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Universal Credit for Carers??? - Carers UK Forum

Universal Credit for Carers???

All about money
Hi, I'm new here and after a bit of advice!

I'm in receipt of carers allowance & Income support as I look after my 70 year-old mum full time. She is on the highest rate of mobility. She has a degenerative nerve condition, as well as diabetes, hypertension, an over-active thyroid and early stage glaucoma. This makes it difficult for her to get around and liable to falls, not to mention the other problems listed above.
She makes regular trips to the doctors & hospital for appointments.
As I live with her, this is a full time commitment, when her needs require it. I am unable to claim housing benefit as I live with her, even though I still pay her rent which is taken out of the money I receive for caring for her :S

I received a letter from the job center notifying me of a Income support work focused interview, which had left me anxious worrying about how they might try and sanction me whichever way they could, as per all the horror stories I've read about.
Had the interview today, which was basically to check all my details were the same and that there were no changes.
I was handed a A4 piece of paper with a list of things I must notify the job center about or risk 'civil penalties or further action'. The usual sort of stuff, like whether I get a job, or change my address etc. The most ridiculous of all being 'if a partner stays overnight'. Not sure what relevance that has to anything? But am I to phone them up to notify them if my partner stays over one night and be sanctioned? According to my adviser 'They always find out' :shock:

I was then told when The Universal Credit gets rolled out nationally that I will be required to sign a contract stating I am looking for work, make every attempt to look for work, even though I am a full time carer. Failure to do so will lead to sanctions. The only persons on benefits exempt are the terminally ill.
This is the first I've heard about it.

I then asked the adviser for any info, websites help etc I could go to in helping me back to work, given that I have a large gap in my CV from caring. She told me there are lots and to go on Gov.co.uk. That is the extent of the help the 'Job Center' wished to give me.

Upon further investigation online I noticed there is a 'Carers element' which I may be entitled to if I care for a 'severely disabled person' - which would not force me to look for work. But what classes as being 'severely disabled'?

Does anyone have anymore info about all of this as I feel like I'm going to be made to find extra work on top of looking after my mum so they no longer have to pay me 'income support', and sanctioned if I don't accept whatever is going, regardless of my caring responsibilities.

I feel like this is a massive kick in the teeth considering the meagre amounts I receive and expected to live on already. If I was to get a full time job, my mum would require help from someone else, who would almost certainly be paid a lot more than I am getting. Even if I was to find a 16 hour position, it would have to fit around when my mum requires my help, and employers want people to work when they demand, not the other way around.

Does anyone have anymore info of what this will mean for carers? I know Universal Credit is already happening in some parts of the UK, but I've read reports it will be nationalized across the UK from Feb 2015, which is 3 months time.
The Carers UK helpline should be able to advise you. I think it's desperately unfair to expect you to pay rent when you are caring full time. Consider asking the Carers UK helpline to go through mum's finances too, I can't help thinking that she might be entitled to additional benefits. Unfortunately, some older people don't understand how expensive it is to live these days. My father in law was like this, and it caused all sorts of problems. No amount of coaxing would persuade him to spend a bit of money to bring him below the threshold for help with his rent. Hanging onto £3,000 capital meant he missed out on thousands of pounds worth of additional help!!
Thanks for your reply, much appreciated.

My mum owns the property, therefore she is not entitled to pension credit or anymore help than she is getting due to whatever capital she has. In theory, she is comfortable, having saved money over the years which she knew would need if her condition worsens. I pay her what rent I can afford towards food and bills, but as I said this is taken from what money I receive which leaves me with little money for myself. As a result I try to sell things I no longer want on ebay to try and top up my money. This is by no means a business, yet it states on the list of things to notify the job center about to declare 'any money from sale of goods'. If I do, I'll probably be sanctioned and if I don't according to the job center adviser 'they always find out' and therefore will probably be sanctioned or face a civil penalty. :cry:

I just wondered whether any other carers out there are a bit more clued up on the universal credit rules?
I think this is a job for CarersUK! Phone them, or better still email them, to explain your problem - details in contact us tab..

By the way, job centres often get the rules wrong and give out misinformation. They don't seem to know the rules for carers. Also, I'm pretty sure that you are allowed a partner to stay overnight occasionally without having to tell them. I think its only if it goes over twice a week, or something like that. You are also right that selling a few of your own items on eBay doesn't count as a business.
I've just done abit of searching and Carers element

you look after someone who gets a qualifying disability benefit
you look after that person for at least 35 hours per week
you are aged 16 or over
you are not in full-time education
you satisfy UK presence and residence conditions

i assume your mum gets attendance allowance because you state she gets highest rate, that is a qualifying disability benefit.
Where did you come across the bit about 'severely disabled person' - which would not force me to look for work?
As for selling stuff on ebay i think the reason you need to inform them is if your capital goes over 6k, then your benefit would get affected, you need to inform them if you have a paypal account, i got a call from the integrity agency early on this year and they ran through a list of stuff i needed to tell them about, and one was if i had a pay pal account, which i don't.
And if your running a business selling stuff on ebay thats what they are looking for mostly.
ok found somemore about universal credit and carers
Universal Credit for Carers

If you and/or your partner care for a severely disabled adult or severely disabled child for 35 hours a week or more, and you are eligible for Universal Credit, you may qualify for extra money called the Carer element. The severely disabled person doesn't have to be living with you but must be getting one of the following:

Attendance Allowance
Constant Attendance Allowance
Disability Living Allowance (at either middle or higher rate care component)
Personal Independence Payment (at either standard or enhanced rate of the daily living component)

These requirements are also known as the Carer Test. If you meet them, you will be in the no work-related requirements group.

If you don't meet them, your Claimant Commitment may still be adjusted to show the caring responsibilities you have.

If the person you care for stops getting the above benefits you will no longer get the Carer element. See Reporting a change in caring.

You can only get one Carer element even if you are caring for more than one person.
this is the url i got this information from http://www.entitledto.co.uk/help/Caring ... sal-Credit

and more here

Universal Credit - who is in the no work-related requirements group?

http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/b ... _group.htm

So after all this you will be placed in "no work-related requirements group"
Thanks so much for clearing this up - I obviously should have gone straight to The Citizens Advice Bureau website!

I was under the distinct impression from the job center adviser that anyone in receipt of benefits would be treated as though they are on JSA, unless they are terminally ill! Such poor misinformation!

My partner has been in the same full time job for 10 years, but as his company do not pay him enough the government top up his earnings by way of Working Tax Credits, which I assume would also mean he would have to be looking for more work or a better paid job or lose that entitlement under the Universal Credit scheme. Extremely unfair if you ask me, since his company are essentially underpaying him a living wage.

Thanks for your replies, guys. I can relax a bit more now!
Job center adviser are mostly full of ****, think most of them just watch Little Britain comedy sketch, computer says no :mrgreen:
Anyway next time you happen to get a work focused interview call her Carol

A friend of mine has recently retired from a fairly senior position in DWP, so they're not all bad!!! However, she told me that when she first worked for them, only experienced staff answered phone call queries. During the last few years, there have been many changes, local offices closing, and area call centres set up manned by staff with very little training, other than how to read a computer screen. However, the system is so complex that the computer system only works for what you might call "standard" enquiries, doesn't allow for all the little variances possible for unusual circumstances. In the end my friend took early retirement, relieved to get out.
@ bowlingbun
Your right since the government combind it all into job centre plus it's really gone down hill, they put in place badly trained staff, and just try and sanction you anyway possible or trip you up on benefit fraud, which doesn't help when they give out bad advice.
But there seems to be more bad staff now than good ones.