Work and finances
If you are working as well as caring, you will effectively be juggling two jobs and this can be very stressful and demanding. It will be worthwhile finding out if your workplace has a policy to support carers.
The Employment (Reasonable Adjustments for Carers) Bill 2019-21, which will require employers to make reasonable adjustments for carers, is currently being discussed in the UK parliament, though no date has been confirmed for its completion.
Any employee in the UK has the right to request flexible working after being in a job for 26 weeks (six months) continuously.
Sharing information about M.E. and its impact may help your manager/employer to understand the condition and the constraints you are under. The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service can help talk through your options if you have a workplace problem, including any relating your caring role.
You may be thinking about leaving work altogether in order to care full time.
This is a decision that needs to be thought through carefully as giving up work will mean a drop in your income and in the time you will have away from caring.
Think about other options available to you before leaving, such as the possibility of reducing your hours, working from home some or all of the time, or finding a new job that is closer to home so you are able to get back if needs be.
If you do decide that leaving work is the right option for you, you and the person you care for may be entitled to claim welfare benefits.
Welfare benefits support
If you are a carer, your rights as an employee are covered by the Work and Families Act 2006, Employment Rights Act 1996 and Equality Act 2010.
If you are considering giving up work to become a full-time carer it is essential to seek advice about the benefits that you would be entitled to.
Carer’s Allowance is the main state benefit available to carers.
In addition, you and the person you care for may also be eligible for other benefits such as Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance, Job Seekers Allowance, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and Personal Independence Payment (this list is not exhaustive).
If you have dependent children you may be able to get Child Tax Credit. If you have a mortgage you may be able to get help with this through Income Support or income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
Each person’s circumstances are different and so other benefits may be available to you that are not listed above. Eligibility for benefits also depends on your family circumstances, any savings you have and in some cases your National Insurance record as well as your status in the UK.