Time spent caring
Almost half (46 per cent) of respondents said that they would find it “very easy” or “easy” to answer a question on whether they care for someone on average at least 16 hours per week. Two in five (41 per cent) said they would find it neither easy nor difficult, and one in seven (15 per cent) said they would find it difficult or very difficult.
Those who said it would be “very easy” or “easy” to answer this question said that this was because it is “constant” or they care on a full time basis, or because they would find it easy to count.
“It is basically 24/7.”
“I know what I do and how long it takes, so I'm able to count it up easily.”
“I would find it easy as I spend most of my time with my younger brother who I care for.”
Others said that they are used to the role, or that they could ask someone to help them to calculate it.
“Because I've been living like that most of my life so it seems normal for me. Do it all the time when I am not at school.”
Among those who said that they would find it “neither easy nor difficult” reasons included that they hadn’t previously thought about it, that the number of hours spent caring each week changes a lot, or that they don’t know how many hours they spend caring.
“I’ve never really thought about this or added up the hours and it changes a lot. So I am not sure if I calculated it all, it would be fine I suppose”
“I don't time myself I just do it.”
“Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's hard.”
Those who said it would be “difficult” or “very difficult” to answer this question said that this was because the time spent caring could be very variable, that they are too busy to figure it out, and that it can be difficult to know what counts as caring.
“Not all conditions have/need to have a specific hours one week you could do it a lot less and another could be 24/7.”
“I think it is difficult as it can be hard to keep track of how many hours you care for the person and sometimes it can based on an estimation rather than an exact amount.”
“A lot of the care given by young people cannot be easily quantified – for example emotional support and the impact of caring. Young people don’t count hours of caring they just do it and a lot of caring situations are very unpredictable and hours are different.”
Cumulative caring hours
Respondents were asked whether it should be possible to add up the hours you care for more than one person to meet the 16 hours per week average; 60 respondents answered this question. More than seven in ten (72 per cent) respondents said that you should be able to add this up. A quarter (25 per cent) said they weren’t sure. 3 per cent said you shouldn’t be able to do this.
Among respondents who said that you should be able to add up the hours you care for more than one person, reasons included that it is still more than 16 hours per week spent on care, that caring for more than one person may be more difficult
“It is more challenging sometimes to look after more than one person as you have to split your time.”
“That person is still caring for people, it is even more work to care for two (or more) even if the hours individually don't add up but in total do. Caring for one person takes a lot from a person especially if the person they care for is a family member or friend. So having more people you love to look after deserves just as much if not more recognition.”
Others suggested that helping with looking after a sibling, for example, may be part of the caring role they have for a parent.
“I help look after my brother as this helps my mum.”
Among those who said they weren’t sure if you should be able to add up the hours you care for more than one person, reasons included finding this difficult to calculate or feeling that the situation wouldn’t apply to them. Respondents who said you shouldn’t be able to add up the hours spent caring said that they were “not sure” why.
Respondents were given a list of the qualifying benefits – the person they care for would need to be in receipt of at least one on the list in order for them to be eligible for the grant. They were asked how easy or difficult it would be for them to find out whether the person they care for receives one of these benefits. Two thirds (67 per cent) of respondents said they would find it “very easy” or “easy” to find out if the person they care for gets one of those benefits. A quarter (25 per cent) said it would be “neither easy nor difficult” and one in twelve (8 per cent) said it would be difficult or very difficult. 2 people did not respond to this question.
Among those who said that they would find it “very easy” or “easy” to find this out, reasons included that they already know, that they help with managing the household finances or had helped with the benefit application.
“Because I helped my mum out in receiving PIP and getting that sorted. And I deal with most payment or most things in the house.”
“I think this is very easy as I know what benefits my mum claims.”
“My mum is capable of telling me these things and is very open with me. I also help with some of the other benefits so I am aware of them.”
Others said that they would be able to ask the person they care for.
Reason given by respondents who said it would be “neither easy nor difficult” to find this information out included not being sure what benefits the person they care for gets, and finding it difficult to ask.
“Because I’m sure if I ask one of my parents they'll know.”
“I find it hard to ask questions to my brother as he gets annoyed and violent.”
Those who said they would find it “difficult” or “very difficult” to find this information out said it was because they weren’t sure if the person they care for would know, or because they wouldn’t feel comfortable asking this question.
“Cared for person might not want to disclose information or feel comfortable letting people know they receive it - might feel shame, guilt etc.”
Other carers in the household
Panel members were asked whether young carers should be able to get the grant when another carer gets Carer’s Allowance for the same person. 60 people responded to this question.
More than four in five (83 per cent) said they should, and one in six (17 per cent) said that they weren’t sure. No-one said that they should not get the grant.
“They are still caring for the person and should be allowed a benefit for it. It seems unfair to give only one carer help but not the other” Reasons given included that it is unfair that only one person receives a payment when more than one person is providing care.
Other reasons included highlighting that “secondary” carers don’t necessarily do less work, and that they would still need help, or that different people might have different caring roles for the same person.
“They still do the same amount of work for the same amount of hours. It should be that they still get what they are working for as some young carers are physical carers others care for them emotionally and it's different for every person e.g. One carer might look after that person's physical need like cooking and cleaning and the other would be the person who has to support them through break downs and their mental health.”
Others commented that Carer’s Allowance is often used towards household funds, where they felt that the Young Carer Grant should be for the young carer.
“Carer’s Allowance is usually used to keep the family funds going. Young Carer Grant should be for young carers in their own right.”
Email: Catherine Henry
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