Becoming a live-in carer

CareBIGGeneral posts

First steps to becoming a live-in carer

A live-in carer is someone who lives in the client’s own home and provides one to one support for the duration of their stay. Typically it pays from £600 per week upwards depending on the intensity of the role and other factors. Unlike hourly care where you can feel rushed to complete tasks, with live-in care, you will have the time to make a real difference to the client’s quality of life.

If you are new to care the first thing you need to do is get trained up. Often the bigger care agencies offer their own in-house training. This will often involve 3-5 days of hands on practical classroom training. Online training is great but you need to watch trained professionals and participate yourself in-order to feel confident in many aspects of the job. The training is often free and you get to meet other carers both new and experienced which is great when starting out on this journey. Making friends with fellow live-in carers will be a great help going forward in terms of free advice and knowing others have the same concerns and questions you may have.

Once you have training in place you will need to apply for a DBS certificate. The agency may cover the cost of the certificate (£59) which is essential before you can start client visits. Make sure you are also on the update service (additional £13) and this way you can move employment and not have to pay for a new DBS check. You must apply to be on the update service within 19 days of receiving your DBS cert so don’t delay.

If you are not from the UK you will need to get a UK bank account. To do this ideally you need a UK address. The care agency may help you set up the account but if not there are other ways. Barclays, TSB and Lloyds have a deposit account where no address is needed. However, a traditional bank account is ideal so you can pay for your mobile phone and other bills and begin to establish your credit record.

You will need to apply for a National Insurance number asap if you do not already have one. You can visit the website for full details on how to apply. Check the back of your biometric residence permit as your NI number may be printed on the back.

Once you have your NI number you should register with your local GP surgery. Being a live- in carer is not easy and can be exhausting. You need to make sure you look after yourself not only your clients. If you are registered with a GP you know you can visit if you ever feel unwell or need them to check any symptoms you may develop.

If you are asked to become self-employed you will need to register as such with HMRC. You will receive a UTR (unique tax reference) from them which you will use to submit your annual tax return. You can pay an accountant to help you do this for around £125-150 per year. Keep a record of everything that you buy as much of it can be written off against tax. Here are some examples:
-mattress toppers/plugs/sheets/blankets

You can earn up to £11,000 before you start paying tax but again check with your accountant for the latest figures and things you can claim for.

You will also need your own insurance if you are not employed by an agency. Some providers offer specific live-in care insurance like Fish or Bluefin but shop around on google. Costs vary but around £85 per year is the norm. This will cover you if something goes wrong whilst you are working in your capacity as a carer.

Many live-in carers live abroad and come to the UK to work. Transferring money back home is important to them. Several companies offer this service including TransferWise and 1st Contact. The exchange rates they offer are often much better than standard banks.

Lastly make sure you want to become a live-in carer for all the right reasons. It’s a very demanding role both physically and mentally but it’s much easier if you’re passionate about helping others. This means promoting client choice and encouraging them to live the life they want. You’ll find this approach makes the role incredibly rewarding for both you and them.