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New Here - Carers UK Forum

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This is my first post. I live in South Dorset and I care for my 88 year old father, who has mobility & eyesight problems. He lives on his own in a close-care apartment, which means there are staff on call 24 hours a day, but if he needs care from them he has to pay as you would from an outside agency.

I (& my husband) are his main carers and I spend about 10 hours a week caring for him. I'm 62, and a housewife, so not in receipt of my retirement pension yet. The main things I do for my dad is shopping and cleaning, taking him to & from medical appointments, including hospital, doctors, diabetic appointments, dentist & optician, as & when required. I have to help him with all correspondence and making official telephone calls, and act as nursemaid when he is ill which is quite often as he has urinary tract problems which cause frequent infections.

My question is this. I am in the process of applying for Attendance Allowance, and I would like to know what my chances are of getting this please? I am worried that we will be turned down and he thinks so to as he is of the generation that always worked hard & is never entitled to benefits. I've just sent off for a form today.
Hi Helen, welcome to the forum, I'm in the New Forest. My parents and my husband's parents have now passed away, but we had 15 years of full on caring, as they were all entitled to highest DLA/Attendance Allowance, but one was too stubborn to claim.

Your dad is very lucky to have such a lot of care available 24/7, but it sounds like he is avoiding using the care available because he wants you instead? This is a huge problem for many of us. Dad probably still thinks of you as a young woman, although you are over 60.

I'm sure he will be eligible for Attendance Allowance, which means that you should also be entitled to Carers Allowance until such time as you claim your pension.

Has dad had a recent Needs Assessment from Social Services? When did you last have a Carers Assessment? Both should be updated annually, or more often if needs increase significantly.

Does dad have over £23,000? Around this figure, Social Services will expect him to pay for all his care, below that, they will pay some, or all, of his care costs.

Two of our parents spent their last year in residential care, their needs were simply too high to be met any other way. Many feel guilty if this happens, but here on the forum we try to turn any "guilt" around, so it is "sadness". After all, we are not responsible for our parents increasing age or infirmity.
Hello Helen and welcome to the forum.

Firstly Attendance Allowance is claimed by, and paid to, your Father to allow him to 'purchase' additional help; the money can be spent on virtually anything from a cleaner, gardener, window cleaner to paid Care Assistants. If he wants to, he can pay some to you for the care that you provide.

As you are not yet in receipt of your State Pension, and providing that your Father is in receipt of one or other qualifying benefits and you meet other eligibility criteria you can claim Carers Allowance for yourself.

Read or download these factsheets from our Adviceline
http://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice ... -allowance
http://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice ... -allowance
Tell him that if he is happy to use the NHS, and take his state pension, then there is no reason not to be happy to get 'old age extras' such as Attendence Allowance. AA is as much 'pre-paid' in our taxes and national insurance as using the NHS and getting our state pension is 'pre-paid' in our taxes and NI.....
Thank you for your replies. In answer to some of your questions, dad has never had an assessment of his needs and he does have more than £23,000. He did have someone from the falls team visit him about two years ago and he was provided with a wheeled walking aid for outdoors & wheeled trolley tray for indoors.

Caring for him has gradually crept up on me since 2010 when I started doing his cleaning after my mum died. As he's got frailer & each year seems to bring more difficulties for him I've been doing more & more until I realised he wouldn't be able to manage without my help. If he had to pay someone else to do all that I do for him it would probably cost over £100 a week.

I will just have to wait until I get the form and see what the response is.
Helen, from what you say, he is very close to needing residential care, which costs between £700 and £1200 a week, so it is false economy for him to not use his money to pay for care which will keep him comfortable at home. It is also unfair of him to expect you to care for him without any recompense.
It is perfectly in order for him to pay you to care for him, gradually reducing the amount of capital he has, until he gets below this magic figure of about £23,000. The exact figure can vary slightly between authorities, which is why I'm being deliberately vague.
If dad has between £23,000 and £30,000, be sure to encourage him to spend a little on care, new carpets, a few special treats etc. He can't give you a lump sum, because that counts as "deprivation of capital".
Do you have any brothers and sisters?
Hello Helen
For the next 2 weeks keep an accurate time log of anything you do for Dad or on his behalf. It sounds a lot more than 10 hours a week to me. The hours for Carers allowance don't have to be actually with him.

Hi Helen
Anyone can give a 'gift' of three thousand pounds every year, without tax implications, providing they can afford it without depriving themselves of normal living expenses. Plus 'gifts' of £250.00 to a number of people, plus usual birthday, Christmas and 'special' presents. (Wedding etc). You can count back a couple of years too, (not sure how many exactly), so Dad could give you £6,000.00 before April for the last two years. Explained by .gov if you google it. If you felt that you can't put such a gift through your own account you could open a special savings account in your name, which you dedicate in your mind as 'for dad' if he needs it.
I believe you need 35 hours a week to claim CA but as has been said, you can count time spent shopping or doing anything else on Dad's behalf.