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New Member, Phill - Carers UK Forum

New Member, Phill

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
Hello everyone, my name is Phill and I have just joined 'Carers UK'. I have been caring for my mum for the last 18 months. Mum was diagnosed with Dementia back in January 2016. During that time I have had to reduce work hours, eventually leading to my giving up work altogether to care for my mum full-time, as her needs and dependency on me have increased. Mum also has physical conditions to cope with, including rheumatoid arthritis and polymyalgia rheumatica, which often leave her bed-ridden for several days. Recently I arranged for a carer to come in twice a week to help mum take a shower, other than that it's just the two of us......and our dog Barney!
Since becoming a carer, I have found the level of support I get from the local authorities to be non-existent. All the help and advice I've had up to now, has come through social media. I've been lucky enough to connect with a few people on 'Twitter' in a similar position to me, which has been invaluable. Only through them did I become aware that mum shouldn't even be paying Council Tax, due to her condition. After applying for exemption, we've had to wait weeks, to be told that mum will only get a 25% reduction. When I asked the district council why mum wasn't getting a full exemption, they said it was because I live with her. I said that seemed very unfair as I only receive £62.70 a week income, and they told me to apply for a 2nd adult rebate. Yet having looked at the help and advice section on the website here, it suggests that as a carer I shouldn't even be regarded as a 2nd adult! :? all very confusing.
Anyway, that's the current situation and I'm now going to phone the helpline here to see if there's anything I can do regarding the council's decision.
Regards, Phill
No answer on the phone, so I'll try again tomorrow.
Hello Phill and welcome to the forum :)

If you can't get through to the helpline on the phone (the lines are often oversubscribed) then please do email them, they'll usually get back to you within 3-5 working days.

As a carer you should also be entitled to a disregard re council tax - one of our members used to work in the council tax office of her local authority and she confirms
the full exemption is only for properties wholey occupied by SMI.
In Karen's case there will be entitlement to a Double disregard (25% each) so the person element of CTAX will not be liable but there remains the 50% property element to pay.
Hi Phil
Welcome to CUK, yes that is right if the property were whole occupied by people regarded as SMI (assuming that is why mum has discount?) but if another adult is also present then she only gets a 25% disregard for her personal element of the tax, however , as a full time carer you can also claim your personal 25% discount assuming you meet the criteria for the carer discount and then the household will only be liable for the property element of CTAX which is 50%.
Sorry you have not had good support locally but I am sure there is a lot of info on here that will assist so have a browse through and feel free to join in any topics.
Hi Phil, welcome to the forum. When did mum last have a Needs Assessment (should be updated at least annually) and when was your Carers Assessment last updated? Do you have copies - if not ring up and ask for them. Is mum now on the highest rate of Attendance Allowance?
Be sure to email the helpline, they made me £50 a week better off, so I'm happy to sing their praises, but cannot guarantee you will get the same result, but you might even get more!
Mum's exemption for CT can be applied retrospectively right back to first diagnosis, according to something I read recently, so did you get a nice refund cheque?!
Sorry posts crossed
Phil, I'm sorry to hear you had to give up your job to be your mum's full time carer. And it sounds like you lost your own home, as well (rented?)(or, hopefully, you own it but don't live in it?)

I know, very understandably, your first thoughts are for your mum, but do please also think 'ahead'. There will, whenever it is to be, come a time when you are 'back on your own' again, after your mum's death.

What will be your financial situation then?

For example, are you expecting to inherit her flat/house (unless she rents too - in which case, do you have tenancy that won't make you homeless when she dies)!

Have you made enough NI contributions to ensure you will be eligible for your own pension when the time comes? It's essential that you are.

The double whammy of caring is, all too damn often, that not only does a carer who gives up their paid work (for the 24x7 that caring so often becomes -and NO four weeks paid leave either!)(and forget about bank holidays!), have a drastically lower standard of living as a carer on CA, but when their care is no longer needed, they can STILL be financially devasted - sometimes even worse!

Hard though it is to think ahead, please do so, and plan accordingly. As you've bitterly found out, SS etc don't give a damn, and their sole priority is to save money.
Phill - do have a look at the Alzheimer's Society website as well - they have a great forum called Talking Point with some very knowledgeable and supportive members. Someone there usually knows the answer to most questions or queries raised! I too look after my mum with dementia. It's very hard, but that forum has been a life saver for me.
Many thanks to all that have replied to my message, and I have taken on board all your helpful suggestions. I would reply individually, but I can't see how to do that! ....still finding my way around :)