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Date published: April 15, 2020

Shared Lives carer pay during Covid-19

We all need to stay at home during the Covid-19 crisis. But many people using Shared Lives are high-risk and are stuck at home for the longest. Many of you have been in touch to let us know what it’s like.

Some Shared Lives carers are caring for people without a break, and have the additional costs of more food, utilities and expenses. The day services they usually rely on are closed and they having to care 24/7. Half have lost vital income because they provide day support for someone who can no longer come to visit them. They are also not yet eligible for the government’s financial support for self-employed people due to the Shared Lives tax rules. See below for what Shared Lives Plus is doing to raise awareness and get a better deal for carers…

Ongoing communication with government and shadow cabinet

We are in ongoing dialogue with DHSC and various senior government officials on your behalf, including the Minister for Care, Helen Whatley, and Shadow Minister for health and social care, Liz Kendall, a long-standing supporter of Shared Lives, regarding the most pressing issues affecting Shared Lives carers, such as vaccines, testing and PPE.

Regarding pay, the Treasury confirmed last year that not all Shared Lives carers who have lost income will be eligible for their Self-employed income support scheme (SEISS) scheme. Some Shared Lives carers who have registered a profit and been taxed last year, may be eligible to receive a payment, so please take financial advice and do find out if you are eligible when you receive an email from HMRC.

Additional pay

We strongly recommend that schemes and carers continue to talk to commissioners about recognising the responsibility, challenges, not to mention the impact of caring in your lives.

Our guidance and campaigns have said that councils should commit to Shared Lives carers’ pay increasing in line with other social care workforce pay. There was a planned increase of 6.2% to NLW which pre-dates the current crisis, so we are strongly advocating that Shared Lives carers should have a 6.2% raise regardless of COVID-19. We recommend that Shared Lives schemes consider introducing temporary arrangements to support Shared Lives carers who would otherwise lose income due to support interruptions or sickness through Coronavirus – this will sustain Shared Lives in the long term.

We have produced guidance for schemes, guidance for commissioners and a template business case for schemes to use to start conversations with commissioners (all found in members’ online accounts). We are also encouraging Shared Lives carers to write to your local MP – and some of them have been in touch with us – thank you!

In March we launched the third year of our invaluable pay campaign to make sure you’re supported through Covid-19.

Successful outcomes

Many local authorities have recognised the additional responsibilities that Shared Lives carers are taking who have people living with them – and the loss of income for carers offering day support or short breaks.

With our guidance, business cases for commissioners and support from around the UK, many schemes have achieved successful outcomes. Here are some success stories, comments and feedback:

  • “I just wanted to say ‘thank you’, our joint lobbying effort has had a positive outcome! All cancelled short breaks and day support are being paid this week to carers who would have lost this income, backdated to March. Also, long term carers are being paid for providing additional day support at £100 per week for the first person, £50 for their second person and £25 for their third. This has also been backdated to 30 March.” Portsmouth Shared Lives
  • “Telford and Wrekin council agreed to pay all of our long term placements an extra 10% through the period I have just had confirmation that to those carers who normally provide respite and day ops and during this time have lost their work the council have agreed to pay 80% of their average income from Jan to March.” Shared Lives Telford and Wrekin 
  • “I’m pleased to say the LA Commissioning team have agreed to pay a 10% increase in fees to Shared Lives carers during the crisis, to be reviewed on monthly basis.” Herefordshire
  • “We are starting by gathering data from our Shared Lives carers to look at each household and how much their costs have increased. Questionnaire via mail chimp to carers, good response so far. We are taking similar stance to other schemes around day support payments – looking at each case and discussing with each local authority.” Shared Lives South West
  • “Our MD is in negotiations with the Local Authority to seek additional payments for the carers due the circumstances. I feel that the LA will support with the request as they appreciate that all the carers are happy to continue with the care and support needs within their homes.” Vivo Care Choices
  • “Very positive discussions with our Local Authority re additional funding for support during the day.” Avalon Group
  • “A temporary 5% increase has been awarded to all carers (on top of the annual increase) due to the covid crisis.” Worcestershire
  • “We secured a pay increase of £100 per week for the first person, £50 for their second and £25 for their third, backdated to march. We are stronger when we work together!” Better Together, Thurrock
  • “Salford has agreed to ‘pay on plan’ for daytime support whether it has been provided or not. Short breaks: an average will be taken of support provided over the last year. This will then be paid every 4 weeks if support might have taken place if there were no pandemic. An annual increase in payment of 6.21% has also been awarded. There has been an increase for the last 2 years after Carers had not had an increase for 15 years plus.” Aspire, Salford
  • “I can confirm we have had success in securing pay for our day support carers”. Southend
  • “We have a meeting with our local authority today who have agreed to pay the carers for the cancelled respite during the lockdown and the day services too. They have asked us to suggest an hourly rate.” Bethphage, Shrewsbury
  • “I’ve just managed to agree a 5% uplift for all our long term carers.” Cambridgeshire
  • “We are already continuing to pay respite and day support carers for any sessions/nights they are unable to undertake because of Covid-19 . They are providing regular welfare and social calls though as an alternative. 10% uplift for the long term carers.” Islington
  • “I have confirmation that if a carer is sick and unable to provide care – that we will continue to pay them (usually self employed people don’t get sick pay). We have just introduced banding and every carer has had an increase in payments.” Hackney
  • “I sent an email to my manager and the commissioners putting a case forward for additional pay for carers and I have to say it was really helpful using the information I received from Shared Lives Plus.” Southampton
  • “Organised across the board uplift for SL carers during covid-19.” Aberdeenshire
  • “Our carers have now received their uplift for the three month period.” Powys Shared Lives

Join our invaluable campaign!

I’m a Shared lives carer, what can I do?

  • It can feel awkward talking about money – but focus on the incredible difference you’ve made to people’s lives by being a Shared Lives carer. It’s important you’re recognised and valued locally, so that Shared Lives continues and grows, long after Covid-19.
  • Talk to and write to your scheme, and head of service, and write to your MP, MSP or Assembly member using this letter, and ask them to support us in parliament.
  • Talk to other Shared Lives carers in your area and see if you can gather a group together with your scheme
  • Contact our carer support team who could work out what to do together locally
  • Invite your head of service, councillor or MP to visit your home virtually by using video calling, so they can see difference you make
  • Share your posts on social media, join in with our campaign online.

For more ideas, get in touch with our membership team – we’re here for you – on or join our Cuppa for carers on Tuesdays (11am) and Thursdays (3pm) on Zoom (email us for the link).

I’m a Shared Lives scheme worker

It’s vital Shared Lives carers are supported and sustained through this time. Their money worries are weighing heavily on them, especially as they have people depending on them at home, for longer and in more challenging circumstances than usual.

  • Talk to your Head of Service and commissioner: our guidance is for Shared Lives schemes to support Shared Lives carers financially to keep them caring and in the sector when we need them most. Councils have emergency funding and it makes business sense to use a tiny portion of it in this way.
  • Use our guide, based on reports from 20 schemes and 300 Shared Lives carers about the money that’s needed. Remember that Shared Lives carers are a valuable part of adult social care and are helping to build a kinder stronger society that we need more than ever.
  • Invite your commissioner, Head of Service and MP, MSP, Assembly Member, to meet Shared Lives carers virtually – arrange a meeting, tour of their houses, so they can see their transformative work for themselves.
  • Ask your Shared Lives carers for stories, videos and quotes about what it’s like caring at the moment and share with decision-makers.
  • Support us on social media and share pictures and stories

I’m a supporter, how can I help?

  • Write to your MP, MSP and Assembly Member using this letter, and ask them to support us in parliament
  • Talk to a Shared Lives carer, let them know they have your support and share their story online (with everyone’s consent)
  • Support our campaign online
  • Donate to us and help us make Shared Lives voices louder