Benefits and other help with funding care

This page covers:
• Discounts and benefits for people paying for care
• How people found out about discounts and benefits
• Reasons why application forms were hard to complete and getting help to do so

People who are not eligible for funding from their local councils towards paying for care may be able to apply for state benefits and other types of financial support.

Many of the people we spoke to were getting Attendance Allowance which is a state benefit that is not means-tested. People also told us about council tax exemptions for people receiving care, blue badges for parking, and Carers Allowance. Some people mentioned NHS funding; for more about this, see What is continuing healthcare (CHC)?. Sometimes people asked for discounts for water, gas or electricity because of the extra costs of care, like extra washing. Frances talks about asking for a discount from her water company because of the extra baths her father needed.

Barbara is in a birth cohort study which has been extended several times. She thinks that securing funding to continue data collection has always been an issue.

Age at interview 73

Gender Female

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Rosemary, who cared for her husband, remembered having a carer’s assessment from her local council and being given a grant of about £300 to spend on time to herself, like joining an art class or a leisure centre or having a few days away. Carer’s assessments are free and look at the kinds of help that can make a carer’s life easier. June found out she could pay council tax in a lower band after having a ground floor extension and shower room for her husband. Her council told her about this. Some of the costs of the extension were also free from VAT because it was built for a disabled person.

A lot of the people we spoke to found out about these benefits and other types of help with funding from friends and family or groups they were involved with. Charities also let people know about these benefits but people were surprised that local councils didn’t routinely let people know.

Keith would like to say thank you to the research teams of both cohort studies he took part in. His experience has been very positive.

Age at interview 68

Gender Male

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Applying for these benefits was time-consuming. Many people commented on how long the application forms were, especially for Attendance Allowance, and how difficult it was to fill the forms in. Sons and daughters found it hard to think about and write down the details of what their parents were struggling with. Getting help and advice on how to complete the forms was really appreciated.

Mr S thinks some questions in questionnaires are personal and people may be reluctant to answer them. He encourages researchers to carefully phrase their questions and explain why they want to know.

Age at interview 35

Gender Male

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Some people can feel uncomfortable claiming these types of allowances because they have never claimed any benefits before. Others don’t want to accept that they need care. And not everyone spends the money on care, but even the little extras that people get can be really helpful.

The process of finding out about and applying for allowances and other funds to help with paying for care was quite haphazard. People told us that what they really wanted was someone to tell them what the options were and when they should be thinking about them.

Ian liked that the study team explained why they were doing certain tests which helped him to understand and made it interesting.

Age at interview 54

Gender Male

Age at diagnosis 51

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