Unpaid and paid carer advice please

Hi everyone!

I’m new here and I’m hoping that I’m not posting this in the wrong place.

I’m a single parent who is carer to my 18 year old who suffers from depression, sever anxiety and also has suspected ASD and my 10 year old, who also has suspected ASD along with Dyslexia and Dyspraxia. They are both waiting to be assessed but we’re looking at long 2 year wait for both.

I have recently come to the end of a fixed term contract 16hr per week role and I’m now waiting to start a new zero hour contract Support Worker role, as this will offer me some flexibility around my children.

My friend has Fibromyalgia, Dyslexia and mental health issues. She messaged me today out of the blue asking me to be her carer. She says she’s been told she can get funding for 8hrs per week. This is to help her with housework, wash herself, get her out of the house a little bit and help her with paperwork. (She has brain fog caused by the Fibro and her dyslexia adds to the difficulty)

My first instinct is to say yes and help my friend, but I’m unsure of any financial implications (and mental ones) this may have for myself and my family.

Would I still be able to be an unpaid carer for my children and entitled to help from the government at the same time as being a paid carer for my friend?

I have posted a PIP form for my eldest and don’t know other help is available for them. I have a ton of questions floating around my head and I’m unsure about any of this. I didn’t even realise I was already a carer until recently, paid or otherwise! :laughing:

Any advice about any of this muddle would be greatly appreciated :smiley:

HI Deborah and welcome,

an 'unpaid carer" refers to the care you give to a family member/friend. In your case this is your son. As an ‘unpaid carer’ you can still have a job in addition to the caring you do.

This job could be caring for someone else in addition to your the person you care for ‘unpaid.’

If you claim carer’s allowance there is a limit on how much you an an earn and you must provide 35+ hours a week. There is information here https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/financial-support/help-with-benefits/carers-allowance

Caring for your friend may well change your friendship and it’s worth thinking about this. Also, what would happen in school holidays etc - would she find someone else for those times or would she be ok about you taking your son with you and how would you and he feel about this/


Thanks Melly

I don’t know how it would work as it was just a bolt out of the blue to be asked today so I’ve never thought of it before.

I understand the position my friend is in, wanting someone they know and trust to care for them and financially it would be helpful to me.

On the flip side I have 2 other people that I care for and I wouldn’t want to affect my ability to care for them by caring for another person. Plus I’m unsure to how an employer/employee relationship with my friend would affect our close friendship.

They say don’t mix business and pleasure.

Flattering to be asked.
Loyalty and protection to friend pulls at you to do it.

Pragmatically and bluntly :-


Those 8 hours - in one day? spread over 2 days? 4 days? Could have creepage of ‘favours’ and can you just? or I will just…

As you have so much on at home, you don’t need this on top, especially the stress of feeling obliged to fullfil the commitment and feeling on-call for her.

Your zero hours to suit you is a better arrangement as you can truly sign off duty and walk away from the work to where you are needed.

Yes she wants someone she knows and trusts.
But you don’t want that strain on the friendship.

You can be there for a short while for the first couple of bookings for support and to show that she has friends looking out for her but only if you want to and then that is it.

There is always the danger of ending up doing lots more for her and ending up being an unpaid carer.

Whether that be out of kindness or her asking can you just? would you mind? etc or a mixture of both.

It could be a downhill spiral to the end of your friendship when you cannot meet her expectations.

Keep the boundaries to friendship and don’t blur them by being her paid help.
You don’t want to end up being depended on.

Set boundaries. Good luck. If you need a care needs assessment call the local council in the morning in order to request one.

Although it can work well in some cases, being paid as a carer changes the relationship from helping a friend or loved one into being an employee, often of a boss who has no understanding of your rights as an employee, or of their responsibilities (and yours). Some relationships do not pass this test.

Complete agreement with Charles.