Shared Lives Plus

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How it works

Enjoy a stable income

Shared Lives care is a well-established and growing service within the UK and one which local authorities are investing in. Although Shared Lives services cannot guarantee continuous ‘work’, Shared Lives income is often very stable, comparable to fostering, with many Shared Lives carers having a track record of receiving a regular payment for one or more individuals living with them or visiting them regularly for many years and even decades. As with any social care service, each individual has the right to change their choices at any time, which means that income cannot be contractually guaranteed, but the stability of income can be greater than other kinds of support work.

How much can I earn?

Shared Lives carers are paid a weekly fee to support someone living with them long term, as well as a contribution towards accommodation and household costs, such as food, electricity and water.

The fees paid depend on:

  • What sort of service you offer – day support, short breaks or long-term
  • How many people you support
  • What sort of support you need to offer
  • You can earn between £350 – £650 a week when someone lives with you
  • Day support carers are paid by session, in either half or full day blocs
  • Short break carers are paid a fee for the type of support they provide.

Where does my income come from?

Your local Shared Lives scheme (funded by the local council or NHS) will pay you for the support and care you provide, based on their social care assessment of what support and care the person needs.

The person you support will contribute towards accommodation and living costs from their housing benefit part of Universal Credit, ESA – Employment Support Allowance, PIP – Personal Independence Payment, Severe Disability Premium, some people may have specialist pensions/support from the Armed Forces, NHS, police etc.

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What’s it like being self-employed?

Complete flexibility! Shared Lives carers are self-employed, as you’ll work from home and build a way of life that suits you and the person you support. It means you’re not employed by either your local Shared Lives service who matches you to the person that needs support, or by the person who you care for. You can have a relaxed relationship which feels more like family than a job.

You will need to register self-employed with HMRC and you’ll have time to set this up after the assessment process.

It also means you get a generous tax-break – if you support someone to live with you, on the first £10,000 and then an extra £250 per week tax free for every additional person (you can support up to three people at one time).

Your scheme and Shared Lives Plus can help you with tax and benefits advice become a member

The Shared Lives tax break

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have agreed a beneficial tax arrangement for Shared Lives carers (similar to foster carers). A special relief, ‘qualifying care relief’, is available to individuals who, alone or in partnership, provide Shared Lives care.

Profits made by an individual in a tax year from the provision of qualifying care are deemed to be nil for Income Tax and Class 4 NICs purposes if the carer’s total receipts from qualifying care do not exceed an individual qualifying amount. Qualifying carers are treated as being self-employed and are able to use a simplified method of working out their taxable profits. The ‘simplified arrangements’ allow the carer to claim set deductible amounts from income in order to work out taxable profit.

Example 2 shows how, although ‘Susan Jones’ has a healthy annual income, the tax arrangement means that her accounts will show no profit and therefore no taxable income is reported to HMRC.

What is a qualifying amount?

The tax-free amount Shared Lives carers can receive for their caring activities. It is made up of:

  • A fixed amount for each household of £10,000 a year; and
  • £250.00 per person per week

Example 2: Shared Lives income after applying ‘qualifying care relief’

Susan Jones is a Shared Lives carer for Tony and Mike. They have lived with her for the full financial year. Jane’s ‘qualifying amount’ would therefore be:

£10000 Fixed amount

+ £26000 (weekly amount £250 x 2 x 52)

= £36000 qualifying amount

So, using qualifying care relief Susan would not be liable to pay any tax on her Shared Lives income (her ‘receipts’) in this financial year, because it is less than her ‘qualifying amount’ and she has, therefore, (for tax purposes) no profit.

How is Shared Lives different from other care work?

Do the caring role you always imagined – from your own home! It’s the ultimate lockdown new job.

If you love helping someone to flourish, without the red tape of traditional caring or nursing, where it’s easy to get burnt out and feel unfulfilled, Shared Lives care puts what’s important first.

Shared Lives care is all about relationships, helping someone grow or maintain their confidence, make new friends or learn new skills. It’s a way for them to flourish as a person – and for you to bring your whole self to the role.

People tell us it’s sometimes the “first time when I felt like I could be truly myself ‘at work.”

What is it like day to day?

Successful long term Shared Lives arrangements involve regular breaks for both the Shared Lives carers and the person in the Shared Lives arrangement and a range of purposeful day time, occupational and leisure activities for the person outside the family home and involving people other than the Shared Lives carer. It can be hard work, but also a lot of fun and new experiences for everyone.

Next: Frequently asked questions