Currently, we're living through a cost-of-living crisis in the UK as unprecedented pressures continue to rise and force thousands of people in Gateshead to make very tough decisions about what and when they eat, what they are capable of, and when they can afford to heat their homes.

In particular, unpaid carers are facing unparalleled financial difficulties because of the UK's current cost of living crisis. This is piling more stress on those caring for family and friends, especially after an extremely challenging two years of caring through the Covid-19 pandemic.

We have created a hub of information for unpaid carers living in Gateshead on what support is available throughout the borough.

Remember, we're here to listen and offer advice and support to anyone providing unpaid care to someone in Gateshead.

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Financial Support for Carers

Benefits for Unpaid Carers

It is essential for carers to know what benefits and pots of money are available to help ease the pressures of caring for a family member or friend. Please remember that not all applications for benefits or grants will be successful.

Carer's Allowance

This is the main benefit for people with an unpaid caring role. The government-funded benefit is available for people providing over 35 hours of unpaid care per week who earn below £132 per week. Currently, Carer's Allowance gives caregivers £69.70 per week. Claiming Carer's Allowance may affect other benefits that you claim, including Universal Credit.

Read more about Carer's Allowance on the Gov.uk website >>

Carer's Credit

Carers who do not qualify for Carer's Allowance may qualify for Carer's Credit. If you are receiving Carer's Allowance, you will automatically receive the benefits of Carer's Credit.

Carer's Credit is a class three National Insurance credit that unpaid carers can apply for if they are caring for someone for 20-35 hours per week. Carer's Credit is not a payment but rather credits to help fill gaps in your National Insurance record.

Read more about Carer's Credit on the Gov.uk website >>

Universal Credit - Carer's Element

Carer's Element is an additional element of Universal Credit. You can get this element of £168.81 per month if you provide care for at least 35 hours per week for someone who receives disability benefits such as Attendance Allowance or the high/middle rate care component of Disability Living Allowance.

Read more about Carer's Element on the Turn2Us website >>

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

If you have a long-term illness or disability - physical and/or mental, aged from 16 to below your state pension age, and currently do not claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA), then you may be entitled to Personal Independence Payment (PIP). 

Read more about PIP for carers on Carer UK's website >>

Attendance Allowance

Attendance Allowance is a benefit that helps with the extra costs of living with a long-term illness or disability - this can be either physical and/or mental. It is for people who have reached the State Pension age. If you are a carer who also needs help looking after yourself because of a disability or long-term illness, you can claim Attendance Allowance for yourself. This will not reduce other benefits, it may even increase them.

Read more about Attendance Allowance for carers on Carers UK's website >>


Grants for Unpaid Carers

We regularly help people apply for grants for a range of items and short breaks. Here are some of the grants which we can help you apply for.

Carer Wellbeing Fund - Gateshead Carers

We offer a grant of up to £200 to anyone providing over 15 hours of unpaid care to someone living in Gateshead. Our grant gives carers a chance to have something for themselves and improve their wellbeing. 

Read more about the Carer Wellbeing Fund >>

Carers Trust Grant

As a network partner of the Carers Trust, we can apply for a Carers Trust Grant for up to £300. This money can be used for a short break from your caring role, items for the home, training, driving lessons, and much more. To access this grant, please mention it when speaking with one of our Carer Wellbeing Facilitators.

Access our support services >>

Other grants we can help you apply for

There are lots of grants available for carers, each has its own eligibility criteria and range in value. When you work with us, our Carer Wellbeing Facilitators can help you find grants that work best for you and your caring situation. Some of these grants include The Family Fund, Greggs Foundation grant, and The Sunshine Fund. Most of these require more in-depth information and can only be applied for with the support of an organisation/professional working with the applicant.

Read more about the Family Fund >>

Read more about the Greggs Foundation grant >>

Read more about The Sunshine Fund >>


Energy Bills

With energy prices at an all-time high, unpaid carers are feeling even more stressed as they try to keep the person they care for warm, fed, and comfortable.

WaterSure

If you use a lot of water for either medical reasons or because you have three or more children (under 19 years old) who are in full-time education, you may be eligible for a discount on your water bill. You also need to be on a water meter or be waiting to have one installed.

Read more about WaterSure on the Citizen's Advice website >>

Help with High Energy Bills

Consider registering as a 'vulnerable' or 'priority customer' with your utility company. Each company has a similar scheme to register and help customers who live with health conditions or are vulnerable due to age, infirmity, or particular circumstances. The only way to access their schemes is to contact your energy provider directly. Please note that this may not always lead to a discount on your tariff automatically but it is a gateway for them to support you in a variety of other ways too - including giving your home priority to receive power if there is a widespread power cut.

Read more about getting help from your energy supplier on the Ofgem website >>

Read more from Carers UK on receiving help with fuel costs >>

Tips and Advice on saving energy

The Energy Saving Trust offer a range of tips to save energy. We understand that due to caring situations, some of the tips listed here may not be possible for caregivers.

Read the top 10 quick tips to save energy from the Energy Saving Trust website >>


Carers Council Tax discount

Unpaid carers in Gateshead may be eligible to get a discount on their council tax of up to 50% depending on their circumstances.

Gateshead Council offers a discount to any unpaid carer who is;

  • providing care for a person entitled to certain state benefits.
  • living in the same property as the person receiving care
  • currently provides at least 35 hours of unpaid care per week
  • not the spouse/partner of the person receiving care
  • not the parent of the person they care for if that person is under 18 years old

Read more about Gateshead council tax reductions for carers on their website >>

If the person you are caring for is severely mentally impaired, they are classed as 'disregarded' from council tax and therefore excluded from paying it.

Read more about severely mentally impaired council tax discounts >>


Food

Gateshead offers a range of food banks and pay-as-you-feel food markets to support residents in need. Some food banks, including Gateshead Foodbank, require a referral.

Food Banks in Gateshead

Read Gateshead Council's list of food banks >>

Pay-as-you-feel Food Markets


Warm Spaces

A new initiative by Gateshead Council and the local community gives all Gateshead residents access to warm and safe spaces. With energy bills, food prices, and fuel cost significantly increasing, the majority of families in Gateshead will not receive enough support from the government. 

What is a Warm Space?

A Warm Space offers people in Gateshead with somewhere to go, stay warm, and be treated with respect and dignity.

Where are the Warm Spaces near me?

Gateshead Council has put together a directory of Warm Spaces on their website.

Read more about Warm Spaces on Gateshead Council's website >> 


Please consider donating if you can so that we can continue to offer more advice, information, and support to unpaid carers across Gateshead.

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