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or naive, to be so shocked about carers payments?

(139 Posts)
boschy Fri 28-Mar-14 11:38:23

My DM, aged 83 gets lower level attendance allowance. Her mobility has significantly declined recently so I spoke to Age UK about the chance of increasing it.

To get higher level, a princely £80 per week, you have to have someone in the house all night, and ideally apparently sitting up with the person, rather than sleeping in the next room as I have been doing.

To get carers allowance, another magnificent sum of £59.75 per week, you have to provide care for 35 hours per week - oh, and if you earn more than £100 a week you're not entitled to it anyway. And its taxable.

I always knew carers got a raw deal, but this just absolutely takes the piss. I love my mum, and I am doing 35 hours caring a week at the moment, the fact that I wont get the allowance wont stop me of course.

I am just so so shocked at the low level of the money. How on earth does anyone manage to survive?

I hope that as she gets better her mobility will improve and I will be less involved - but carers of the world, I salute you.

Dawndonnaagain Fri 28-Mar-14 11:48:56

No, there has to be a need for someone to be in the house, you do not have to do waking nights or be in the same room for attendance allowance.
Carers allowance is £66 and some pennies from April.

TruffleOil Fri 28-Mar-14 11:54:57

I've always found it terribly shocking. I really feel for those who have disabled children & can't work. They shouldn't be subjected to a life of poverty.

boschy Fri 28-Mar-14 11:59:03

I dont know what level I thought the funding would be, and I assumed not enough to have a herd of goats and a 400" plasma tv - but at least a liveable amount would be a start.

Jesuisunepapillon Fri 28-Mar-14 11:59:34

It's why if you have a disabled member of the family you're so much more likely to live in poverty. And things have gotten drastically worse in the last few years.

Joysmum Fri 28-Mar-14 12:00:12

I don't know how things have changed but that certainly wasn't the criteria at the time my FIL first became entitled to higher rate carers allowance.

I hope somebody more up to date in their knowledge will he along soon to help.

lazypepper Fri 28-Mar-14 12:00:33

Gosh, I didn't know it was such a low payment either.

shameful.

Dawndonnaagain Fri 28-Mar-14 12:02:08

Boschy Please reapply, the criteria you have been told is wrong.

goldencity1 Fri 28-Mar-14 12:02:37

My MiL got the higher rate attendance allowance. She was helped by someone, I think from age concern or the Parkinson's society], to fill in the long and complicated form. She got this as she often needed help in the night to get to the toilet as she was worried about falling again after several falls in the bathroom. There was no need for anyone to be sitting up all night with her, just that she may need help in the night.

Don't give up, she should get it. And I would apply for cares allowance as well, If you are not working. Not sure but I think that if you are granted it, it opens up other benefits as well...so worth checking.

Sparklysilversequins Fri 28-Mar-14 12:03:30

I am a carer of two disabled children and cannot work. This is my life.

I long ago stopped going up against people who bitch about CA and DLA because it's completely futile.

It's nice to see some awareness in this thread though.

LoonvanBoon Fri 28-Mar-14 12:04:15

That really is shocking. I also naively assumed it would be much more.

HairyMaclary Fri 28-Mar-14 12:05:40

The carer's allowance criteria is correct, not sure about the attendance allowance though as I can't claim for that!

Sparklysilversequins Fri 28-Mar-14 12:07:34

Oh and in addition, although I have TWO disabled children I only receive one amount of CA. This is the case even if you are caring for multiple disabled family members.

pumpkinsweetie Fri 28-Mar-14 12:10:06

It's a pittance it really issad
When my mum cared for my teen brother who died from cancer all she recieved was around £65 many years ago. She had to be at his side 24/7 and care for him around the clock aswell as be in London with him through treatments. She could barely afford to feed herself and with her shitty partner at the time being on low income she wasn't entitled to transport costs either. Bare in mind my poor brother had a hip replacement and 3/4 amputation from where the cancer was spreadingsad
If it wasn't for my father supporting my mother (his ex wife) by driving them to and fro london regularly they would have had to use the trains and tubes which would have put him at risk of neutrapenia

This country is a disgrace it really is when it comes to things like this!

Birdsgottafly Fri 28-Mar-14 12:24:41

You don't get Carers allowance if you are on some benefits, Widowed Parents allowance is one.

So if you were widowed and your DC disabled in the same accident, one benefit would cancel out the other.

You also don't get it if you are in full time education, but I know people who are counted as being on a full time course but in reality only do a half day.

Considering Caring only has to be 35 hours a week, a full time course would still allow this.

So I have always wondered about the justification for this.

Carers save the country a fortune and Care plans can be cut down on by half, because of Carers, which saves at least a couple of hundred £, but closer to thousands.

Carers are targeted by Universal Credit.

The need for Child Carers should make the UK government hang their head in shame.

ArtexMonkey Fri 28-Mar-14 12:31:53

It's a complete disgrace. As Birds says, carers save the state a shit ton of money.

boschy Fri 28-Mar-14 12:36:52

it's just something that has always been on the fringes of my mind til now - I know caring is a low paid job (but I assume NMW if you work in a care home for example), but I really had not appreciated the pittance that is paid.

I work (freelance) but my base income is too high to claim carers. I will relook at higher level attendance, but hopefully she will reach the point where she is happy to be alone at night again, and it should be a temporary thing rather than long term one, so probably not worth the hassle.

so disgusting that one benefit cancels out the other, and how the fuck you dont get the allowance for 2 children if both are disabled... words fail me.

ricericebaby Fri 28-Mar-14 12:37:06

I had to quit my "full time" college course after 5 weeks because I could barely feed my family without the pittance that is carers allowance. I was and am still caring the same amount of time as my disabled DD was and is in school the same time as I was at college! Total madness. I was still caring all afternoon, evening and night plus weekends, school holidays etc the exact same as I am doing now. No chance to better myself :-(

boschy Fri 28-Mar-14 12:39:39

rice that's just plain stupid. why do they think the 35 hours week caring fits between 9-5 5 days a week? aaarrrgh, where/who do I lobby/complain/hit head on brick wall to?

fiverabbits Fri 28-Mar-14 12:42:06

When I became entitled to my state pension the carers allowance I received for my disabled son was stopped. My son still gets DLA and nothing else has changed but because he is 33 years old neither of us can claim anything in the form of caring help. I still look after him as he still is disabled and lives with me. I have had 13 days off in 24 years !

ricericebaby Fri 28-Mar-14 12:45:18

My thoughts exactly boschy! I spoke to the carers allowance people at the time and explained and they said "you have to be caring 35 hours a week or more" I said I am! Who's up 5-6 times a night looking after her? Who's there when she's sick or school is off? Who's making sure all her medication is taken, dressing her, making sure she's eating, bathing her? All that takes up more than 35 hours a week. I got silence at the other end of the phone then they repeated about the 35 hours... Head meet desk.

ricericebaby Fri 28-Mar-14 12:46:50

I should point out that DD being up 5-6 times is a good nights sleep in this house grin

MsRyanGosling Fri 28-Mar-14 12:53:41

fiverabbits you might be now entitled to something called Carer Premium (£33)as you have what they call underlying entitlement to Carers Allowance (entitled to it but can't receive because of overlapping benefit/pension). It isn't applied automatically you have to actively apply.

Have a benefit check/pension credit check to find out.

StickyFloor Fri 28-Mar-14 13:03:33

I wrote to IDS a couple of weeks ago about the unfairness and inadequacy of CA. I gave up my £60k salary and career when I had disabled dd and there was no CM or preschool or nursery who could care for her when I went back to work. Now she is at school but I can't work much as I am up half the night with her anyway.

My complaint was that the limit of £100pw earnings mean that I am limited to living off a max of £160pw for evermore. I can do bits and pieces of freelance work which I could do from home and fit in around dd easily but as I currently earn approx. £4000pa on some regular work I am turning down lots of smaller pieces of work because if I go a penny over £100pw I lose the entire CA. It makes no sense.

The response I got from DWP was that CA is intended to be a notional contribution for Carers. The earnings limit is there because Caring should be your main activity, not any paid employment.

For me I think CA should be assessed on the number of hours you act as a carer, and if you qualify then how much you work and earn in addition to earning should be unlimited.

I have written back again and am awaiting a response. I want them to explain what relevance the earnings limit has and why they are resigning carers to live in poverty.

MsRyanGosling Fri 28-Mar-14 13:09:01

They are upping the earnings limit so a carer can work 16h NMW and still claim CA. I think that means some people will also qualify for tax credits, although CA will be counted as income [mad]

Announced at the budget last week iirc.

http://www.carersuk.org/professionals/resources/briefings/item/3467-what-budget-2014-means-for-carers

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