My reply from DWP to Cheryl's letter - at last!

Share your petitions or campaigns here.
I actually decided to send it to Gordon Brown rather than my own MP as I've had quite a few replies from him on similar subjects, sadly Mr. Brown is far too busy to reply so this is from the rather aptly named Mrs. H Payne Image

Department for Work & Pensions, Ministerial Correspondence Unit, Adelphi, 1-11 John Adam Street, London. WC2N 6HT
Website: www.dwp.gov.uk
Email Ministers at]ministers@dwp.gsi.gov.uk[/url]

Thank you for your letter of 21 June to Gordon Brown concerning help for carers. As you can appreciate, the Minister receives many enquiries a day and it is not possible for him to answer them all individually. I have been asked to reply.

First of all, I should like to assure you that the Government does recognise the tremendous personal commitment of those who are prepared to give their time so freely to care for a severely disabled relative, and is aware of the financial problems they can face.

The social security system in the UK is one of the very few that has a benefit specifically for carers, and contrary to your understanding, it is not affected by either income or savings.

Carers Allowance was introduced in order to provide some recognition of the critical role played by carers, particularly those who do not qualify for other benefits. The Government recognises that this role can be arduous and appreciates that the allowance does not cover lost earnings nor fully compensate people for the time that they spend in such important supportive care. However, it was never intended to be a payment for the services of caring, like a carers wage.

The Government has introduced significant improvements in the benefits available to carers. Carers Allowance is now available to those aged 65 or over, and a higher earnings limit provides additional help for carers who can undertake some employment in addition to their caring duties. In addition, the carer premium in the income-related benefits was increased by £10 a week over and above the annual increases in line with the rise in prices. It is now £27.15 a week.

Carers now have opportunity to build or to continue to build entitlement to the State Second Pension. Also, carers will benefit from the proposal in the Pensions Bill currently before Parliament to move to 30 qualifying years for a full State Pension for people reaching State Pension age on or after 6th April 2010.

Whilest I appreciate that you do not feel the level of Carers Allowance is sufficient, there is no objective way of deciding what are adequate rates for Carers Allowance or indeed other social security benefits. Levels of benefit need to take account of the competing demands on public expenditure and work incentives.

I understand your concern that where State Pension is in payment, Carers Allowance will not usually be payable. However, this reflects a basic principle of the social security system, which is that benefits paid for the same purpose cannot be paid together in full. However, where someone would receive less from State Pension than from Carers Allowance, an amount of the Carers Allowance can be paid to make up the difference. In addition, where Carers Allowance cannot be paid, the person will keep underlying entitlement to the benefit and this gives access to the carer premium I mentioned above. Over 200,000 pensioners receive even higher Pension Credit because of this amount.

I should also add that help with mortgage interest costs can be included in Income Support and Pension Credit where entitlement to these benefits brings exemption from NHS prescription and other charges. Carers who do not receive these benefits can receive help with health costs through the NHS low income scheme, for which there is a helpline on 0845 850 1166.

The Government is aware that carers also need practical help and the Carers Grant was introduced in 1999 as part of the National Strategy for Carers, in order to support councils in providing breaks and services for carers in England. The grant has been increased annually and is worth £185m this year. This means that, by 2008, the Government will have invested over £1b in support for carers.

You may wish to know that National Carers Strategy is currently being reviewed on a cross-Government basis, led by the Department of Helath. This will result in a new Strategy to be published next year and part of this Department's remit is to look at Carers Allowance.

Finally, the issues of respite care and help with health costs are a matter for the Department of Health. You can contact that Department by writing to]

There you go, aren't we all so lucky to have such a caring Government Image

Paula xx
So my question is if all this money is going into carers grants for respite and we are not getting respite then where is the money going Image
The social security system in the UK is one of the very few that has a benefit specifically for carers, and contrary to your understanding, it is not affected by either income or savings.
If indeed her statement is true, why is there an upper limit to what you can earn while receiving Carers Allowance. Image
Me thinks mixed messages are at work here. Image
marie
Whilst I appreciate that not all Ministers and their overpaid Administrators may understand the finber points of the benefits system, I would have expected Mrs Payne to have read up on the basics before composing her reply. She is simply wrong. Carers Allowance is directly affected by earnings and income.

Direct quote from www.direct.gov.uk]You can't claim Carer's Allowance if you are in full-time education with 21 hours or more a week of supervised study or earn more than £87 a week after certain deductions have been made (such as Income Tax).
[/quote]

Image
Hmm,....thought so. Image
what planet is he from
as my father used to say never trust an educated idiot

its just a load of ********



george
sorry not he she



george
Well I did say the name Mrs. Payne was quite appropriate Image

Paula xx