The ‘Looking after someone’ guide highlights the legal rights that carers have and how they can get both financial and practical help and support to combine work and caring.
Carers Northern Ireland said that every year millions of pounds of carers’ benefits are not claimed and that they encourage carers to find out about their rights and access help.
Minister for Department of Social Development in the Northern Ireland Government Nelson McCausland launched the guide on Carers Rights Day (30 November 2012).
Minister McCausland said: “Carers play an important role in society and sometimes their own needs are overlooked. Many carers may not realise that they may be entitled to a number of benefits such as Carer’s Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit, Employment and Support Allowance and Job Seekers Allowance to name but a few.
“Carers’ Rights Day is an opportunity to let people know what support, through the benefits system, is available for them. I would urge all carers today to make the call to the Benefit Advice Line on 0800 232 1271, to ensure they are getting all the financial help they are entitled to.”
Helen Ferguson, Northern Ireland director of Carers Northern Ireland, said carers often don’t recognise that they are in fact carers, and don’t access support available.
“Every year, more than 69,000 people in Northern Ireland become carers. Many of them accept caring as part and parcel of family life and don’t recognise themselves as carers – but this means they can miss out on vital support. Even those who have been caring for years sometimes aren’t aware of their entitlements.
“This is why we hold Carers Rights Day, to let people know what is available. It is also about increasing the take up of benefits; making sure carers know their rights; guiding carers towards practical support and raising awareness of the needs of carers.
“I am calling on everyone to help carers access support and advice – so if you know someone who cares for an ill or disabled loved one, make sure they find out about the benefits and other help they may be entitled to.”
The guide was produced by Carers UK and contains information relevant to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.