Posted on 27.1.16 by Michael Smoult
The current Carer’s Allowance means that you can claim no more than £500 a week if you look after someone who isn’t a partner or child under 18 and you are part of a couple or have young children. If you are single and don’t have young children, the maximum you can claim is £350.
Many carers are already hard-pressed and run unforgiving schedules but the new Welfare Reform and Work Bill proposes to lower the £500 significantly. If you live outside of London this cap would be reduced to £385 (if you live in the capital the reduced figure is £442). If you are single or don’t have any children, the Bill plans to reduce the £350 cap to £258 outside London and £296 inside London. There isn’t much time to manoeuvre and plan ahead as the proposed changes would take effect from April 2016.
Are all carers affected?
The only carers who would be protected from the cap are those who either look after a partner or a child under 18. This means the prospective Carer’s Allowance changes would impact on all other full time carers, including those of:
- Adult children
- Disabled parents
If you are a carer of one of the bullet points above, you are not protected from the cap.
Can these proposed changes be stopped?
Carers UK are petitioning to the Department of Work and Pensions to protect all full time carers, regardless of their relation to those whom they care for. They say a cap to the benefits may have a significant and negative impact on thousands of carers.
Head of Advice and Information at Carers UK, Eddy Graham, said: “Around one million carers in total are entitled to Carer’s Allowance, but the number affected by these caps is in the low thousands, so we believe that it would be easier and more equitable for the exemption to apply to all these people.
“The current cap is unfair because, even when a disabled child turns 18, their needs are the same, and it can be even harder for their carers as they are no longer within the education system and they have to go through adult social services for further support.”
The Government has announced that all carers who work more than 35 hours a week for an adult relative would be exempt from the cap. Those who look after children were already exempt from the cap. This is a significant victory for carers and carers’ rights.
Gorvins are hosting two events specifically designed to help carers on Tuesday 1st March and Thursday 3rd March. The all-day event on 1st March (10am – 3pm), which is being held at our offices in Stockport, is aiming to help carers, and those who they care for, plan for the future. In attendance will be a range of local organisations and expert speakers providing information, advice and support on a range of topics from finances, budgets, community care, practical care and legal necessities. Our second event on 3rd March is for ‘Carers of Young Adults with a Disability’. This is an evening event, 6 – 8pm, from our Stockport offices where expert help will be on hand.