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Got this through the post this morning via my MP from Stuart McKinnon-Evans, Finance Director for the Disability & Carers service at the DWP - it's in response to part of my earlier letter about the complicated claim forms for CA & AA and what aftercare service is available for bereaved carers.

He's gone on a bit Image

Dear Mr Healey

Thank you for your letter of 13th April 2007, to Anne McGuire MP, on behalf of Miss Paula Hanson, concerning the Carer's allowance (CA) and Attendance Allowance (AA) claim packs, I have been asked to reply on behalf of Terry Moran, the Chief Executive of the Disability & Carers Servce.

I was very sorry to read Miss Hanson's concerns about the difficulties she experienced when completing the claim packs for both CA & AA and the support available to carers once the people they are caring for, sadly, pass away.

Both the CA & AA claim packs are designed, with the input of carers, disabled people and people acting on their behalf, to obtain sufficient information on which to base a decision with the minimum number of further enquiries. We are aware, nevertheless, that some people will have difficulties completing them.

Help can be provided by another person, such as a relive, friend or carer. There is also the Benefit Enquiry Line (BEL) for people with disabilities, their representatives and carers. BEL is a confidential telephone advice and information service which can provide general advice about benefits, provide claim forms and advice and assistance with their completion. The contact details for this service are given in the notes that accompany both the CA & AA claim packs.

I understand it is intended that the CA claim pack being produced in April 2008 will have Plain English editing and will be put forward for the Crystal Mark for clarity. There are also plans to revise the AA claim pack in the light of the successful latest version of the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) adult claim pack that has recently been tested.

The new DLA form has a better structure with more tick-box answer options. There is space in the form for customers to add further detail at the end of each question and some questions hav been removed or combined to reduce repetition. Some of the language has also been clarified and the claim form carries the Plain English Campaign's Crystal Mark. We are currently considering the practicalities of design, testing, evaluation and the appropriate required consultation for the revision of the AA claim form.

Turning now to Miss Hanson's concerns about the support available for carers, I can confirm that CA and associated benefits continue to be paid to a carer for eight weeks after a disabled person dies. After that period the customer would need to sign on and claim Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) or provide medical evidence to claim Incapacity Benefit/Income Support.

Help is available to anyone who signs on whilst being a carer in the form of early entry to New Deal, which is a Government programme that aims to give unemployed people the help and support they need to get into work, but I am advised there does not appear to be anything specific for people who are no longer in a caring role.

However, where a person, who has been a carer, signs on they would, like any other JSA customer, have access to a Personal Adviser who would go through their full cirucmstances, assess any needs and draw up a Job Seekers Agreement with them. Advisers doe have discretion to allow early entry on to New Deal in execeptional circumstances but each case would be looked at on it's own merit.

Thank you, once again, for drawing Miss Hanson's concerns to my attention. I trust that my reply has helped to clarify what is happening with the CA & AA claim packs and the support on offer to carers when their caring role ceases.


Paula
In other words you get - I was going to be rude there but I've just stopped myself. I'll start again.

In other words you get nothing when you're a carer and nothing when you stop being a carer, but you save the government thousands if not tens of thousands of pounds.
As usual the worst off suffer the most, i am sure these MPs are robots because the answers that they give all seem to be the same.

All the best Tony. Image
MPs follow their party line: no choice. Those of a different party write to the Minister knowing full well they will get only the government's party line.
How far must a letter travel before a decent reply given???

Letter from Paula to Mr Healey
Letter from Mr Healey to Anne McGuire
Forwarded to Terry Moran by Anne McGuire
Passed from Terry Moran to Stuart McKinnon
Reply by Stuart McKinnon ON BEHALF of Terry Moran to Mr Healey
Mr Healey replies to Paula.

Result........Zilch...big fat zero.Another standard letter to join the rest.
If all carers made a stock pile of the replies they have received over the years,Andrex would not need to be destroying any trees to make their paper Image Image

Well done for trying Paula.

Rosemary
How far must a letter travel before a decent reply given???

Letter from Paula to Mr Healey
Letter from Mr Healey to Anne McGuire
Forwarded to Terry Moran by Anne McGuire
Passed from Terry Moran to Stuart McKinnon
Reply by Stuart McKinnon ON BEHALF of Terry Moran to Mr Healey
Mr Healey replies to Paula.

Result........Zilch...big fat zero.Another standard letter to join the rest.
If all carers made a stock pile of the replies they have received over the years,Andrex would not need to be destroying any trees to make their paper Image Image

Well done for trying Paula.

Rosemary
I know Rosemary, I wouldn't mind but the damn MP's office is about 5 minutes away in the village yet it's been to London, Leeds and back to Wath - talk about creating your own carbon footprint Image

I'll stick to Andrex, this House of Commons paper is too hard, the logo could be a problem as well Image

Paula xx
I'll stick to Andrex, this House of Commons paper is too hard, the logo could be a problem as well Image

Paula xx
Ooh, don't, Paula! 30 years ago I used to work for the government and all the toilet paper was stamped "Government Property". I often wondered if they wanted it back.... Image Image
Now that might be a way to get their attention, Charles . . .