Information and Support Information and Support

It is important to be as informed as possible when within a caring role to make sure that you are accessing all support and benefits available to you as a carer.  These provisions have been put in place as they are necessary and vital for you to be able to function within your caring role, so make sure you are getting what you are entitled to.  This page covers the following:

Staying Healthy

Looking after your health is so important when you are a carer, not just for yourself but also to make sure you are able to continue caring for as long as you choose to.  In the busy day to day activities it’s important you look after yourself, taking any medication you may need, and having some regular respite where possible to allow you to look after your own needs, as a person, not just a carer. 

It’s important to eat well and exercise in some way when you can, we have some group walks within our support groups that can help you with this.  Another good resource is West Sussex Wellbeing a website with lots of information from healthy eating to exercise groups, including Beginners walk groups and seated exercise groups.

You may also be entitled to a free flu jab and visits from the district nurse team and health checks for yourself, to access this help talk to your GP.  You may also wish to be able to discuss the medication or treatment of the person you are looking after.  Your GP can also help you access support that may be available to you. 

Your own wellbeing is also extremely important.  We run sessions throughout West Sussex as part of our Carer Learning & Wellbeing programme.  These sessions cover practical things such as Back Care, Everyday First Aid, Will and Power of Attorney, Employment and Volunteering, Managing Medication and Continence Care and Communicating with Confidence as well as sessions to help you as a carer with your own wellbeing, such as Living with Guilt, Healthy Relationships, Relaxation Techniques and Art Therapy. 

A full programme is available on the right hand panel to download.  For more information and booking instructions visit the listing on our events page here or contact us for more details.

Your rights as a carer

As a carer you are entitled to a full Carers Assessment, this is an assessment of your needs, and a good way of accessing any support or equipment that would help you in your caring role.  For more information about Carers Assessments click here.  Carers Support West Sussex can offer Carers Assessments so just get in contact if you’d like to request one.  In addition the person you care for may be entitled to a Community Care Assessment.  To find out more you can contact visit West Sussex County Council.

If you are continuing to work whilst caring for someone it is important to know your rights at work as a carer.  If you feel your employer will be supportive tell people at work you’re a carer.  There may be extra support available to you and you may find colleagues in a similar situation.  ACAS is an organisation that can offer free employment advice.

Keeping Up To Date

Keeping up to date with your rights as a carer and changes in systems can be hard work, but you can sign up for our free Newsletter full of helpful information, if you would like to sign up for this, click on the Register icon at the top[ of the page.  You can also check our News section on our website.

Finances

Carers often find their finances are put under great strain.  A rise in household bills or additional costs of transport, equipment and care services can also come at a time when carers have reduced their working hours or stopped work to care full-time, here is some information about Finances that may be able to help you. 

Firstly make sure both you and the person you’re caring for are receiving all the financial help you’re entitled to.  What you could be entitled to will depend on your own personal circumstances and those of the person you care for.  People who can help you are:

·         Carers UK Advice Line

·         Age UK Money Advice Service

·         Contact your local Citizen Advice Bureau

Carers Credit - Maximise Your State Pension

Thousands of people with caring responsibilities are failing to claim credits which could boost their pension by hundreds of pounds a year.  Just one in 20 of those eligible is estimated to have signed to receive Carer’s Credit which fills gaps in their National Insurance contribution, only 11,000 people are claiming the credit but about 200,000 are thought to be eligible.  Pensions minister Baroness Altmann is calling on carers to check they are signed up and urges others to spread the word.

Who Is It For?

The credit is designed for those who are caring for others for 20 hours or more per week and do not qualify for Carer’s Allowance.  If you are receiving Carers Allowance, Carers Credits are paid automatically.  It helps carers to continue to build the amount of state pension they will receive, so they can protect their future pension while carrying out their caring responsibilities.

Why Apply?

If carers are not working full-time, these credits can fill gaps in their National Insurance record – helping to bolster the amount of state pension they will receive.

  • It is straightforward to apply and doesn’t cost anything.
  • There is nothing to lose by signing up and money to gain for the future.

·         Apply for Carer’s Credit

·         View original article

Debt and Borrowing

If you are experiencing any problems with debt and borrowing, here are some organisations that may be able to help.

West Sussex Credit Union

A not for profit organisation aiming to reduce financial exclusion within the county.  Supported by West Sussex County Council.  Offering ethical loans to those who would not get them elsewhere or who would be forced into the hands of the very high cost lenders, and by encouraging saving.

  • Free membership-open to all who work or live in the county, and a member does not need to have saved with them prior to applying for a loan.
  • Always considering affordability before agreeing a loan. Will not offer a loan that will worsen the member's position.
  • Fully regulated by the relevant government agencies, and members savings are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Examples of loan types:

  • Loans up to around £1,500, often to cover short term issues/emergencies.
  • Loans up to £10K for personal use. E.G, home improvement, car maintenance/replacement, white goods etc.
  • Loans up to £10K for consolidation of other high cost loans.

Savings Schemes

A number of savings schemes, ranging from members who save a few pounds a week, to Xmas savers, to ethical savers who can deposit up to £25K in order to provide loan capital to help those in need.

Save as You Earn schemes (payroll deduction into a savings account) with all the local authorities, parts of the NHS and some private sector organisations.

The Money Advice Service

Free & impartial money advice, set up by government offering:

  • Advice and guides to help improve your finances
  • Tools and calculators to help you keep track and plan ahead
  • Support in person, over the phone and online

Debt and borrowing advice includes:

  • Before you borrow
  • Taking control of debt
  • Mortgage and rent problems
  • Help with loans
  • Credit cards and credit ratings

National Debtline

A free, independent and confidential debt advice service run by the charity Money Advice Trust.

On this site you’ll find all you need to get started including guides, fact sheets, budget tools, sample letters to help you write to your creditors, and an option to email your questions.

You can also reach them by phone and their experts will talk you through your options and give you clear advice on how to move forward.