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Time to Quit Work - Carers UK Forum

Time to Quit Work

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
I've been a full time carer for my wife for over a decade. In that time I've run an internet business which has gradually diminished. Now, to make ends meet, I struggle and scrape performing local PC repairs. It's demeaning and risky, as occasionally I have to offer warranties that put our financial situation at risk, etc.

I have just been to my Universal Credit self employed meeting and during it the gentleman mentioned that "I did not need to work". I cannot describe the sense of excitement and relief I felt. However, now that I am waiting for my first UC payment (and everything else to sort itself out) I am now wondering what will happen if I actually do quit. I am not getting paid UC until, my journal says, another 29 days. Before then, over £600 in bills will be due. Can I defer paying my council rent, council tax and etc until I am in receipt of my first UC payment?

I am going to meet with the CAB soon to find out where I stand. I feel like quitting work now (we have a little savings) as when I work out my benefits with Turn2Us website it seems I am worse off working!!

Can someone please give me a bit of support and advice? I'm excited and scared all at once.

warm regards

Richard
I had a unique High Street business - working as a genealogist in a shop. No one else did it like I did - other genealogists worked from home or offices. I never needed to advertise and the work just flowed in. I had a fortnightly one and a half hour slot on BBC local radio and everything looked great.

This time last year my partner became extremely ill and almost died. He came out of hospital 6 weeks later after surgery but also minus is memory. A previously suspected dementia had kicked in big time.

I closed my shop at 2 days notice to care for him. It devastated my self esteem and self worth.

I have spent the last 12 months concluding ongoing projects and becoming one of those genealogists who work from home, whom I had previously scorned!

My point being, over the last weeks I have realised work is still coming in, I am still getting queries and projects even though I do not advertise, and my shop has been closed almost a year. By recommendation I think

I feel my self esteem coming back and my identity - you might consider this - if you give up work completely, and maybe are a little better off financially, you might become submerged in caring for your wife and lose yourself in the process. You might find it easier to stay in the house ( as I did) rather than getting out and about and meeting people.

Could you give up working and go on to Universal Credit, but use your skills in a voluntary way? Maybe helping other carers with their PC problems, or local groups or something like that?

Worth a thought... but Good Luck whatever you decide.

Mary
Mary,
Thanks so much for answering!

I am a budding author and will write full time when I quit. I also write software for blind and disabled persons and will make these products 100% free when I am certain I can manage.

The main worry I have now is knowing if I can actually afford it. We are in council house, have a mobility car and a few savings. But savings will run out fast if no cash coming in. But I AM a full time carer for my wife and the UC guy did say I could quit.

I am totally sick of computers and would not work with them in an involuntary way, though my software will give back a little I guess.

Getting out and meeting people is something I need to think about. It does not come to me naturally and I will probably not do this once I quit work. Thanks for giving me some amazing and useful feedback.

edit: Sorry, I should add that you have really made me think about the social / shut-in aspect of what I am considering. In the past (decades ago) I shut myself off and found it difficult to re-integrate. I am going to consider this carefully.

Also, I commend your decision to care for your partner. I have been a full time carer for a long time, but have juggled everything and not managed too well. Now, my partner and family will come first.

warm regards

Richard
Carers UK has a brilliant helpline who can talk you through the Benefits Maze. However, as your wife has a Motability car she Is obviously receiving disability benefits, and you would qualify for Carers Allowance if not working. If you get ESA you cannot be required to look for work. HOWEVER some benefits interact with others, so it's vital you get in touch with the helpline. Email them and they will get back to you. Although the helpline is only open for limited times, the staff are working on their replies for a lot longer, usually within a week.
Have you clicked on "Quick Links" top left, next to the CUK logo? Lots of information is available here. Our website had a meltdown last year and it's still not quite right, so it's easy to miss the current Quick Links.
When did your wife last have a Needs Assessment from Social Services? Has she been offered carers or Direct Payments? If over a year ago, be sure to ask for a new one.
Quite a lot of folk, apparently, seem to go on 'earning' even when on benefits, courtesy of cash payments.

Just saying.....

However, this is, of course, a risky business in itself.

With CA, however, you ARE allowed to earn a certain amount quite legally (just as well as you can't live on CA!)(too low!), and there are legitimate expenses you can deduct to keep your earnings below the threshold (eg, paying into a pension and so on)

I can see why you would want to be 'free' of the 'obligation' to work, but work does more than provide money - it provides, as has been pointed out, a degree of self-esteem. Caring, even for someone we are devoted to, can become very 'low status' (I know this is a 'worldly' point of view, but it exists all the same).

Also, keeping your hand in, professionally, could be useful against any future need for actually HAVING to take up paid work again.

Writing is 'great fun' and obviously if it's something you've been waiting to have the time to do all your life, go for it - but don't expect to make any money from it!!!!!!! (probably....!)

Most writers start out writing in their spare time, and that is actually good for them, ie, for their writing, not just financially sensible. 'Writing' in itself is not really a 'full-time' occupation, no 'art' is, in my opinion, as it takes away the subjects one actually writes about/paints, etc etc. Keeping engaged with the 'real world' makes one a better writer/artist. (That's my opinion, anyway!)
Another VERY real consideration is the need to keep up with NI contributions, in order to qualify for your OAP pension eventually! This is NOT something to be jeopardised! Do check this very carefully before making any decision. You can phone the OAP Forecasting unit and they are very, very helpful (I'm going through this at the moment, so I know how vital it is to keep the NI up to date!). I can find the number for you if you want. They were amazingly helpful!!!!!!! (Surprisingly so, given the reputation most gov. departments have!)
I've been caring for my wife for a long time. I became self employed in about 2001, but that was really because I needed to stay at home most of the time. I haven't made pension contributions or saved any significant amount of money. My work is becoming more difficult and customers more demanding. I feel stretched and I would like to be able to quit before I collapse.

I was told during my UC meeting that I didn't need to work at all. I am ready to do that. It's Saturday, I know, but on Monday I intend to call the CAB, CarersUK helpline and see where I stand. I just want to know if we will be able to pay the bills.

The only reason I went to UC meeting was that I got sick in December and could not work at all. So we have no money to pay the bills.

warm regards

Richard
If you are a carer in receipt of CA you get automatic NI credits towards the pension. If not, then you can still claim Carers Credits - not sure I have the name right - so you still have credits awarded. The helpline can give you more information.