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Income Troubles - Carers UK Forum

Income Troubles

All about money
Hi everyone. I am new to the forum but have been a carer for 15 years (I didn't realise how long it had been until writing it down just now!)

I have been working part time for the past 2-3 years with an employer who is supportive, flexible and lets me work from home/hospital when required. Unfortunately they have had a lot of trouble with sales staff and have fallen on difficult times. The knock on effect being that wages for the rest of us haven't been forthcoming and won't be until things can turn around. I am coming towards the end of my 5th month now and it is really taking it's toll.

So I had a look at the various options.

1. Find another job - It took a very long time to find an employer willing to hire me knowing that we spend a minimum of 8 weeks per year in hospital as well as time off for various appointments and likely but unplanned bouts of illness. I read that you are entitled to take time off as a carer, without pay, but I suppose I have gotten used to having an employer willing to pay during that time off (excluding current circumstances of course). I also enjoy the work that I do and fear any jobs out there willing to take me are going to be remedial.

2. Self-Employment - I did try this in the past and not all that successfully. I am not a natural sales person and have had bad luck with those that are. I have also found that when you have restrictions on your income which in turn affects how much you can charge for jobs it has a knock on effect. E.g. the less you charge the more demanding the customer seems to be. Maybe I have just been unlucky in that regard as well, but overall self employment seemed to pay pittance but demand lots of time.

3. I checked the benefit route to see what help is available. I recently applied for Income Support with little solid advice from anywhere. I learned that because I have a mortgage to pay, I would actually be worse off on Income Support than in the situation I am facing with my employer at present. At least that would be the case for the first 36 weeks, I believe, until I become eligible for help towards the interest on the mortgage. Which I then learned would be paid as a loan.

I read an article recently that included a quote from a Tory peer related to the upcoming change to mortgage support payments: "It is right that taxpayers, many of whom are unable to afford their own home, will no longer be asked to subsidise claimants in the accrual of a significant asset." Maybe I am biased but I take that to imply that despite the fact that I have been working for most of my adult life and that I take pressure off 'the system' by caring as well, I should not be entitled to own my home if I leave employment for genuine reasons despite not making the conscious choice to live this way. Instead I should give up my home and claim help towards the accrual of an asset for a landlord instead?

Needless to say I have reversed the Income Support decision and carried on working with my employer for the time being. But I don't know how long it can last. I have already come up short for my son's birthday and the same is now about to happen for Christmas too. He understands but I hate knowing that we have to live like this because of something beyond our control and the 'rules' imposed upon us.

I am actually rather talented and if I was able to play the rat race I imagine I could climb the ladder and earn a good living, but the cost of that would be my son's health.

So I am left wondering what I should do. Although I guess more so than that I just needed somewhere to write it all down so I can just get on with it.

Thanks for reading!
I suggest that you contact the Carers UK Adviceline team as they are the experts on all matters related to caring and benefits. They will be able to give you confidential advice tailored to your individual circumstances.
Need expert advice? You can talk to the Carers UK Adviceline five days a week, no matter where you are in the UK or how complex your query is. We do benefits checks and advise on financial and practical matters related to caring.

Freephone: 0808 808 7777
email: advice@carersuk.org

Carers UK’s advice and information team based in London is undergoing staff changes. This means the Adviceline is closed Wednesday to Friday whilst we recruit and train new members of staff. We will be taking calls on Monday and Tuesday between 10am and 4pm. You can email or write to the Adviceline and we aim to respond to your enquiries within seven working days.

You can also get hold of useful advice, information and support online.
• Visit our Help and Advice sections of our website (www.carersuk.org), we have loads of information and downloadable factsheets on the topics people ask us about most.
• New to caring? Our Upfront guide will take you straight to the information you need to know. It takes only a few minutes to complete.
• And our volunteer-led Listening Support service will continue to take calls on Monday and Tuesday, 10am to 4pm.

We aim to return to our five-day a week service by 2nd January 2018.
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The Carers UK Adviceline also includes a listening service, there for you to talk through your caring situation with a trained volunteer who understands what you are going through. Available Mondays and Tuesdays, from 10am to 4pm.
If you can’t get through on the phones (lines are often oversubscribed) then send them an email, they’ll usually get back to you within 3-5 working days.
Definitely get in touch with the help line.
As the age of retirement goes up, it's so important to hang onto your job if you possibly can. Think about what you need to make this possible.
If you could tell us a bit more about your son, age, illness, etc. it might help us give better advice.