Carers to lose £3,000 after benefit changes

AT least 450 carers will lose £3,000 because of changes to the benefit system, according to the Scottish Government. Holyrood have also said that the final figure could be much higher, but the Department for Work and Pension is holding back information.

The news came as the Conservative Government confirmed plans for “significant” cuts to benefits over the next decade.

In answer to a Parliamentary Question submitted by MSP Christina McKelvie, the Scottish Government have estimated that 450 people who receive carer’s allowance “would lose over £3,000 per year, in Scotland as a result of the move from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment (PIP)”.

The written answer continues: “However, this estimate was based on a DWP impact assessment which was published in 2013, at the start of the PIP implementation. Since then, the rollout has been subject to delays and so we do not have a clear position as to the real impact on carers in Scotland”.

Yesterday charities joined the Scottish Government in calling for welfare powers to be devolved to Holyrood. The SCVO, the membership organisation for Scotland’s charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises said that the news was “devastating”.

A spokesperson for SCVO said: “This news will have a devastating impact on carers and their families right across the country who are already struggling simply to get by from one day to the next.

“With vital social care services disappearing or families being priced out of existing services, the only option for thousands of people is to give up work to care for their loved ones. They must be supported to do so and the huge effort they put into looking after the most vulnerable people in our communities should be praised.

“That’s why we would like to see welfare powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament so we have a chance to implement our own, more compassionate system which supports people instead of punishing them.”

The Personal Independence Payment was introduced in 2012 as a replacement for the Disability Living Allowance. Both benefits are to help with the cost of living with a disability. The PIP was supposed to be rolled out nationally by October 2015, but has been delayed.

SNP MSP Christina McKelvie, who asked the question, said the statistics released by the minister were “deeply worrying”.

McKelvie said: “This Parliamentary Answer which finds 450 carers stand to lose £3,000 per year as a result of unfair Tory welfare reforms is deeply worrying – and the fact that the Department for Work and Pensions has failed to provide the Scottish Government with a clear position is of further concern.

Read the rest of this article here: http://thenational.scot/news/carers-to-lose-3000-after-benefit-changes.4332

Woman Who Can Only Hear Hit By Bedroom Tax

Same Difference

A WOMAN who depends upon carers to help her in every aspect of her daily life has fallen into arrears because of the bedroom tax.

 

Quadriplegic Claire Hilton, aged 32, has a team of six carers dedicated to her, with two on shift at any one time to help her move about, eat and sleep.

 

For 12 years she has lived in a bungalow in Prodesse Court, Hindley and, although the two carers stay overnight seven days a week, she falls into the ‘under occupied’ category of the tax because the legislation only allows for one carer to stay.

 

Claire now has £50 a month taken out of her housing benefit and her parents, Margaret and Nigel, are outraged and frustrated no one will listen to them.

 

Margaret said: “Claire had leukaemia when she was three and contracted encephalitis, which just took everything apart from hearing…

View original post 189 more words

Bedroom Tax – carers facing debt, eviction and food poverty

Government failing to protect carers and disabled people from ‘spare room’ cuts

Carers are being hard hit by the Government ‘bedroom tax’ cuts to Housing Benefit – despite
Ministers’ promises of support to protect carers and disabled people.

New research by Carers UK, published 100 days after the introduction of the ‘bedroom tax’ laysbare the shocking impact of the policy on families caring for disabled loved ones.

 

From the ‘Carers UK’ website – read the rest of their press release here: http://carerwatch.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/bedroom-tax-carers-facing-debt-eviction-and-food-poverty-carers-uk.pdf

Carers UK interviewed 100 carers affected by the changes, and the findings include:

• Three quarters (75%) of carers having to pay the ‘bedroom tax’ are being forced to cut back
on essential spending on food, electricity and heating.
• One in six (17%) are falling behind on their rent and face eviction.

The welfare changes dubbed the ‘bedroom tax’ mean people in social housing considered to have ‘spare rooms’ are seeing Housing Benefit cut and are being left with an average shortfall of £14 a week – over £700 a year. Families who cannot afford to pay face having to move seriously ill or disabled loved ones.

 
When the policy was launched in April, ministers pl edged a £25 million discretionary payments fund to help protect carers and disabled people. Carers UK warned the fund was woefully insufficient, and would only be enough to support around 40,000 of the 420,000 disabled people Government figures indicated would be hit by the cuts.

The charity’s new research shows only 1 in 10 carers receiving these discretionary
payments on an ongoing basis. Others were receiving temporary support of just a few
months, facing the extra costs once discretionary relief expires.

With insufficient funds to meet the needs of people affected by the cuts, local councils are, Carers UK says, drawing up their own criteria to ration discretionary payments. Carers turned down for support reported reasons given by local authorities including that spending any more than £3.60 a day per person on food, buying spectacles or postage stamps all counted as unnecessary expenditure and could be cut to cover rent shortfall.

Heléna Herklots Chief Executive of Carers UK said:
“This policy is having a shocking impact on families already struggling to care for seriously ill or disabled loved ones. Carers, whose contribution is often warmly praised by ministers, are being made to feel like they are being punished.
“These are carers who need an extra room just to get few hours of sleep as they care 24/7 for adisabled child, or who are unable to share with a partner because of serious illness.

Disability Benefit Changes To Lead To Shock £31 Million Cut In Carers’ Benefits

Carers UK has condemned the 11th hour publication of Government analysis which shows that cuts to disability benefits will result in a knock-on reduction of at least 10,000 in the number of people eligible for Carer’s Allowance.

The main benefit for carers, Carer’s Allowance, is linked to the benefits of those they care for – currently Disability Living Allowance, which is to be gradually replaced by Personal Independence Payment (PIP) from April.

Previous indications from Government were that, despite a planned 607,000 cut [1] to the numbers of disabled people receiving financial support, introduction of Personal Independence Payment ‘will not affect’ numbers entitled to Carer’s Allowance[2].

But a shocking cut to Carer’s Allowance has emerged in the last minute publication of a Department for Work and Pensions assessment which shows that 10,000 fewer carers will be entitled to Carer’s Allowance by 2015.

This represents a devastating £31 million cut in financial support for those caring full-time for elderly sick or disabled loved ones. This means that many families affected will face the double loss of the disabled person losing support from disability benefits and that a carer looking after them would simultaneously lose their income from Carer’s Allowance[3].

from welfarenewsservice.com, 13/2/2013. read more here http://welfarenewsservice.com/disability-benefit-changes-to-lead-to-shock-31-million-cut-in-carers-benefits/#.UaxZzpyFiWY

Disabled face losing homes under benefit cutbacks, 24th April 2013

from ‘The Independent’ 24/4/2013 by

Leaked documents warned ministers that reform would penalise the most vulnerable……….

……. Under partly redacted papers previously marked “restricted”, trustees for the fund maintained by the DWP advised the Secretary of State Iain Duncan Smith: “Users are unlikely to receive the same level of funding after reassessment. This may undermine care packages and may mean that some users, such as those with particularly high care packages, may not be able to live independently in their own homes.”

The Government’s own adviser, Richard Given, also said that the changes mean “most users are likely to see some reduction in current funding levels,” and that “there can be no guarantees on how the devolved funding is used” by local authorities as money for the allowances cannot be ring-fenced.

Despite these concessions, he maintained: “It is absolutely critical that any decision to close the fund is positioned and received as a reform, not a cut to support.” He added: “It is also important that we do not create any expectation that individual awards can be protected into the future.”