Understanding the lives of those who care

Developing a clearer understanding of the Carer’s Allowance claimant group

by Gary Fry, Benedict Singleton, Sue Yeandle and Lisa Buckner

This study explores the caring situations and other circumstances of carers who receive Carer’s Allowance (CA). Almost one million carers who provide 35 or more hours of care to a person in receipt of certain qualifying benefits are entitled to CA, and over half a million were ‘in payment’ in 2009. This report is based on survey data from over 500 current CA recipients, and qualitative data from 83 of these, a review of previous literature and new analysis of official Department for Work and Pensions’ statistics on the full range of CA customers.

The study highlights CA customers’ wide range of demanding caring roles, (in most cases supporting a son, daughter, parent or spouse with a serious illness or disability). It draws attention to their relatively poor health, to the challenges they face in managing their caring situation, often with limited support, and to their difficulty in combining their caring with paid work. The study, and the recommendations it makes, draws particular attention to the services and support needs of CA customers, their aspirations relating to paid employment, and how the design of CA – including the rules on eligibility for CA and the limit on CA customers’ earnings from paid work – interact with carers’ other benefits and with other services and support carers may receive. The report concludes that a review of CA features relating to these issues is particularly important for the well-being and longer-term financial security of this group, and for their sense of being valued for their role by society at large.

see report in full here

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