Charity launches new online guide to carers’ rights as research reveals extent to which carers are missing out on vital support
This Carers Rights Day (Friday 20 November), the charity Carers UK is launching three new resources to help the UK’s 6.5 million unpaid carers get the support they are entitled to. Carers Rights Day is a national awareness day, organised by the charity, to inform carers of their rights, benefits and the services available to them.
The charity is launching the first online guide of its kind, Upfront (www.carersuk.org/upfront), which enables people who are starting their caring journey to navigate the confusing maze of information out there to get exactly what they need for their unique caring situation.
The charity is also publishing their annual Carers Rights Guide, which gives carers up-to-date information on their rights and signposts them to further support, and their Self-Advocacy Guide, which supports carers to speak up for their rights in the health and care systems.
This Carers Rights Day, Carers UK is calling on the public to connect anyone they know who looks after someone who is disabled, seriously-ill, or older to connect them to Carers UK to help them find out about what support is available to them and how they can get it.
Every year 2.1 million people take on a new caring role and 2.1 million find their caring role comes to an end. This carer turnover, alongside recent changes in legislation that have affected carers’ rights, means there is a constant need to reach new carers with up-to-date information and advice.
Having the right information at the right time can make a huge difference to carers; without this support, caring can take a serious toll on a person’s health, finances and wellbeing. Research1 by Carers UK of almost 5,000 carers in the UK found that half of those (50%) who provide 35 hours or more care a week have not had a Carer’s Assessment2 from their local authority. This is despite all carers who provide regular or substantial care being entitled to a Carer’s Assessment at the point the survey was carried out3.
What’s more, previous studies by the charity show that £1.1 billion of Carer’s Allowance (the main benefit for carers) goes unclaimed every year4 and a recent report from the Department for Work and Pensions found that 95% of carers who are entitled to Carer’s Credit, which provides National Insurance contributions for those who have taken time out from work to care, are not claiming it5.
Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:
“Important developments in the rights of carers mean it’s never been more important to make sure carers get the right information and advice about what they’re entitled to, when they need it. Helping carers to know their rights is at the heart of everything we do at Carers UK; we offer expert information and advice through our website and Adviceline, and connect carers to one another through our online forum to ensure that no-one has to care alone. So if you know someone who is caring for a loved one, connect them to Carers UK this Carers Rights Day.
“Every year, 2.1 million people begin caring for a disabled, older or seriously-ill loved one in the UK. Taking on a new caring role can happen quite suddenly and can turn many families’ lives upside down. It could be that a partner has a stroke, a parent has a fall, or a child is born with a disability. When people take on a new caring role, they worryingly tell us that it can be really difficult to get the help and advice they need. Without this support, caring can take a serious toll on a person’s health, finances and wellbeing.
“That’s why we’ve created Upfront – the first online guide of its kind to give tailored financial and practical information to those who are new to caring. We are also publishing our annual Carers Rights Guide to make sure carers are informed about any changes to their rights and know where to go to get the support they need. This Carers Rights Day, you can make a positive difference to the life of a carer by connecting them to Carers UK.”
Hundreds of events are taking place in communities throughout the UK today to help carers find out more about their rights.
Find out more about how Carers UK can help you:
- Carers UK’s new online guide to caring, Upfront, can be accessed here: www.carersuk.org/upfront
- Carers UK’s Carers Rights Guide can be downloaded from today at www.carersuk.org/carersrightsguide. Four versions of the guide are available for carers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. You can order a free print copy of the guide by calling Carers UK’s Adviceline on 0808 808 7777 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- You can contact the Carers UK Adviceline on 0808 808 7777 or email@example.com (Mon-Fri, 10am-4pm)