Frequently asked questions
Frequently asked questions on support for carers in Leicestershire.
What is Attendance Allowance?
Attendance Allowance is probably one of the most misunderstood benefits. Carers don't get Attendance Allowance for looking after somebody; the person with the care needs gets Attendance Allowance to help them meet any additional costs they may incur as a result of their illness or disability.
- Attendance Allowance is for people over state pension age.
- It is paid at two rates; Lower Rate £60 a week and Higher Rate £89.60 a week (correct April 2021). What makes the difference is whether the person has care needs overnight.
- You have to have had the condition for 6 months or more unless you are terminally ill, in which case your application can be fast tracked by using a special form.
- Attendance Allowance is NOT means tested.
- If there are any hospital admissions, you must keep the DWP informed on 0800 7310122.
For further information please click here to go to the government's website.
What is a Carers Passport?
Launched in November 2020, the Carers Passport is a way for unpaid carers across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland to be get the recognition and support they deserve. It is automatically offered to all carers who register with us. We explain it more fully here.
We can issue a Carers Passport if you are caring for someone aged 18+ who lives in Leicestershire county. Leicester City carers please contact Age UK, Rutland carers please contact Rutland County Council.
What is Carers Credit?
Carers Credit is a way of protecting your National Insurance contributions if you cannot work because of your caring responsibilities, but are not eligible for Carers Allowance. It is important to protect your National Insurance contributions to make sure you get a full state pension when the time comes.
Full details of Carers Credit, including how to apply, can be found on the government website here.
The information below is taken from our own Guide for Carers, which can be downloaded here.
Am I entitled to Carers Allowance?
Carers Allowance is an "earnings replacement" benefit, currently paid at £67.25 per week. The maximum you can earn, and still claim claim Carers Allowance, is £128 per week after tax and NI (correct April 2021).
Full details, including how to apply, can be found on the government website here.
The infromation below is taken from our own Guide for Carers which you can download here.
Do you support parent carers?
We are commissioned by Leicestershire County Council to provide support to carers of adults 18+. Therefore, we can help you if your child is over 18. Please phone us on 01858 468543.
Organisations that support Parent Carers of under-18s in Leicestershire include CLASP The Carers Centre on 0116 2510999. Their website is here.
You can request a Parent Carers Assessment from Leicestershire County Council here.
What would happen if I was unable to care for my loved one because I had an illness or accident?
We can offer two things to help.
1) We have a Carers Emergency Card that you can keep in your purse or wallet were you to fall ill or have an accident, which will alert the authorities to the fact you are caring for someone.
2) We offer a Carers Emergency Plan, like a blueprint of how to care for the person you care for, should someone else have to take over at short notice. These are not stored centrally - the idea is you keep it somewhere at home that will be easy to find, e.g. on a noticeboard or inside a kitchen cupboard.
If you need either or both of these please phone us on 01858 468543.
How can I meet other carers?
Check our website here for details of carers groups in your area. Since the pandemic began all our carers groups have been taking place over Zoom, a very easy to use computer programme. We offer 7 daytime groups and 2 evening groups per month and you are free to attend whichever suits you best - i.e. just because you live in Melton doesn't mean you have to attend the Melton group if another is more convenient for you.
We will restart the face to face groups when safe to do so.
If you are unable to leave the person you care for you may like to consider having a Telephone Befriender so you have someone neutral to talk to outside of the family.
What are the benefits of having a Telephone Befriender?
A Telephone Befriender is a volunteer who will call you once a week or once a fortnight for an opportunity for a friendly chat or to ‘get it all off your chest’. The phone calls are confidential and the same befriender will call you each time so you get to know each other. Although the calls are made on the same day each time it is not a commitment to be at home. If you are not at home the befriender will just try you the following week. Carers who use the service say how nice it is to know someone is taking the time to really listen and show an interest in their lives.
How can I find out about respite care?
There are a number of ways that you can take a break from your caring role. Respite care can be provided through:
Residential respite – the person you care for is looked after by someone else for a while, either in residential or nursing care, or on holiday.
Domicillary care – someone comes into your home and takes over care for a while (for a few hours or sometimes overnight) so you can go out or have some time to yourself.
Day care – where the person you are looking after goes to a day centre or takes part in activities away from the home allowing you a break from caring.
Holidays - there are a number of organisations that provide opportunities for children with special needs or people with disabilities to go on holiday with the appropriate support provided.
Direct Payments – the local authority works out what services they think you may need following a community care assessment and instead of arranging the services directly, give you (or the person you care for) the money to buy the service directly from an appropriate agency or person. A direct payment can be used to pay for alternative care whilst the carer takes a break.
Vouchers – some local authorities provide vouchers which can be exchanged for services such as those offered by care agencies, or residential homes.
Other organisations providing respite care
Some voluntary organisations also provide respite services. Crossroads Care is a charity which has a network of local schemes providing respite in the home, using trained staff. Many Crossroads schemes do not charge although there is often a waiting list for their services.
A small number of the Carers' Centres that work in partnership with The Princess Royal Trust for Carers directly provide respite care. If they do not provide this service they can give you information and support about what is available locally.
What is a Carer’s Assessment?
A Carer's Assessment is an opportunity for you to tell a social worker what impact caring has on you - with a view to making sure you have enough help and support with your caring role. They are the responsibility of the local authority where the cared-for person lives.
A Carer’s Assessment is NOT about testing your ability to care. It’s a way of identifying how caring impacts on your life.
It helps to determine what support might be available to help you.
A Carer’s Assessment can be carried out even when the person cared for refuses help or an assessment for themselves.
If you're caring for an adult 18+ who lives in the county of Leicestershire, the Carer's Assessment can be done online here. Alternatively we can complete the form with you over the phone. Please phone us on 01858 468543 to make an appointment for a Carers Assessment.
Can I attend more than one Carers’ Support Group?
You can attend as many groups as you like. Groups have been organised in different locations around the County. Each group is different as some like the group to be informative with speakers and others just want to meet for a chat with like minded people. Many good friendships have been formed through attending carers' groups so do give them a try!
What can Support for Carers do for me?
The service aims to bring all the support services for carers under one roof to make it easier for you to find information, advice and support.
The service is for all carers in the county and it covers Charnwood, Blaby, Harborough, Hinckley and Bosworth, Melton, North West Leicestershire and Oadby and Wigston.
It's free and confidential and offers a wide range of help including a dedicated telephone advice line on 0845 689 9510 open Monday to Thursday from 9am to 5pm and on Fridays from 9am to 4.30pm. You're welcome to call and talk to our experienced team about any aspect of being a carer.
We also run a Telephone Befriending Service specifically for carers so you can talk, at a time to suit you, with someone who understands what it’s like to be a carer. Whether it’s a light-hearted chat or the chance to get it all off your chest we can provide the listening ear. To find out more call 0845 689 9510 or email [email protected]
We can help you set up your own local carers’ group too. Get in touch to find out how we can help.