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to expect the earnings limit for Carers to be reviewed?

(92 Posts)
CarerClaire Sun 24-Mar-13 22:12:37

The £100 cut-off earnings limit is out-dated & has NEVER risen in line with the minimum wage, other state benefits or inflation.

Carers provide an invaluable service & save the government £119 billion p/a

To qualify for Carers allowance you need to be caring for a minimum of 35 hours p/w - that leaves a lot of time for working age people to be able to seek some fulfilment outside of their caring duties, however with the minimum wage on £6.19 that restricts any jobs to 16hours p/w.

I find it a little out-dated angry
but then this is a benefit that was only made available to married women in 1986
So am I being unreasonable to expect the earnings limit to raise with the cost of living?

zebrafinch Mon 25-Mar-13 00:52:40

And whilst we are about it, I would like to see a six month run on for Carers Allowance for Carers of working age after the person being cared for has died. if I was in work and made redundant I would be eligible for 6 months contribution based JSA whilst I was seeking work. Why is it assumed that I could quickly find employment after years of caring, worn out physically and grief stricken?????

I think the £100 earnings limit may have some relation to the payment of national insurance contributions??? If we earned more than £100 a week we would be paying NI contribution which would entitle us to more than the Carers NI credited one. Just imagine it we could we be entitled to statutory sick pay when we became ill instead of our Carers Allowance being stopped !!! Also we could then be entitled to a contribution based 6 months Carers run on when caring ceased.

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 25-Mar-13 00:54:10

I meant didn't sound goady

zebrafinch Mon 25-Mar-13 01:12:15

Just checked on directgov. : to get statutory sick pay you need to be earning £107 a week. To pay class 1 national insurance contributions and claim the related benefits you need to earn £146 a week. Maybe the rationale to keeping Carers earnings low is to prevent the payment of Class 1 N I contributions? The NI contributions credited with Carers Allowance just go towards your state pension and not any other benefits.

VinegarDrinker Mon 25-Mar-13 06:54:01

It sounds as though my Mum would definitely be better off not working. She gets about the max allowed, plus CA, plus a small amount of CTC which will disappear soon as my brother is 19. No Income Support, no Housing Benefit, no free school meals. She gets a bit of maintenance from my Dad but that is it.

Why have a limit on earnings at all? At the very least it should be increased to a level that it's possible to live off.

lougle Mon 25-Mar-13 07:20:20

Benefit stoppage for children in hospital is a massive issue, trazzle. My SIL has a dd with cancer. She does everything for her dd in hospital. In the last month she had 6 days in for chemo, then overnight for platelets/blood, then developed shingles, so in for 4 days with IV abx, more blood/platelets, then 6.days off before the next round of chemo.

Once she hits 85 days in hospital, she loses DLA. Chemo cycles are every 3 weeks, so the 29 day linkage rule kicks in!

CarerClaire Mon 25-Mar-13 08:03:45

Lougle that must make things so much more complicated for your SIL.
At a time when her caring responsibilities are being stretched to the maximum sad
Hospitals often rely on the main carer when children are in hospital to have a full understanding of their complex needs - that is not getting a break from the caring responsibilities.
vinegar Why have a limit on earnings at all? At the very least it should be increased to a level that it's possible to live off.
A taper would be welcome to allow more flexibility for those that want to work

Trazzletoes Mon 25-Mar-13 09:01:26

lougle my DS has cancer too.

I have never heard of a 20-something day linkage though - what's that?

My DS has been in hospital now for nearly 7 weeks and I have no idea when he will be out (this is already after various chemo sessions and an operation) and I have been with him for almost every weekday. I'm extremely lucky to have a very understanding employer but I am still caring for him!!! I can understand that if he was 90, him being in hospital would be a break for me (I guess...) but he's not. He AND the medical staff need me to be here! I still do his medicines, his physiotherapy, I carry him around if he ever gets out of bed. I am up with him several times in the night... It is NO different to caring for him at home except that we can't leave this room.

lougle Mon 25-Mar-13 11:00:54

Trazzle this leaflet explains it.

"If your child gets Disability Living Allowance and is under 16, it will usually stop after they have been in hospital for more than 12 weeks. If your child goes into or comes out of hospital, you must tell the Disability and Carers Service straight away"

The trouble is, that they link the periods of time spent in hospital if there are less than 29 days between them. For example:

Child A: Admitted for surgery 01/04/2013, in for 3 days. 'Count' of 3 would be recorded until 03/05/13, when it would 'reset' to 0. If he was then readmitted on 10/05/2013, in for 13 days, his 'count' would be 13 until 21/06/2013, when it reset to 0.

Child B is admitted for the same surgery, on the same day. So, he gets his '3' count until 03/05/13 when it would reset to 0. Unfortunately, he has an infection so is readmitted on 01/05/13, just 27 days after his last day in hospital. He stays 13 days, but his 'count' is added to the previous count taking his total day count to 16.

Now, that's no big deal, unless you have a child with a chronic condition with a short treatment cycle (ie. cancer).

Take a 6 days on, 2 weeks off, cycle:

01/04/13-07/04/13: Chemo
07/04/13-21/04/13: Off chemo (but still popping in for bloods, infections blah blah)
22/04/13-28/04/13: Chemo

Those 6 days are added to the previous 6 days and make 12 days.

3 days later, low platelets, whatever - overnight in hospital

13 days

2 days after that - fever while neutropenic - 48 hrs ivabx

15 days

9 days later - 6 day chemo

21 days...

Very soon you can ramp up 85 days in hospital, because they've linked the attendances due to a rule that there has to be a break of 29 days to count as 'separate' attendances.

lougle Mon 25-Mar-13 11:11:31

Oh, and trazzle, I forgot to say - I follow your story, I lurk, but I check every day. I'm sorry that you are having such a scary time. Joe's very lucky to have you in his corner.

StickyFloor Mon 25-Mar-13 11:34:42

I gave up my career and £60k salary to become dd's carer, so CA was very welcome even though it was barely a drop in the ocean to what we lost.

Once she started school I managed to pick up some p-t work from home for £4000pa, and was then offered another contract on top of that for £2000pa. I had to turn the second piece of work down because I would have lost CA and been worse off despite working more.

I now feel totally trapped. My old career is destroyed and I can't slowly build up individual pieces of contract work because of the cliff edge CA rules.

I wrote to IDS and he didn't even bother to reply. Bastard.

bochead Mon 25-Mar-13 12:05:12

Sticky - my situation is very similar except I haven't managed to find that elusive part time position that meets the CA rules (simply the nature of my old career).

I had no idea the hospital rules were that stupid, even cruel. So at a time when a family is beside themselves with worry the ballifs come knocking re the mortgage etc - fantastic.

It would be wonderful if carers didn't get caught in the benefits trap quite so effectively, if only because the resulting huge gaps on the CV is never a good thing.

raspberrytart Mon 25-Mar-13 12:33:48

I claim CA for my son, however I am a self employed childminder and dont need childcare(well I do but cant get anyone to look after him)
I earn over the £100 a week and they say Im still entitled. Not complaining! but it doesnt seem fair.

bochead Mon 25-Mar-13 12:42:19

I thought about childminding, but don't have a suitable home sad. Shame, as all those courses I've attended to help DS would be of benefit.

ouryve Mon 25-Mar-13 12:46:55

YANBU, but knowing this lot, they'll move it the other way.

ouryve Mon 25-Mar-13 12:55:19

Sock - it's risen once since I started claiming, 4 or 5 years ago. ONCE.

ouryve Mon 25-Mar-13 12:57:24

>And I quite agree a Carer has to be caring for at least 35 hours per week but that leaves lots of hours they should be able to earn more and work more than 16 hours as long as they still have 35 hours available to care

So who does the caring when the carer is at work?

CarerClaire Mon 25-Mar-13 13:02:41

raspberry I wonder how that works?

I must say, out of all the Government/LA benefit departments CA & DLA are the most fantastic to have dealings with. 'Real' benefit processors answer the phones directly shock (no call centres) & they are always very helpful when I ask for my annual taxable amount ( though why we aren't sent a P60 like other taxable benefits I don't understand)

starfishmummy Mon 25-Mar-13 13:03:36

The earnings limit has risen - when I first went back to work it was iirc £80.

It still should rise though as should cares allowance.

CarerClaire Mon 25-Mar-13 13:07:42

ouryve My child is at a SEN school - I'm 'available' for work 9am - 3pm, though I also have access to a specialist after-school club.

I'm not suggesting Carers should work Full-time & receive extra help as many of us have caring responsibilities over-night so we'd find it hard to function, just for some flexibility to work in our chosen field & remain in work as much as possible.

chapterten Mon 25-Mar-13 13:34:42

Ah yes, I remember it rose from £97 to £100 a few years ago. The CA was £55 something as well when I first claimed, so it has gone up a bit. I've only been claiming it for a few years, so I just assumed it regularly increased every year or so.

I have to admit I haven't paid that much attention to the earnings details though, simply because I can't imagine having time to work. Even though DS is in SN school, I'm definitely not available 9am-3pm. I often have to take him out of school for appointments, or have to use that time to do errands/chores/admin that I can't get done once he's at home. I also attend regular training sessions/parent support groups which I really need (lots of sessions recently on things like benefit changes), or just read up on his condition to help meet his caring needs.

What does annoy me is the fact that you can't be a f/t student whilst claiming CA. I do some p/t study now, and I could do f/t modules and still meet my caring requirements, but I can't risk losing my CA as it's the passport benefit to my IS/HB/CTB etc.

ouryve Mon 25-Mar-13 13:48:21

Both of my boys are at school, too, though with no after school clubs, no holiday care and no care on days like today, when one of them has diarrhoea so is off school. Allowing travelling time, I'm available for work 24 hours a week (assuming I could work 9:40-2:20 to allow for the buses) , 39 weeks a year, minus days off for sick kids, school refusals and appointments.

Sock seemed to be under the impression that the need to be available to care for 35 hours minimum, meant that carers were free to work all the rest of the week, forgetting that carers quite often have caring commitments that extend way beyond that 35 hours.

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 25-Mar-13 16:28:27

I didnt forget anything of the sort. The gov requires you to be caring for at least 35 hours per week,

I'm not saying you should HAVE to work any hours above your caring work just that if you want to it should not mean you lose your CA should your particular circumstances enable you to do so if you wish to.

I personally think the earnings limit is wank because it restricts carers to low paid work should they wish to do paid work.

If they are going to restrict you from working anymore than 16 hours then they should be open and honest and say you have to be a Carer for 100pw but they won't because quite rightly there would be an they do they same thing just in a arse about face way the end result is it screws over carers.

I am a Carer I have 5 disabled children who require round the clock care but as far as the gov's concerned I'm not one because I earn more than £100pw that's wrong. Just the same as its wrong to any other Carer who can't get any additional support should they go above that earnings level or the thousands of carers who no one knows exist because they work 17 hours pw.

I personally wouldn't claim anything because I don't have to but there are shit loads of people whose only option is to either drop an hours employment or salary just to get the recognition they deserve.

I know how much the carers I employ to care in my absence cost and how much residential costs a week everyone able to claim CA or caring but not claiming is saving the tax payer a bloody fortune you shouldn't have to jump through hoops and practically beg for the pittance they begrudgingly give you.

Owllady Mon 25-Mar-13 17:50:15

I would find it more helpful if the local authority fulfilled their obligations to support me as a carer to work

If i received the right level of care in order for it to be financially viable to work and with appropriate respite, I wouldn't even need to claim carers allowance at all. The reluctance and denial of my working position caused me to give up my job completely in order to care.

I also think though the carers allowance rate is pitifully low considering how much foster carers would be paid to do the same job (not that I have anything at all against foster carers)

Owllady Mon 25-Mar-13 17:52:33

have just scrolled back a bit

arf at the caring only being 35 hours per week! I had four hours sleep last night and haven't been able to stop all day either. Unfortunately I am ageing at a rate of nots

lurkerspeaks Mon 25-Mar-13 20:30:39

You need to be careful about the hospital admissions stuff. My Mum was disabled and got DLA. My Dad got carers allowance.

Her health deteriorated dramatically towards the end of last summer and she was admitted. We were all really stressed as her deterioration was precipitate and life threatening. It took my Dad 6 weeks to get around to notifing the carers allowance unit of her admission. He apologised in his letter for the delay, explained why it had occurred and stated that he was happy to repay any overpayment made to him. Fortunately he did this by recorded delivery letter so we know they received it.

He heard nothing more for 4 months. Then a week after my Mother's death he received a letter stating "it has come to our attention that you failed to inform us in a timely manner of your late wives admission to hospital on X date..... If you do not reply to this letter within 7 days we will apply a a £50 civil penalty notice".

He was distraught when he was already distraught. He has still not received a proper apology and neither he, nor my brother or I can find a definition anywhere on their website stating what timescales apply for notifications. Ironically the previous summer he had surgery and was unable to care for my Mother to the extent that he usually did. He wrote to notify them and was berated that he should only provide "relevant information" and that his claim would not be affected. He was left feeling that he couldn't win!

By contrast other government agencies we have had contact with could not have been more helpful or sympathetic.

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