Looking after someone with a lung condition

Financial support for carers

You and the person you care for may be able to claim financial assistance as a result of a carer’s assessment or community care assessment.

This may include:

  • help with paying rent, council tax and other rates
  • help towards bills, such as heating and electricity
  • income support

The type and amount of financial assistance you are eligible for varies depending on where you live. The systems for awarding financial support can be complicated and the amounts available change frequently. This section is a guide.

For detailed, up-to-date information, call our helpline on 03000 030 555.

Carer’s Allowance

This is the main benefit available for carers. You may be eligible if you care for someone for 35 hours a week or more. It applies UK-wide and your eligibility is based on your circumstances, such as:

  • your age
  • whether you work and what you earn
  • whether you get other benefits

It also takes into account the benefits the person you are caring for receives.

Tip: You might need to be persistent in asking about the availability of financial support. When you have the assessment, make sure it is clear how much you do for the person you care for.

Benefits for the person you care for

  • Personal independence payment (PIP) is paid to eligible people aged 16-64 who have a long-term health condition or disability in England, Wales and Scotland.
     
  • Disability living allowance (DLA) is paid for eligible children aged under 16 who have additional needs because of a disability in England, Wales and Scotland. In Northern Ireland it’s paid for eligible disabled people aged under 65, but is likely to be replaced by PIP for people of working age in 2015.
     
  • Attendance allowance is for eligible people aged 65 and over across the UK who are disabled or have long-term physical or mental health problems.
     
  • Employment and support allowance is paid to people aged 16-64 across the UK who cannot work or have limited capacity for work because of ill health or disability.
     
  • Statutory sick pay. UK employers pay this to eligible people who are unable to work because of ill health.
     
  • Industrial injuries disablement benefit (IIDB) is payable to eligible people across the UK who are ill or disabled as a result of an accident or disease they got while they were employed. You can’t claim if you were self-employed. This scheme covers asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Find out more about welfare benefits >

Home oxygen electricity rebate

If the person you care for is on oxygen treatment and uses an oxygen concentrator, your oxygen supplier will reimburse the cost of the electricity the concentrator uses. For more information call our helpline on 03000 030 555 or contact your oxygen supplier directly.

General benefits and financial assistance

The following is a list of other types of benefits and financial assistance that you and the person you care for might be eligible for.

Help with council tax (rates in Northern Ireland). This includes:

  • Council tax reduction (rate relief in Northern Ireland) – for people on low incomes
  • Disability reduction scheme – for people whose home has had work carried out to help someone living there who has a disability
  • Council tax discount (in England, Scotland and Wales) – 25% discount for people who live alone.
  • Disabled facilities grant – a one-off grant to fund adaptations to make a home suitable for a disabled person. In Scotland adaptations may be paid for by housing grants.

Help with fuel costs. This includes:

  • Winter fuel payments – help for those of qualifying age towards winter fuel bills
  • Warm home discount – a reduction on your electricity bill if you meet certain criteria
  • Cold weather payments – a payment for people on certain benefits, payable for each week the average temperature where you live is at or below freezing.
  • Budgeting loans – an interest-free loan available if you are on certain other benefits to help you buy things like furniture, to pay rent or to pay off debts.

You and the person you care for may also be able to claim help with health costs, or apply for other types of grants or loans from your local council, other funding bodies or charities.

The Directory of Social Change produces A Guide to Grants for Individuals in Need which lists charities offering grants. Your local branch of Citizens Advice should have a copy. For more information, contact the Directory of Social Change on 08450 77 77 07 or Citizens Advice.

Insurance

If the person you care for uses oxygen treatment, remember to tell their buildings and contents insurance companies. If they travel in your car or in their own car with oxygen, then you must tell the relevant car insurer too.

If you arrange travel insurance, tell your insurer that you care for someone with a lung condition. Check that your policy covers you if you can’t travel due to your caring duties.

There are lots of things to think about when going on holiday with someone with a lung condition. You may need to tell your travel operator, ensure you have sufficient medication or arrange fitness to travel documents, for example. 

View our information about going on holiday with a lung condition to help plan your trip.

“I got a payment to go towards a hobby” Les's experience

Les caring for Ann while shopping

Les looks after his wife Ann full-time.

“My caring role started when Ann had breast cancer five-and-a-half years ago. Later she was also diagnosed with COPD.

I had a carers’ assessment three years ago – it was quite straightforward. I’m now on the county council’s carers’ register and I have a card in my wallet, so that if anything happens to me while I’m out, people will know Ann’s at home and needs help.

I also got a one-off payment of £130 for my hobby. I had a couple of days out fishing.

We joined our local Breathe Easy group, which is fantastic.

A lady from the Carers’ Federation talked to us about entitlements. We had no idea Ann could claim attendance allowance, but afterwards, we asked the local council.

Someone from the council came to talk to us and filled in the claim. He was very helpful. We heard just two weeks later that Ann was entitled to attendance allowance at the higher rate.

We’re reasonably comfortable, but the extra money makes a real difference.

We get some respite care through Oddfellows. We’ve had some two-week respite breaks at a really nice convalescence home.”

Next: Practical tips for caring - health >

Download our looking after someone with a lung condition PDF (322KB)

Last medically reviewed: November 2015. Due for review: November 2018

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.