the individual particularly for carers who give up or reduce hours in paid employment. Other expenses such as travel and telephone mount up quickly. It is important therefore you apply for any benefits you are entitled to.

Southend Carers can give you some advice and information on benefits and some people find an online benefit calculator helpful Entitled to Carer’s Allowance is the main benefit for carers. If you are looking after someone for 35 hours a week or more, you may be eligible. You don’t have to be related to or live with the person you care for.

Carer’s Credit was introduced by the government in 2010 to help carers fill gaps on their National Insurance record. This means you can take on caring responsibilities without affecting your ability to qualify for the State Pension. Your income, savings or investments won’t affect eligibility for Carer’s Credit.

Carers in Employment

Continuing to work whilst caring can help maintain an income and pension rights, and provide you with an interest and social interaction outside of your caring role. It can be difficult juggling two roles; your paid employment and your unpaid caring responsibilities and it may help to talk to your employer about the difficulties. It is costly to lose a trained and experienced member of staff and it can be good for both you and your employer to address the difficulties and come to an agreement of how work could adapt to accommodate your caring responsibilities.

If you are looking to combine caring and work you may get some help by having a Carers Assessment.

The statutory employment rights that are particularly relevant to carers to help you stay in work whilst caring are:

  • the right to request flexible working
  • the right to time off in emergencies
  • the right to parental leave if you have a child
  • the right not to be discriminated against or harassed under the Equality Act.

All employees with 26 weeks of service have a statutory right to request flexible working. Your employer must consider your request reasonably and have sound business reasons for turning down your request. If you tell your employer why you would like to work flexibly you are more likely to identify a working arrangement that works for both you and your employer.

For more information, please contact Southend Carers and read our factsheet Carers and Employment.