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Families' fears over disability benefit reform

22 September 2010
Carers UK has expressed deep concerns that the Government's proposed reductions to the Disability Living Allowance budget could have a 'devastating impact' on family incomes.

Carers UK has expressed deep concerns that the Government's proposed reductions to the Disability Living Allowance budget could have a 'devastating impact' on family incomes.

In the Emergency Budget in June, the Chancellor set out plans to reduce the budget for Disability Living Allowance by 20%, around £1 billion. Carer's Allowance, the main benefit for people who care unpaid for ill or disabled loved-ones, can only be claimed if someone is caring for a friend or relative who is in receipt of the middle or higher rate 'care component' of Disability Living Allowance, or Attendance Allowance. The £1 billion reduction is expected to come from existing claimants having their benefit reduced or removed following a new medical test for all existing and new claimants of Disability Living Allowance by 2013/14.

Carers UK has expressed disappointment that the Chancellor's plans did not assess the impact that these reductions would have on carers and has released a response to the plans which models the impact on family incomes of the potential reforms. Carers UK Chief Executive Imelda Redmond CBE, has warned that the changes could lead to thousands of carers having financial support removed:

"It is hugely disappointing that the Government has not yet looked at what effect these plans will have on families who care, although they have now pledged to do so. We know that medical tests of these sorts have been prone to making bad judgements, and the risk is that financial support will be cut off from some of the vulnerable people in our society, who are already struggling to make ends meet. The impact on families incomes could be devastating. Unpaid carers save the UK an estimated £87 billion, but many are now angry and fearful that the limited financial support they receive in return may be cut off."

Actions carers can take:

Write to your MP to give them your views on the reform - find their details at www.writetothem.com

Join us - become a member of Carers UK to be a part of our campaigns to get a fair deal for carers

Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carersuk or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/carersuk for all the latest news

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