REPLY FROM D.W.P.

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Thank you for your letter dated 13 July to GORDON BROWN concerning carers allowance. I am sorry that the Prime Minister has not been able to reply to you personally,but i hope you will appreciate that he receives a great deal of correspondence, on a variety of sublects, and it is not possible for him to reply to each lettery individually. therfore, since your letter falls under the remit of this department, i have been asked to reply.

I would like to assure you that the government recognises the great personal commitment of those who are prepared to care for a severely disabled person, like yourself, and is aware of the financial problems they can face.

It may help if explain that, carers allowance was introduced principally to provide a measure of financial support for carers who are not in full - time paid employment, provide regular and substantial care for a severaly disabled person, and do not qualify for other help from social security.

As you are aware, carers allowance has an earnings limit which permits carers to undertake part-time work if they are able to do so. The limit is currently £87 a week which is calculated net of expenses such as income tax,national insurance contributions, half of any contribution towards an occupational pension and help towards the cost of care for a child of the disabled person while the carer is at work. These rules afford carers the opportunities of greater financial independence and of taking a break from their demanding care role.

People who receive carers allowance have a carer premium, currently at £27-15 a week, included in the assessment of income-related benefits like income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit. An equivalent additional amount for carers is included in the assessment of pension credit.
This means that carers can receive these benefits at a significantly higher rate then other recipients. They can also be credited with national insurance contribution which protects their right to state pension and certain other benefits. For each complete tax year that they are entitled to carers allowance, they can build up additional pension through the state second pension scheme. These provisions also apply to people who are entitled to carers allowance but receive another benefit at an equivalent or higher rate instead.

You could be entitled to other benefits and services. information about benefits and services is available on the directgov website www.direct.gov.uk Alternatively, you may contact your local jobcentre plus or social security office, or our benefit enquiry line 0800 88 22 00. This offers confidential advice for disabled people and their carers.

However the Department of Health is responsible for deciding exemptions from health care charges and i have enclosed leaflet HC11 which gives further details of these schemes.

Turning to the issue you raised about the payment of state pension and carers allowance, this is known as the overlaping benfits rule. Itis a fundamental principle of the social security scheme that people should not be paid twice from public funds for the same needs. carers allowance and state pension are income-maintenance benefits, and the overlaping benefits rules have always applied where someone is entitled to both. where a person entitled to state pension makes a successful claim for carers allowance , the contributory benefit takes precedence, either extinguishing or reducing the payment of carers allowance, although "underlying entitlement" to carers allowance is retained.

Mrs C KEANE
MINISTERIAL CORRESPONDENCE UNIT
ministers@dwp.gsi.gov.uk
My main reason for writing to P.M. and others was to see what changes they were going to make to help carers. But all the do in these replies is tell you how things are at the moment and how to get help.
i explained in my letter that i was one of the lucky few and had a private pension but that cash stopped me from receiving other help therefore i was subsidising in a way my mothers care i noticed in the letter they never mentioned anything about how much money we save the N.H.S. and help clear bed blocking as we want our relatives home and yet again they tell you that you can work for£87 per week but who looks after my mother ???????????????????????any way ive sent a reply without a single rude word,
Good for you george and thx for keeping us posted.

Hope you had a good time when away.

Rosemary
I edon't know if I could have left out the rude words, George. I'm used to reading the bilge you got as a reply but it still makes me angry!