Care: Research shows a quarter of UK adults are carers
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As more than a million Britons who rely on the carer’s allowance are set for a pay rise in April 2022, charities are urging others to check whether they could be eligible for the benefit. It could mean an extra £3,515 per year.
However, campaigners including poverty charity Turn2Us are concerned that not everyone knows about the allowance and that people aren’t getting all the financial help they need.
Who can claim Carer’s Allowance?
- The person being cared for must be getting a benefit because of their disability, such as:
- Attendance Allowance for disabled people over pension age.
- The middle or high rate care component of Disability Living Allowance for children with disabilities.
- Either level of the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment for working age disabled people.
- Armed Forces Independence Payment for people with disabilities as a result of their service in the armed forces.
- Constant Attendance Allowance (of £73.20 or more) paid with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, or basic (full day) rate with a War Disablement Pension.
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Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said while she welcomed the increase it wasn’t enough.
She fears many carers will be forced to make tough decisions.
Ms Walker said: “Despite the rise, carers are still losing out on working hours year on year as increases have not kept pace with the National Living Wage or average wage rises.
“This is completely counter to the Government’s objective to make work pay.”
She continued: “What we need urgently is a system that legislates for a year-on-year rise, in line with at least 16 times the National Living Wage.
“This would allow carers to remain in work which is so important for a carer’s income and finances in the short and longer term – and many also want to work.
“Carer’s Allowance still remains the lowest benefit of its kind for which carers need to provide at least 35 hours of care per week although we know that many provide round the clock care.
“They see it as insulting that the benefit rates are so low and especially since the care they provide is equivalent to £193billion for a year during the pandemic.”
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She insisted that the health and social care system in the UK would have collapsed without unpaid carers’ support.
Ms Walker added: “We urgently need to see a rise in carers’ benefits that better recognises the support that carers provide.
“We cannot continue to value unpaid carers so little within society by keeping Carer’s Allowance as the lowest benefit of its kind.
“Scotland has introduced a Carer’s Allowance Supplement which would normally be worth £231.40 every six months, but they have doubled this to £462.80 due to extra costs faced by carers in the pandemic.
“Sadly, this leaves carers in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland even further behind. We’re asking the Government to do the right thing and recognise carers.”
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