75 organisations again call on Government to make carer’s allowance Fairer for Carers

Mon,2 November 2020
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Carers UK and 74 other organisations, including DR UK, have joined together to again call on the Government to recognise the financial impact the coronavirus pandemic continues to have on carers.

Four months ago the organisations wrote to the Work and Pensions Secretary to recognise the financial difficulties unpaid carers are facing during the pandemic and introduce a supplement to carer’s allowance.

Yet the Government has still not acknowledged or responded to the letter.

Research by Carers UK, released a fortnight ago, shows well over a third (36%) of carers receiving carer’s allowance - just £67.25 a week for 35 hours or more of care - are struggling to make ends meet, with 15% having been in debt because of caring.

During the lockdown 81% of carers said they are spending more money during the coronavirus outbreak - as they face rising costs include higher domestic bills, paying for additional care and support services, buying equipment to adapt homes, and purchasing technology to help with caring.

The 75 organisations are calling for the Government to urgently make carers allowance Fairer for Carers by:

  • introducing an additional supplement to carer’s allowance, to match the recent £20 increase in Universal Credit and working tax credit;
  • making and backdating accompanying rises to carer premium and carer addition and for this payment to be made to carers with an underlying entitlement to carer’s allowance, so older carers on low incomes can also benefit;
  • raising the earnings limit of just £128 a week for claiming carer’s allowance, to ensure those juggling work and care on low pay also receive financial support.

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said that the rate of carer’s allowance, just £67.25 a week for a minimum of 35 hours of care, barely reflects the support that carers currently provide.

She added that:

“It is not too late for the Government to act and acknowledge the additional practical and financial strain that has been placed on carers during the crisis, by putting in place much needed financial support ahead of this coming winter.”

Ken Butler DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser said:

“DR UK fully supports increased financial support for carers and the call for the £20 week uplift to be extended to other ‘legacy’ benefits, such as ESA. This uplift must be kept and extended to these ‘legacy’ benefits on the grounds that:

  • anything else would be discriminatory;
  • disabled people already face additional costs and reduced benefits; and
  • disabled people in particular face increased costs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Even before the Covid-19 crisis, benefit cuts and austerity hit disabled people the hardest.

Are those on ESA and other legacy benefits and carers allowance facing significant extra costs due to the pandemic like those on Universal Credit? The answer is clearly yes - so the £20 increase should also be payable to them.”

A copy of the open letter and information about the Fairer for Carers campaign are available from carersuk.org.

See also available from disabilityrightsuk.org: