According to the Carers’ Trust there are almost seven million carers in the UK – that is on in ten people looking after and caring for a loved one, relative, friend of neighbour.
As a carer you have specific legal rights and entitlements. Being aware of these can ensure you get the support you need. These include:
• the right to have your needs assessed by the local authority
• the right to receive direct payments so that you can chose a provider for any support services you may need
• rights in the workplace
The NHS has lots of useful information about these rights and can be found online at:
Carers and End of Life Issues
Caring for someone with an asbestos related terminal illness and ensuring their affairs are dealt with in accordance with their wishes can be an extremely difficult and emotional experience. You may not know where to start looking for information and advice to get a plan in place. The following information may be of help to you.
1. Make arrangements to help with finances
At some point in the future you may need to help the person you care for with their finances. This may be because they need some assistance or because they can no longer cope with money matters themselves. A Lasting Power of Attorney LPA is an essential document to have in place. It is a legal document which allows a person to appoint someone they trust to help them mange their financial affairs. Without one it is virtually impossible for a carer to help with this side of things and so it is far less stressful for everyone if this is planned in advance.
Consider a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare. This can only be used if the person you care for can no longer make decisions themselves. This legal document allows you to become involved in the decision making about things like where the person lives, what care they receive and what medication they have.
The most important thing about an LPA is to put one in place for when it may be needed. Don’t leave it too late as it is much more difficult to do.
2. Make sure you are getting all the financial help you are entitled to
If you are caring for someone for more than 35 hours a week, who receives a qualifying disablement benefit, and you do not work (or earn less than £100 per week) you may be entitled to receive Carer’s Allowance.
Carer’s Assessment – you are legally entitled to an assessment of your needs. This allows you to tell social services about the impact being a carer has on you and what could make it easier.
Protect your state pension – you could receive Carer’s Credit if you are caring for someone more than 20 hours a week. It is a National Insurance credit to build up your entitlement to State Pension. Read more on www.gov.uk
If the person you care for is aged over 65, check to see whether they can claim Attendance Allowance. This is to help with personal care.
3. Look after yourself!
Help is out there – it is a demanding task to look after someone. It is even more difficult if you develop health problems as a result. Ensure you take a break. Ask for help. There are specialist organisations throughout the UK to support those who care for a spouse, relative, friend or neighbour. There is a network of Carers’ Centres across the UK.
If you are caring for someone with an asbestos related terminal illness, we can help you put a plan in place to ensure you can continue to deal with their affairs in accordance with their wishes. If appropriate, we are happy to speak to your employers and inform them of your position. We often provide employment advice to carers who are absent from work and worried about their jobs.
Please don’t put off speaking to us because you simply don’t know where to start or have no idea what questions to ask. Please contact Steven Evans on 0800 294 3065 to discuss how we can help you and your family.