Posts Tagged ‘Carers’

Response from Paul Burstow re LibDem policies for carers

30 July 2014

Recently CarerWatch posted a response relating to a manifesto promise for carers from the LibDems.  You can read it here

We received wide spread support for the post, and also exchanged tweets with Paul Burstow, Liberal Democrat MP for Sutton and Cheam. As a result we contacted Mr Burstow asking if he wished to respond more fully to our comments.  (Many carers are tied to the home and engaging online is their only way of engaging with politicians.)

You can read his reply below……..

Feel free to add comments/questions. We will be sending copies to Mr Burstow, along with politicians from other parties.  Any replies will be posted in the open again.

 

A few weeks ago Nick Clegg announced the first of a series of policies for carers.  The Carer’s Bonus, £250 paid annually, on top of the Carers Allowance, for the carer to use as they see fit.  The proposal sparked a lot of debate, and CarerWatch posted a strong critique of the plan.  I am grateful for the opportunity to respond.

Caring responsibilities can come at any time in a person’s life and can exact a heavy price in both health and wealth. About 6 in 10 of us will become carers at some point in our lives, and 45% of carers have given up work to care.

The bonus idea was developed by the Liberal Democrats Ageing Society Working Group, which I chair, as part of our Age Ready Britain policy paper.

The bonus would be paid annually to Carers to use as they see fit, for example as a contribution toward extra costs such as taking a break. To start with it would be set at £125, doubling to £250 no later than 2020. The Bonus is more like a direct payment to contribute to things like respite care. It is not intended to be an answer to all the financial challenges faced by Carers.

This would put extra money in Carers’ hands to make their own decisions about how it can best support them.  The Carer’s Bonus marks out our commitment to promoting the wellbeing of carers and is the first of a number of proposals aimed at better supporting carers that we spell out in our policy paper Age Ready Britain which will be published in September.

The £250 payment would be available to around a million people based on underlying entitlement to the benefit. So, for example, pensioners who are eligible for Carers allowance but because of overlapping benefit rules do not receive it would receive the Bonus.  It would start at £125 and increase year on year to £250 no later than 2020.

The proposal builds on measures we have taken in Government like investing £400mn in NHS funded respite breaks, or new rights for Carers in the Care Act and Children and Families Act, and rights to flexible working.

I agree with the comments about the earnings disregard and the withdrawal of the benefit when engaged in education and these are issues we address on Age Ready Britain.

Thank you for the opportunity to respond.

Paul

* Paul Burstow is Liberal Democrat MP for Sutton and Cheam.

 

 

 

CarerWatch response to LibDems manifesto promise for carers

6 July 2014

According to Mr Clegg, some carers experience ‘an unbearable burden’. As such, under the LibDem election promise, they will receive a ‘reward’ paid annually to allow them to have a break. This ‘reward’? £125 a year paid to those who receive carers allowance only. He suggests that ‘ Some carers might use the money to hire a care assistant to help them out for a week’

How out of touch are the Lib Dems?

 

Mr Clegg, have you ever tried to employ a care assistant for £125 a week? 

Mr Clegg, have you ever tried working 24/7 and only having one week a year off? (Many carers get no breaks at all)

Mr Clegg, are you aware that many carers are not entitled to Carers Allowance

Carers do not want you to ‘show our thanks and ease the pressure the nation’s carers face’ by giving some of us a paltry £125 a year.

pennies

Carers Allowance is paid at a rate below that of all other income replacement benefits. Consequently any annual uprating has a minimal impact and does not reflect the rise in the cost of living, reducing carers spending power year on year and increasing the income gap between carers and the rest of society.

Carers in receipt of other income replacement benefits are excluded from claiming Carers Allowance due to the overlapping benefit rule.

Carers who have previously been entitled to Carers Allowance find that this is removed on reaching retirement age causing distress and anger, this can be after decades of caring for a sick or disabled relative.

The current £102 earnings limit at which Carers Allowance is withdrawn is a disincentive for carers who could combine work and caring to contemplate work or, for those in part-time employment, to increase their hours.

The withdrawal of Carers Allowance when a carer embarks on an educational course at college or university that entails more than 21 hours study per week acts as a barrier to carers wishing to engage in education and training in order to update their skills with a view to entering or re-entering the workplace. Many financially-assisted educational courses do not have Carers Allowance on their list of qualifying benefits for reduced fees, making engaging in education unaffordable.

Correction added, thanks to Charles47  ( The blog has a mistake: the 21 hour rule is notional. If the course is for (example) 10 hours only, but the college or university calls it a full time course – you lose your Carers Allowance. So for many carers, there’s no incentive to train.)

For many carers, caring is a full-time occupation. In order to qualify for Carers Allowance, either paid or underlying,  a carer must spend a minimum of 35 hours caring per week, many carers care for substantially more than the minimum 35 hours. Although not perceived as such, caring is a full-time job and can involve meeting physical needs, psychological needs and social needs, supervision, prompting, dealing with health and care services, managing finances, medication, cleaning, shopping, virtually every aspect of daily living.

Carers have no regular hours of work, have no entitlement to breaks, days off, holidays or sick leave, they are not covered by health and safety legislation and frequently suffer injury as a consequence of caring. For the majority of full-time carers employment is not an option, for those they care for, being left with strangers is not an option.

Scissors

The real term reductions in Treasury funding for local authorities has resulted in tightening eligibility criteria, the closure of day centres and increased care costs, reducing the number of people able to access or afford social care. Family carers are increasingly providing the care that would have been previously been provided by the State.

All governments, past and present, have demonstrably failed to meet the financial needs of carers who do not have the option of taking up employment.

CarerWatch members believe that family carers are not an optional extra to be added on as an after thought.  ALL political parties need to amend their attitude towards family carers and make some speed in deciding how to adequately fund family carers.

To this end, we strongly advise Mr Clegg and his party to go back to the drawing board.

Carers do not need half baked promises/policies that will bring about so little change for so few carers.

Leaders-debate-002

Time will tell what manifesto promises Labour and Conservative parties bring forth. We remember well the hustings of 2010.

Carer issues were aired more than ever, and yet there has been NO real improvements.

Watch this space

 

.Please feel free to leave comments below

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Carer issues judicial review proceedings against Iain Duncan Smith

14 June 2014

A disabled grandmother and her granddaughter who provides full time care for her have this week issued judicial review proceedings in the High Court against the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, challenging the inclusion of Carer’s Allowance in the ‘benefit cap.’  The benefit cap policy has been in force across the country since September 2013.

The government has already conceded that the cap had unintended consequences for victims of domestic violence living in women’s refuges, and after the families case was heard in the Court of Appeal, Ian Duncan Smith with no fanfare amended the regulations to remove women’s refuges from the cap.

The proceedings issued this week highlight another consequence of the cap, which may surprise those who consider that the cap achieves fairness. Included in the group of families who are capped are those who receive Carer’s Allowance. To qualify for Carer’s Allowance the benefit claimant has to be providing upwards of 35 hours a week care to a severely disabled person. This means that anyone receiving Carer’s Allowance is by definition not available to work, because they must be providing care.

read in full here

3.      The judicial review challenges Part 8A of the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006, which was inserted by the Benefit Cap (Housing Benefit) Regulations 2012, SI 2012/2994, pursuant to section 96 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012.  The claimants argue that the Regulations are discriminatory and unreasonable.  They also argue that the Secretary of State did not take proper account of the impact of the policy on carers and those they care for, and is irrational.

 

 

Carers Week Quest 9–15 June 2014

9 June 2014

The Carers Week Quest is an exciting new initiative to encourage improved collaborative working in local communities to reach out to carers. It aims to reach out to the thousands of carers in the UK who are currently missing out on services and support.

At the heart of activity will be a focus on working together in local communities to reach as many carers as possible during Carers Week which takes place from Monday 9 to Sunday 15 June 2014.

On this website you will find information and ideas about how you can take part in the Carers Week and pledge your support to the Carers Week Quest by sharing how you plan to reach out to the thousands of carers missing out on support and services.

Further details can be found here

 

 

 

Blue badges and Pip, Fraud, and also Care for adults

17 March 2014

Upcoming business
Wednesday, 26 March 2014

 

Lords: Main Chamber

Access to blue badges for vehicles following the introduction of the Personal Independence Payment – Lord Touhig Oral Questions

Commons: Select Committees

Work and Pensions: Fraud and error in the benefits system

9:30 am   Witnesses: Private sector companies and electronic payment system operators

Public Accounts: Care for adults in England

2:15 pm  Witnesses: Sandie Keene, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and Director of Adult Social Care Services, Leeds City Council and Emily Holzhausen, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Carers UK; Sir Bob Kerslake, Permanent Secretary, Department for Communities and Local Government and Jon Rouse, Director General, Social Care, Local Government and Care Partnerships, Department of Health

 

 

 

Caring for parents and elderly relatives

4 March 2014

 

Womans Hour today discussed caring for parents.  You can listen to it here

Like it or not many of us are living longer and as we approach the end of our
lives, many of us  need more rather than less care.  Often it falls to the next
generation – the adult children, relatives, sometimes even neighbours or friends
– to pick up the reigns.  We’re looking at what happens when you’re called on to
provide this kind of care for parents and other relatives.

 

How involved are you? 

Are you able to share the responsibilities with your siblings or other
relatives?

What impact does caring for them have on your own life and other
family responsibilities. 

Have you thought about moving a parent in with you or perhaps moved into their home instead.  Or perhaps you’ve helped to move them
into some kind of sheltered accommodation or care home. 

We’re going to be exploring the other side of the coin too – how it feels to ask for help when living independently becomes a problem. Author Carol Lee joins Jane in the
studio. Her memoir Out of Winter, explore how she cared for her parents long
distance. We also hear from listeners and from Nel Hales, who is still
living independently at the age of one hundred.

 

 

Seasons Greetings from CarerWatch – support available

24 December 2013

As many family carers know, Christmas time can be more stressful. Through social media and various forums, there is some online support available.

handsOur members are carers, people with disabilities, and some cases they are both. We will be checking emails through out, and will do our utmost to direct anyone to support.

Carers UK  – Getting support over the Christmas holidays.  Support forum

CarersTrust  –  discussion and support forum

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)

WoWPetition team

Alzheimers  Society – Talking Point

MS Society forum

MacMillan Cancer Support

Act Now for Autism

The above just a small example of the support available. Most groups have facebook pages too, wherein you will be able to chat with others, who will understand what you are going through.

Any queries please email  admin@carerwatch.com   and we will reply as soon as possible.

Seasons Greetings from CarerWatch admin team and members

x x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carers and Welfare reform – phone in Money Box Live

1 October 2013

carers_uk_logo2Head of Advice and Information Carers UK,  Jean French,  will be answering your questions on applying for welfare benefits as part of BBC Radio 4’s Money Box Live.

If you would like to ask a question call 03700 100 444 from 1pm to 3.30pm

on Wednesday October 2nd 2013

 

or e-mail moneybox@bbc.co.uk

You can listen to the programme live tomorrow at 1pm at this link: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03brqlc

Carers – They walk among us, unseen, unheard but ever near

1 October 2013

IDS1

This week sees the Tory conference held in Manchester. Various ministers have already spoken but today we will hear from a man, Iain Duncan Smith,  who for many carers is the biggest failure to date.

Past, and present governments, have continuously ignored the plight of carers, a group of people that give so much. Their Love, and the care they provide,  taken for granted by those in power.

So why has Iain Duncan Smith failed miserably?  

We are in the middle of the biggest shake up to the welfare system for over 60 years, changes that see many benefits changed/cut, support withdrawn, and yet the issues surrounding the LOWEST benefit of all were not addressed. Carers Allowance is just £59.75 and care must be provided to a minimum of 35 hours .

In the report Breakthrough Britain, by the Centre for Social Justice, a think tank of which Mr Smith is Chairman, they reported that…

Family carers are undervalued in our society and receive a disproportionately low level of financial support given the many hours of work that they do.

Carers of elderly and disabled people are not adequately resourced or recognize for the work they do

Mr Smith has missed a golden opportunity to reform this benefit.

Carers have accepted their responsibility, WHEN will government accept theirs

 

 

 

BEDROOM TAX: CARERS FACING DEBT, EVICTION AND FOOD POVERTY

10 July 2013

Received from CarersUK

Government failing to protect carers and disabled people

from ‘spare room’ cuts 

Carers are being hard hit by the Government ‘bedroom tax’ cuts to Housing Benefit – despite Ministers’ promises of support to protect carers and disabled people. New research by Carers UK, published 100 days after the introduction of the ‘bedroom tax’ lays bare the shocking impact of the policy on families caring for disabled loved ones. Carers UK interviewed 100 carers affected by the changes, and the findings include:

 

read in full on this link below

 

Bedroom Tax – carers facing debt, eviction and food poverty – Carers UK

 

 

 


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