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Money / Benefits issues - do we need a new section - Page 5 - 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'm sorry, but speaking personally the function of the forum is to provide social support to carers, who are among the most socially isolated people in the UK. It's a discussion forum, and while it's possible in discussion fora to offer hints and tips, and maybe a little advice, the provision of benefits advice is a minefield, the smallest mistake in which can cost someone £1,000's - quite literally.

It's easy to make that sort of error face to face, it's far too easy here on the internet. Ignoring, for a moment, the massive issues around confidentiality and the dangers of giving too much information online. And to ask benefits questions would entail giving far too much personal information that cannot be kept safe. The problem is that setting up a board that is totally private - say to advice workers only - means that you cannot access it to post in it. Too secure. Open it up to members only...and we have 8,618 registered members, some of whom never post and almost all of whom we have no knowledge of apart from what they tell us here.

My own thoughts on this are that if there were to be a section on Welfare and Benefits, it should simply provide a fixed link/email addy to the advice workers on the helpline. With an explanation, including how to follow the link for those who are new to computers, and a further link to the benefits info on the main site.

Anything else risks people losing money or being liable to pay back overpayments. Neither of which is good.
Anything else risks people losing money or being liable to pay back overpayments. Neither of which is good.
Which leads to the very real and as yet to be considered issue of financial redress where a member has experienced financial loss as a result of wrong advice given by a member of the board. Advice agencies take out professional indemnity insurance to cover situations where they can be held liable, this clearly is not an option when you have members of the public offering amateur information and advice to other members of the public.
Hi Cheryl,
Thanks for your comments. I was also thinking that it might help reduce, rather than increase, the demands on the helpline.
If it gave a few worked examples, just as the DWP does, in a easily understood way, then it might not then be neccessary to use the helpline before making the initial claims for DLA/Attendance Allowance/Carers Allowance.
If the examples covered basic scenarios - a disabled baby; a disabled child; a disabled partner: a parent being cared for by someone who was working; a parent being cared for by someone who had retired - that would cover most of the basic areas. Again, just my suggestions.
It's a while since I last made a new claim for anything, but I seem to recall that the benefit then was backdated to the day I first contacted the DWP for a claim pack, rather than the day they received the fully completed form. New carers might not realise that this was the case. A delay of 2 weeks waiting to get through to the helpline or meet with the CAB might mean the loss of £300 or more.
It might also include details of what to do if the caree was not able to complete the form themselves - and introduce the terms "appointee" and "mental capacity". Again, just my suggestions.
Links to the main site could be included, together with an explanation in the same place about what a link was, and how it worked - just "click on the blue words" or similar, for those unused to computers. Just in the last week I have met three people who don't use them at all. It just depends on personal circumstances.
Hope that helps others understand the sort of thing I was proposing.
Charles,
Our listings crossed.
Would you feel happy with BASIC worked examples (as outlined in my latest post) as an introduction to Carers Benefits for those who are asking for benefits information on the forum?
The forum often details medical advice, in the last week details have been provided about how much oxygen to give, for example. Is this any different from sharing benefits information, from the legal liability point of view?
I don't see how the forum could be held responsible for a DWP overpayment.
I was more concerned about those entitled to Carers Allowance but not claiming it.
I look forward to your comments.
Charles,
Our listings crossed.
Would you feel happy with BASIC worked examples (as outlined in my latest post) as an introduction to Carers Benefits for those who are asking for benefits information on the forum?
The forum often details medical advice, in the last week details have been provided about how much oxygen to give, for example. Is this any different from sharing benefits information, from the legal liability point of view?
I don't see how the forum could be held responsible for a DWP overpayment.
I was more concerned about those entitled to Carers Allowance but not claiming it.
I look forward to your comments.
Your proposal is rather different to the ad hoc sharing of medical and other experiences on the board, as described the proposal appears to be intended to provide an information and advice resource. And this is often the problem when we have ideas which initially seem to offer an instant solution to a specific problem, on further research we may find that they are not such a good idea after all and therefore require substantial modification or even dropping altogether because they prove to be unworkable in practise.
Parsifal,
There seemed to be general agreement last week that there were problems with sharing benefits information on the forum. Benefits queries seemed to pop up in a variety of other sections. As a result, I asked "Do we need a new section?" specifically for benefit/money related issues. I then highlighted some of the problems to be overcome, particularly the issue of confidentiality, and reliability. I made some suggestions how they might be overcome. Responses so far have varied. Some are concerned about the legal implications, others think it is a good idea. These include several PM's. I have no control over the decisions of others to send me a PM rather than on the open forum.
B.B. maybe you could respond to your supporters and ask them if they will post their support on this thread.A few of us do think it's a good idea and maybe there are more , if they'd be ok with coming forward.
good luck
B.x
I think it is a good idea.
The Family Fund has already been mentioned here. For my family, it helped us through a few very sticky patches,but I was not aware of its existance until my elder son was 12,and we were told of it from another Parent Carer.
At the moment, money and benefit concerns are very stressful on many of us here,and sometimes the money side of things is taking my mind away from the vital everyday needs of my son.Anything that may just point me in the right direction is likely to help.
Audrey,
I welcome any responses to my suggestions whether on the forum or as a private message.
The issue under discussion surely is not whether or not there should be a benefits forum but what form that forum should take.

I have absolutely no problem with there being a benefits forum, discussions about benefits already exist in other fora and bringing them together could well prove beneficial or with signposting members with queries to authorative sources of information and advice, some of us already do this.

I and others do have a problem with some of the proposals for this forum, including, but not exclusive to, the requesting of anonymised financial and other information in order to give "advice", advice which none of us is qualified to give. Put it this way, would you approach a stranger in the street, give him information which you would normally keep confidential and trust him to advise you?
92 posts