CAN YOU AFFORD TO BE A FAMILY CARER?

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
I can only stress just how important it is that you secure your own accommodation in the event of anything happening to your caree. I have a friend who abandoned her rented home in London to move back in with her mother who had had a major stroke: she then had a terrible time when it looked as though the local authority was going to force her mother to sell the family home to pay for her ongoing care, which would have left my friend homeless.

Equally, I had to face some similar, very real, worries myself earlier this year: my caree and I had already decided to pool our resources, sell our homes (one at a time, to "ease the stress") and buy somewhere together. We'd sold my flat first, moved into hers, finally found a suitable house (she has certain requirements which mean that many houses aren't suitable) - and then the sale fell through. And then another. And in the meantime, house prices kept on rising, my money was sitting in an account not even making enough interest to keep up (my flat is now on sale again at more than twice the price I got for it - GRRR!!!) and we couldn't move. And then her condition suddenly went downhill, and I was faced with the prospect that she might have to go into residential care and self-fund by selling her flat, leaving me stranded, without enough money to be able to buy somewhere on my own. I took legal advice about possibly getting myself registered as a joint owner, or having a part interest in the property or something, and was told I couldn't do that because it would be regarded as deliberate deprivation of assets. So, with the best will in the world, I suddenly found myself in a potential real mess.
As I write, the situation has eased somewhat, and I'm hoping it won't be necessary anyway, but the prospect was very scary at the time.
Don’t you think the care system needs a overhaul as it’s outdated and doesn’t take into account if a person needs 24/7 Care. Why should someone have to care 24/7 and only be paid for 35 hrs. If you need help it’s complicated as Carers allowance only allows for one person to be cared for by one person at a time. But what if you need to go out who’s going to Care for the person then? You have to arrange for someone else to look after them. This is where family come in as they help out. But if they help out on a regular basis they are expected to do this voluntary or you pay them out of the little money you get. This should not be the case if someone needs more than one carer as they need 24/7 carer they should be allowed to Claim Carers allowance.
How much more would it cost the state if all the Carers said were only doing 35 hrs and the state had to fund Carers for the rest of the hours. Care firms already struggle to find Carers for the clients they have on their books as Carers are overworked and underpaid. Not only that but if you get Carers in you have to work to their timetable and they can’t be there all the time. Where family or a second carer are more flexible. More should be done if other family members are willing to help out as it shouldn’t be voluntary. Forcing one person to do 24/7 even the most caring of person needs a rest and as looking after someone else is stressful enough without any back up. If you need two people to look after someone family or not then it should be allowed.
All Carers should get onto their MPs to get the law changed so that Carers allowance can be paid to more than one person. Then maybe more family members would be willing to help out with the caring needs and it not being left to one person. But only in certain circumstances as it could be open to abuse which the rule of one claimant per person was put in to avoid.
I was of the understanding that depending on the type of claim (carers allowance or income support, or CA with IS topping it up) you were supposed to be automatically awarded either class 1 or class 3 NI stamps, did they change this?

Either way its a very good post by Bowlingbun and the sort of information that ought to be stickied because none of us do this for financial gain, but you do need money to live.. and theres no sugar coating of these realities here
CA and NI contributions ... full sp from the NHS Choices web site :
Being a carer can make a significant difference to your state or personal pension, especially if you have to give up work to care.

Your National Insurance (NI) number is the number used to keep track of your NI contributions and your entitlement to benefits.

Your NI record, kept by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HRMC), will determine your entitlement to many social security benefits.

These include:

State Pension
contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance
contribution-based Incapacity Benefit
contributory Employment and Support Allowance
bereavement benefits

To be entitled to one of these "contribution-based" benefits, you have to satisfy two contribution conditions (except for bereavement benefits).

The first contribution condition is that you have to have paid enough NI contributions in one or more past tax years (the tax year runs from April 6 to April 5 the following year).

The second contribution condition is that you have paid, are paying, or have been credited with enough NI contributions in the last two tax years before your claim for the benefit.

National Insurance contributions and credits

The NI record is built up from either actual contributions or contributions that are credited, or a combination of the two.

Contributions may be deductions from earnings while you are in paid employment. The deductions are made between the age of 16 and State Pension age if you earn more than a certain amount of money.

State Pension age is 65 for men. Between 2010 and 2020, the State Pension age for women will gradually rise from 60 to 65.

There are different classes of contribution depending on whether, for example, the contributions are made by the employee or employer, or by a person who is self-employed. Different classes of contribution give entitlement to different benefits.

In some circumstances you can be credited with earnings or "Class 1" contributions, which may help you satisfy the entitlement conditions for certain benefits.

If you are a carer receiving Carer's Allowance, you should be credited with Class 1 contributions for each week the benefit is paid. You may also be able to get credits if you're a carer but you're not eligible for Carer's Allowance – see Carer's Credit for more information.

You can also receive credits:

for each complete week you receive Jobseeker's Allowance or you are available for work and actively seeking work – even if you are not entitled to Jobseeker's Allowance, signing on at a Jobcentre Plus office will help protect your contributions record
for one or two complete tax years when you are on a course of full-time training, education or an apprenticeship
for each week you receive either Statutory Maternity Pay or Statutory Adoption Pay
for each week you receive the disability element or severe disability element of Working Tax Credit

( CARER'S CREDIT ... Government web site : https://www.gov.uk/carers-credit )


Carers: protecting your pension

One in five carers is forced to give up employment so they can look after someone, and this causes gaps in their pension record. As a result, many carers struggle to make ends meet when they reach retirement age. This means that if you're a carer, protecting your pensions can be an important issue.

To receive a state retirement pension, you must have:

paid enough NI contributions
been credited with enough NI contributions, or
a combination of the two

There are ways to ensure your pension is protected if you are a carer. These include NI credits or Carer's Credit. For example, for every week that Carer's Allowance is paid, you are credited with a NI contribution.

This helps people who are unable to work or have cut down their working hours as a result of caring. If you are not entitled to Carer's Allowance, you may be able to claim Carer's Credit instead.

You may also have a private or work pension, and may want to understand the range of pensions that exist and where to seek help if you're going to take a break from paying into a private or works pension.

Getting help with your pension

As a carer, your working years may be a combination of paid employment in full-time, part-time, well-paid or low-paid jobs.

There may be years when you haven't done any paid work or you've spent long periods in part-time or low-paid employment. You can still benefit from a private pension in addition to the State Pension.

There are many non-State Pension schemes on offer, and you may wish to consider them all before deciding whether you want to take out a personal or stakeholder pension. However, you can also get help making your decision from a financial adviser or specialist.


Heavy going ?

Nothing is ever simple ... in CarerLand.
When I checked with the NI office a few years ago, I found that my NI account had NOT been credited as it should have been. I urge everyone on long term CA to make sure their NI account has been properly credited.
State Retirement Pension Checker ... Government web site :


https://www.gov.uk/check-state-pension


National Insurance number at the ready.

Worth checking even if a private pension pays more now ... or is likely to after reaching state pension age.

.... as is my fate ... no " Brucie bonus " in sight !

Toggling between the two to achieve the best result ?

Best seek advice ... can be done ... case of paying out now against likely return in the medium / long term.

Plenty of financial vultures out there ... and a few advisors ?

Hopefully , no horrors will be revealed for any reader !
All useful stuff Chris, I owuld just add that although you may have claimed CA, if you are on a variable income, make sure you make a separate claim for Carers Credit to cover those in between periods.

I didn't want to wander off topic but with all those vultures out there , how do you go about finding a knowledgeable person to advise on pensions, who isn't go to rip you off ? What sort of things should you be looking out for in a financial adviser and if you don't have that much in the first place is it a waste of money?
Good question ... word of mouth may be the best but ... also happens to be that person's cousin ?

No easy answer ... worth exploring the media for any inhouse recommendations ( Beware the same problem ) and financial press for indications as to who they , themselves , seek out to provide answers to some of their articles.

Even then , things may NOT go according to plan.

An answer now maybe wrong tomorrow ... this month's budget ... what does hold for pensions ?

Definately a case of ... buyer beware !!!!!!
As I have dodgy health, I didn't want to tie up my money in a pension. At the moment it's with the NFU. We have the added advantage of knowing Sam, the man who runs the local office. I first got to know his mum when she was pregnant with Sam, and I was pregnant with my eldest. We were both rather large at the time!!

The NFU have a financial advisor and I'm very pleased with the return on my investment, especially given the current economic situation.
Do you need to be in that kind of business before they help you, or at least have a connection to farming? - Is that question as daft as asking if you need to be a widow to belong to Scottish Widows- sorry if it is!