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Are YOU missing out on benefits?

MANY carers are not getting money they are entitled to despite going without food to make ends meet, a shock new survey shows.

Although almost half of people who care for a relative or friend were not claiming Carer’s Allowance, nearly a third of those surveyed said they were regularly skipping meals, according to the poll.

“Almost a quarter of those questioned do not receive any benefits at all,” said a spokesman for Turn2us, part of the national charity Elizabeth Finn Care, who carried out the survey.”

Turn2us has an easy to use, free benefits checker at www.turn2us.org.uk which carers can use to make sure they are claiming everything they are entitled to.

The spokesman added: “A recent report by Carers UK shows that the care provided by friends and family members to ill, frail or disabled relatives is now worth a staggering £119 billion every year. Yet nearly 300,000 carers are missing out on a total of £840m worth of Carer’s Allowance each year.”

Carer’s Allowance provides support to full-time carers who are not in education or earn no more than £100 a week. But the survey shows that many carers are unlikely to believe they could or should claim.

“Over two-fifths of carers surveyed struggle to pay energy bills, and the need to raise awareness is all the more urgent because many carers fall into debt. Last year a fifth of carers surveyed amassed debts totalling over £600 on average as they struggled to pay bills,” said the spokesman.

Alison Taylor, director of Turn2us said: ‘Carer’s Allowance is a crucial, albeit limited source of income for carers, who often have demanding responsibilities which limit their access to paid employment and education.

“Many of the carers who have used Turn2us to access benefits say that before coming to us they were simply unaware of what they were entitled to or put off from claiming by the sheer complexity of the benefits system.”

Eileen, from Belfast is a full-time carer for her 18-year-old son Iain who has autism. Eileen has benefited from exploring her benefit options. She said: ‘Benefits are my only source of income, so finding out about Carer’s Allowance has been a big help.

“Before I got support I used to worry about how I would pay bills and make ends meet, but now I no longer have to.’

Through Turn2us, Aneira from Wales received useful information about benefits, and as a result was able to claim the Carer’s Allowance. She said: ‘I really don’t know how I would have managed without this extra assistance. I have been under so much emotional stress and this support has eased a lot of my financial worry.

“I didn’t know where else to go up to this point and Turn2us has made all the difference.”

Contact: 0800 802 2000

www.turn2us.org.uk

 

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