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New Verification of Carer Role for Benefits Purposes? - Carers UK Forum

New Verification of Carer Role for Benefits Purposes?

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Does anyone know about this, it's taken from the uncorrected oral evidence to the DWP Select Committee Enquiry into the Government's Carer Strategy (Gary Vaux is Head of the Hertfordshire County Council Money Advice Unit and writes on benefit issues for Community Care magazine):

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/p ... c48502.htm

Q84 Mark Pritchard]In the pensions reform that is coming up, the proposal is that the state pension credit that would be created for carers would be based on an assessment by a healthcare or social work professional and that would be the validation of somebody receiving the credit for their national insurance contribution record. That is already part of the welfare reform package for national insurance contributions and that would seem to provide an alternative method of verification that somebody is a bona fide carer[/b].
For anyone who has a problem having their caring role recognised by social services and/or the NHS this could have financial implications when they come to draw their State Retirement Pension and if it was extended to confirm entitlement to Carers Allowance it could have similar financial implications.
I have seen and heard nothing about this - I know of Gary Vaux and this evidence is VERY surprising. It doesn't sound like him at all.

It's not that I'm questioning your evidence, Parsifal - it's just shock tinged with a lot of disbelief. Health and Social Work professionals are not guardians of benefits. They are not trained in this way. Apart from which, when would they do it? It's hard enough to get to see a social worker now. Let alone one who understands the caring role.
I don't think that he would be wrong on the pensions proposals, he is very knowledgeable and this can probably easily be checked out on the DWP website if anyone has time to do it. But I'm shocked at the idea of a social worker or health professional deciding whether or not someone is entitled to a benefit without any further outside decision making. This does sort of link in with the report by the Office of Disability Issues where it's suggested that DLA and AA should be absorbed into Individual Budgets and administered by LAs which begs the question of what happens to people who don't qualify for services, presumably they'd lose their DLA/AA and be doubly disadvantaged. If it's correct it's a radical reform of the NI and benefits system and imperfect though the benefits system is it does have checks and balances and a functional appeal system, I find it quite worrying.
Worrying isn't the word.

If true, it also shows absolutely no understanding of life at the shallow end of the income pool.
So how should carers be verified as entitled to benefits, and who by, does the forum think?

It is irrefutable that there are people who take advantage of any means of getting something for nothing - why work for a living, who cares who it damages, seems to be the attitude. While we will never completely eliminate the idle toe-rags using the loopholes to steal taxpayers' money, we do not want to discourage those who should get financial support. How to do it?
on previous post i pointed out that one reason why the carers allowance would not be raised was the government thought the uptake would be to great people on J.S.A. I.B. and even part time workers who also claimed carers allowance would see the higher level of carers allowance as an easy option.
The government want to control those of us on carers allowance and the benefit for all would help them, we will have an adviser in the jobcenter who will have some discretion as to what we have to do he / she may ask the carer to go on training courses or evn if he / she thinks we dont "care" for the 35 hours per week ( to be reduced to 20) may instruct us to take up part time work .
My main problem is everyone on the new out of work benefit as they will call it will have the same level of benefit but we as carers will be the only one`s who still have to prove we work also if you are asked to go on training course the bill for care services to look after your caree will be £15 an hour or more and if you are asked to take up part time work again the social care bill will be £100 per day and when you rerurn from work you start all over again as a carer it just wont work .
I believe the whole set up is going this way due to the high amount of working carers the select committee looked at evidence re working carers and they said the vast majority of working carers did not live with the disabled person and many had a working partner to suppot them financialy.
Carers who regard themselves as 24/7 and live with the person they care for it was claimed at select committee had a higher chance of living in poverty they also said that they if not married often lived as a couple and the caree`s benefits often subsidised their own care .
The amount of fraud and error, and note it includes error, in the disability benefits system is minimal, 0.3%, and to be entitled to CA the claimant has to be caring for someone in receipt of DLA Care Component at Middle or Higher Rate or AA at either rate. I would suggest that there are substantially more people entitled to CA who are failing to claim it than people claiming it who are not entitled to it, on that basis the concern should be about making sure that carers are receiving their entitlements rather than trying to find ways of preventing fraud that is almost nonexistent. I think that the current system is the fairest, many carers and the people they care for don't approach social services, they would have no entitlement, many don't meet the criteria for support, they too would have no entitlement and the NHS has already confirmed using the current system that the caree has substantial care needs in order for them to qualify for DLA/AA so the fact that a family member or friend claims to be caring for them seems more than plausible.

Personally, I think an MP expressing concern about fraud in the context of CA simply shows a lack of knowledge of the circumstances carers find themselves in and of the large number who don't even realise that they are carers and therefore fail to apply for CA. And don't forget that the person being cared for loses their SDP if they're in receipt of means-tested benefits if someone claims CA for looking after them so there is very little incentive to defraud the system and there is no loss to the public purse.
one M.P. aked how someone on carers allowance also had I.B. ( can you get both ) he was told the carer may have become disabled due to his/her care work .

GEORGE===
Parsifal wrote:
"I would suggest that there are substantially more people entitled to CA who are failing to claim it than people claiming it who are not entitled to it, on that basis the concern should be about making sure that carers are receiving their entitlements rather than trying to find ways of preventing fraud that is almost nonexistent. I think that the current system is the fairest, many carers and the people they care for don't approach social services, they would have no entitlement, many don't meet the criteria for support, "

How can you say this system is the fairest when you have the situation of underlying entitlement particularly for pensioners - yes, I'm one and I get zilch from the government for my caring role. I've had a Carer's Assessment and it stated in writing that my caring role is at least 56 hours per week for which I get nothing, my State Pension, which I paid for over the years, amounts to £244.64 per month. Fortunately (or unfortunately) my husband who is past retirement age is working 4 days per week without which we'd be in serious financial straits.

Two years ago I worked as a carer for a disabled gentleman (at weekends only) earning £7 per hour - the work I have to do now is far more lengthy, physically and mentally demanding, which the Government doesn't recognise and seems to believes my State Pension makes up for any Allowance.

We've had mum-in-law living with us for nearly a year now and I can honestly say I've never felt so tired or depressed. I'm now 67 and the thought I could be in my 70's having to do what I do now fills me with dread. And yes, a bit of extra cash would help - at least it would mean the Government recognises what I and many others like me do - but all we get are platitudes.

Don't tell me this system is fair.
I think you may have misunderstood what we were discussing, it was the means of verifying whether someone was a carer, not the payment of CA itself. I therefore wasn't referring to the CA benefit system but to the method by which a carer is determined to be a carer in order to claim CA or the underlying entitlement, i.e. whether it is fairer for the criteria to be fixed within the benefit system or left to the whim of a social worker or NHS employee who might not know the carer or the caree and base their decision on a brief and inaccurate assessment.

Like you I am caught by the overlapping benefit rule and have never received CA despite working 24/7 and I'm the first person to agree that the benefit system is unjust, that's why I've called elsewhere for a Carers' Wage, both on this board and in a submission to the DWP Select Committee Enquiry from which I posted the above extract, to be paid to all carers caring for a minimum of 35 hours per week regardless of their circumstances, including their financial circumstances. I've always maintained that we work and believe that as workers we should be paid an income that reflects the fact that we work, the money we save the government and, I would argue, our benefit to society.