CarersBlog

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Government Does Good by Not Scrapping Carer’s Allowance

A couple of weeks ago, the Government asked to meet us to discuss Carer’s Allowance and whether it should be Carer and caree laughingmerged with the proposed Universal Credit or not. We said not.

If you care for somebody for more than 35 hours p/w and that person receives the mid/high rate care component of Disability Living Allowance, then you can get the Carer’s Allowance of £53.90 p/w. However, you don’t get it if you receive another higher benefit such as Income Support or State Pension, or are in education or training for more than 20 hours p/w.

Considering this, it’s no surprise that many carers strongly believe that Carer’s Allowance is not enough and too many carers can’t get it.

The Government wants to merge numerous benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance into one single benefit called Universal Credit to simplify the system. However, there are two reasons why carers opposed moving Carer’s Allowance into Universal Credit.

The recognition that receiving a benefit specific to carers is important to them. It shows that the Government understands that they are not like other people receiving benefits – they are actually having to make a valuable contribution to qualify for that benefit. They want to know that the Government appreciates this.

Also Universal Credit will be a means tested benefit that will take into account savings and earnings of others in the household. Carer’s Allowance is not means tested. A change would have meant that carers could still be caring for more than 35 hours p/w but would have received a Universal Credit amount even lower than £53.90 because of savings they may have (which may be needed to pay for care).

The Government has an understandable aim of targeting benefits at those with most financial need, but withdrawing Carer’s Allowance from some would only make carers feel even more unappreciated and taken advantage of. The health and social care system is terrible at recognising carers and for many carers Carer’s Allowance is the only recognition they receive for what they do.

Taking Carer’s Allowance away from those who give so much would have been simply wrong. This is the message we gave Government. We are glad they listened.

Gordon

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February 17, 2011 - Posted by | Benefits, Carer's Allowance, Carers Strategy, Conservatives, David Cameron, Liberal Democrats | , , , , ,

23 Comments »

  1. As “universal” means everything does it not mean that they have merely “weeded” out CA for cancellation on its own at some future date? I can’t see how a “Universal Credit” could not include all benefits and allowances currently paid as separate entities. Maybe its just the way I am reading it, but usually Ministers do not mean what they seem to say.

    Comment by ians12 | February 17, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi Ian
      I would read it that they would like as many benefits to be included within the Unviersal Credit as possible, and that in the future they may look to see which benefits are compatible with being included within it. That’s the likely desire rather than complete abolishment.
      Gordon

      Comment by Gordon Conochie | February 23, 2011 | Reply

  2. I see over at Carers UK, that the quarter-million carers who qualify for Carer Premium via claiming a means-tested benefit will be moved over to Universal Credit. It isn’t clear whether they’d (we’d, actually) lose the whole CA component, but this is a worry – will those carers be lumped into the feckless spongers category and railroaded into work and schemes even when their caree may have increasing needs? How will the system recognise those carers? Surely those carers are the most financially vulnerable or they wouldn’t be claiming IS/JA and the premium in the first place?

    Comment by Sid Boggle | February 17, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi Sid
      Regarding carers who will be included within Universal Credit, the calculation of the amount will consider if the claimant has “regular and substantial caring responsibilities for a severely disabled person”. The definition is intended to include, but not be limited to, those who qualify for Carer’s Allowance. Any claimants meeting this criteria will have no work-related conditions.

      Gordon

      Comment by Gordon Conochie | February 23, 2011 | Reply

  3. Excellent!
    Its something!

    Comment by Casdok | February 17, 2011 | Reply

  4. Sorry Gordon but Carers Allowance is in effect means tested. If you earn more than £100 per week but still caring over 35 hours a week, you get nothing. Also, if you receive another benefit, e.g. Income Support, Carers Allowance is counted as income and taken off your overall entitlement. So unless you are in the minority of people who are neither on other state benefits, nor earning more than £100 p.a., you do not benefit from any financial support for your caring. This does not take into account the extra stress when juggling work and care; and in fact partners, spouses, etc, who are working and caring have their income counted when being assessed for charging for social care services. There is so much inequality and unfairness that I don’t necessarily see this as being that much of a victory. Sorry to be negative, but that’s the way it is.

    Jill

    Comment by Jill Pay | February 17, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi Jill
      You’re right, it is means tested against earnings, but not against savings or partner’s earnings which other benefits are and what could have happened.

      I agree with you that retaining Carer’s Allowance without any changes is not much of a victory, and that’s why we’ll keep pressing for improvements to it.
      Thanks Jill
      Gordon

      Comment by Gordon Conochie | February 23, 2011 | Reply

  5. If DLA is means tested and the caree loses benefit the carer will also lose the benefit?

    Comment by Richard Swain | February 17, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi Richard
      Eligibility for Carer’s Allowance will remain linked to the person receiving care qualifying for DLA, or the proposed Personal Independent Payment that will replace it. However, it will not be a means tested benefit.
      Gordon

      Comment by Gordon Conochie | February 23, 2011 | Reply

  6. Those getting Income Support AND Carers Allowance only get £30.05 for their Carers Allowance. So if you are deemed “on the bread line” in actual fact you get less than someone not claiming Income Support earning say £99.99 per week!
    I think this is what they mean by “Big Society”, its only fair to those who are in it “together”.
    Makes sense doesn’t it?

    lol

    Comment by ians12 | February 18, 2011 | Reply

    • actually, it’s more the other way round – you get £11ish for your Income Support, then they add the £30ish in Carer Premium. Those add-ons kick in because as a carer eligible for CA you have no other income or qualifying savings.

      You’re right in a way, though – will I (in the foregoing group) have to play along with Lord Snooty and neglect my elderly mum in order to top up my CA to a living income? Right now, “just” being a carer is enough…

      Comment by Sid Boggle | February 18, 2011 | Reply

  7. It’s a small victory unless they do something to change CA so that people lose out less and actually receive a reasonable rate rather than the second (third?) class level it is at the moment.

    However, CA has to exist to be able to do that, so it’s a step in the right direction.

    Comment by charles47 | February 18, 2011 | Reply

  8. CA should be linked to hours we care not to DLA. My sons an Aspie (ASpergers) and this is being so downplayed in ATOS testing that he will lose his high/medium DLA. This will then mean I will lose Ca and ofcause if I lose CA I lose Income Support. So this isn’t a victory, its a sell out. So please excuse me if I don’t do a celebration dance at becoming penniless!

    Comment by yvonne rea | March 10, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi Yvonne
      You are right that retaining Carer’s Allowance as it is is not something we should treat as a massive victory. We told the Govt that while we are happy they have left it out of the proposals, we will still campaign for improvements to Carer’s Allowance.
      We’re also campaigning on the DLA issue to make sure that carers don’t lose out as a result of changes. We have long argued that receiving Carer’s Allowance will not be solely linked to DLA.

      We’ll keep pushing it.
      Gordon

      Comment by Gordon Conochie | March 11, 2011 | Reply

      • Its also unfair that earnings can affect CA but savings can’t. In my case I had my son at 20, 28 years ago. Born an Aspie meant I had to take low paid jobs fitting around him and his sister. There was no opportunity to save. CA mostly benefits those that already have money, and lets face it, those with money don’t really need it.

        Comment by yvonne rea | March 15, 2011

  9. We would agree that it is as well that CA has not just been merged with other benefits however, I still think that the amount is an insult. An insult that since turning 65 I don’t even get. What should people like me do, park our cared for on the town hall steps? I am willing to bet that the nursing home charges they would then have to pay would be a heck of a lot more than CA.

    Comment by John Killick (Hon. Sec. Disabled Motorists Federation) | March 10, 2011 | Reply

  10. I have been told that income support does not affect carers allowance by the carers allowance team. However people are right when they say carer allowance is classed as income and is taken off an income support claim when its calculated. So in affect you get not much more than £90 a week ; £55 for carers allowance and £30.05 for carer premium and a few more pound for income support. In effect some professionally caring even working 4 hours a day and 4 days a week on £8 an hour would get £128 a week. Why not just pay carers more money! £100 a week threshold for working as well as caring means you are limited in the jobs you can do. Only certain jobs pay under £100 a week anyway. Why not be more flexible at work. I do voluntary work as well and only get travel expenses. So I make contributions to society both ways. If my dad was in care it would cost a fortune – the government are saving loads at £90 a week. It would be at least £400-£500 in some homes.

    Comment by Michael | April 5, 2011 | Reply

    • I gave up my teaching job when my boyfriend became very ill (HSP) to care for him.£1.57 per hour….for 35 hrs plus p/week….£55.00 to live on and am falling into heavy debt. The government have sold me out and make me feel like a criminal for working hard to owning my own house… lets see MP’s try living on this amount.. i used to give my children more in pocket money! thanks for nothing!

      Comment by Lorrinda | November 4, 2013 | Reply

  11. Im 22 and im a carer for my mum and dad, i have to look afterthem 24/7, the only time i leave the house is to get in shopping for them. i only get £55 a week and just about all of that goes to them, I wont be able to care for them forever, But for £55 a week i cant save up anything for the future.. For when i start my own family. There is many people out there in the same position as me, I got nothing to show for everything ive done. The government are saving so much, Yet we get payed so little for our hard work. This is absurd. Something has to change.

    Comment by Jason | February 23, 2012 | Reply

    • Congratulation for caring for your parents. you are the true Man.
      Robin Wood, used to steal from the weathiest to give to the poorest, BUT, our prime-minister steal from the poorest to feed the wealthiest, that’s the most shameful act for a human being, while alive. Shame on you david cameron.

      Comment by Robin Wood | May 17, 2015 | Reply

  12. It’s time that the Government paid a realistic amount to Carers! Not only do we deal with the everyday cooking, cleaning, washing etc for the people we care for, we also deal with sorting out financial affairs, personal care and constantly chasing up Doctors and hospitals for test results as well as trying to run our own home too. I had a job but had to give it up because of the constant time off for hospital appointments and illness and now have to try to exist on £80.00 per week – any savings I had are long gone. The way the Government treats Carers is as if they were scroungers. I would love to work and be able to get out and have just a few hours of normality, but even if I could get a part time job, what employer would tolerate someone having to constantly take time off for the constant hospital & doctor’s appointments.

    Comment by Alexandra | April 10, 2012 | Reply

  13. 13.if you belive that carers deserve to be paid a minimum wage then sign this petition

    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/8812

    Comment by andrew frost-bridges | June 9, 2012 | Reply

  14. Having recently given up my part time job to look after my mum full time, i must admit its hard financially. As a single mum to a 14yr old money and time is tight. Mum has dementia and can’t be left alone for long. Who’s going to look after her if my benefits are cut,because i won’t be able to.x

    Comment by sam | May 8, 2013 | Reply


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