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Money / Benefits issues - do we need a new section - Page 3 - Carers UK Forum

Money / Benefits issues - do we need a new section

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
92 posts
I think it would be very useful to have money/benefits with a section of its own within the forum.Good idea B.Bun.
Recently someone asked a short but specific question about what benefits he was entitled to, as he was caring for someone and had no income whatsoever. In attempting to clarify his situation, I appeared (and that is my personal opinion) to upset people. The major consensus of opinion was that he divulged more information that was probably wise on a forum, that he was too identifiable from this information.
What I was wondering, therefore, was whether it was possible for people to make enquiries about benefits without their forum name being visible to "ordinary" members of the forum? I lack the technical knowledge to know whether this is possible.
There was a suggestion that the section could be linked to the Carers UK helpline service in some way (again I don't know if I've understood that correctly, or if it was possible).
Thus, people in the same situation as the person mentioned earlier could place his question in the money section, and the CUK helpline could give a written answer, on the forum. In this way, anyone in a similar situation would not neccessarily need to contact CUK. As previously mentioned, the benefits system is very complex, not everyone knows everything. Forum members in similar positions to those posting could therefore add comments. As an example, a young mum with a Down's Syndrome child might not have heard about the Family Fund.
It is possible that by having a benefits questions and answers section might significantly reduce the workload of the CUK helpline as a whole. Only time would tell.
The purpose of the Forum, as I understand it, is to help and support each other. My motion, some years ago, proposing that the CA was raised to at least the minimum wage level was passed with a majority of 90% which indicates that may carers feel undervalued, and many are struggling financially. During the last 40 years I have met, and helped, many people claim the benefits that they are entitled to. In my view, it is terrible that some people are struggling to make ends meet, unaware that there is more help available to them, if only they knew about it. Hence my suggestion.
I think that the issue is not what this forum should contain and why but whether the members of this board are qualified to do what you suggest. The benefits system is extremely complex and one member's entitlement in similar circumstances to another's may well be very different. I repeat, we are carers many of whom have personal experience of the benefits system, we are not benefits advisers, to have a forum set up for benefits information and advice would imply that we are. I am not an expert on benefits but I have in the past few days picked up three incidents of misinformation and advice, I am at a loss to understand how information and advice which cannot be entirely relied on is of more benefit to anyone than the reliable information and advice which is available from accredited sources.
Parsifal,
You appear to have misunderstood. It was suggested by another forum member that the benefits questions were answered by the CUK advice line staff, on the forum pages, which I consider a sound idea. Forum members could also comment, as with my mention of the Family Fund, but the main benefits advice would come from CUK staff, precisely to avoid the potential problem you highlight.
I think everyone is in agreement that the benefits system is complex, however that should not put off anyone who has a valid claim. My suggestions are made purely to encourage these carers to put in their claims for the right benefits, for reasons already given.
There seems to be general agreement that giving out too much personal information about a NAMED individual is unwise, whether real name or forum name. That is why I wondered if it was possible for people to ask a question without their name being visible to "ordinary" members,although the moderators could have more information. I just don't know if anonimity in this way is possible with the way this particular forum is set up.
I hope this answers your queries, I have had several PM's from members today who think that having a separate section on the forum dealing with benefits is a good idea.
Hi everyone. Just a few quick points.

Firstly, Audrey's point that some people are unaware of links and how to use them. True - easy to forget that the basics are major skills to people who don't know them. Like driving a car... Perhaps it's something that can go in the newbies section...

The forum layout hasn't changed since the new software was put into use about a year ago, and Matt and Gavin are looking at this and at the function of the whole forum and website. I think given the wide variety of thoughts and ideas that have come up on this particular issue, they will be looking at this too, and how/if it can fit with the helpline might need to be looked at as part of that.

In the meantime, please bear in mind that in this litigious society, the "adviser" and the host could find themselves in warm water. Best to refer to those in the know!
Hi Charles,

"Best to refer to those who know" - my point is that those new to carers, especially those thrown in at the deep end, just don't know who that is! Hence my suggestions. Surely even with the current system it would be possible to have a question about someone who is in the simplest possible situation, say a daughter who has given up working to look after her elderly mum, to go through the basics about what to do, to encourage people to ring the helpline or contact a rights adviser?
Bowlingbun wroye
although the moderators could have more information.
As a moderator I would feel deeply uneasy if the benefits section were to work as you suggested and people were specific about what they were/were not getting and I knew who they were, whilst they thought they were anonymous.
And I also think that specific advice should come from a creditable, accountable source.
"And I also think that specific advice should come from a creditable, accountable source". Having read many recommendations to ring the CUK helpline. I was led to believe that it was both "creditable and accountable". Is this not the case?
I made a number of suggestions about how we could get round the issue of anonimity, to be discussed. The idea that the moderators might know the identity, rather than the forum at large, so to speak, was made so that it would be possible for the moderator to contact the lister if it was felt that the listing was inappropriate, in the normal way.

I realised that there was a problem, following an early listing, so I've made a number of suggestions here, for discussion.

Do you like the idea of the Helpline being involved in some way with the forum?
Do you think that, overall, this would increase, or reduce, demands on the Helpline (which is often engaged).
Do you feel that a few fictitious examples prepared by the Helpline would be more appropriate?
Do you have any ideas which are better?

My only concern is that people who are eligible for benefits claim what they are entitled to, my suggestions have been made to encourage them to take the next step, making a call to the DWP for a claim pack etc. as appropriate. Easy for some. Very difficult for others.
Having read many recommendations to ring the CUK helpline. I was led to believe that it was both "creditable and accountable". Is this not the case?
This is indeed the case and exactly what I was talking about rather than specific questions on the forum. Personal answers to personal questions, confidentially.
I agree,the forum,I feel is not the ideal place for individual cases to be the topic.The Carers UK site is very helpful.Its one of many ways to find quality,trusted information.

People like those at C.A.B.are trained and upto date on current rules.They look at each case individually.Above all they are insured to give such advice.They have a strict ethic of confidentiality too.

i think it does matter that carers get quality,safe,reliable,confidential advice.
92 posts