The Chancellor’s statement today (26.5.2022) set out a package of support to help with the cost living. This includes several measures including £400 for all households, a boost of £650 for people in receipt of means-tested benefits, extra support for pensioners and an extra £150 for people in receipt of disability benefits.
Responding to the announcement, Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:
“The announcement today will bring some welcome comfort to carers who are on means-tested benefits and who are also pensioners as they’ve faced soaring costs, increasing the stress of caring for relatives and friends who are disabled, ill or older and need help. They have been struggling with decisions every day about whether to heat or eat and they’ve been terrified about what this will mean for them and their family.
“However, there are several hundred thousand carers who don’t receive means-tested benefits, but who are in receipt of Carer’s Allowance, the main carers’ benefit. They will be shocked and devastated to see that they won’t get any of the extra payments of £650 even though Carer’s Allowance is the lowest benefit of its kind at only £69.70 per week and won’t even get an extra £150 alongside people who are in receipt of disability benefits.
“Our research, Under Pressure, has found that many carers face additional costs because of caring such as transport, doing extra laundry and technology to help manage caring. These carers will be left wondering how they will face these extra costs as prices continue to rise. It’s not as simple as finding extra paid work to help meet extra costs when it’s impossible to cut back any further. Many are providing significant amounts of care and just can’t get an extra job. Many have already given up work to care.
“For months Carers UK and others have been drawing the Government’s attention to the extreme challenges that carers are facing with their finances, as well as the lack of financial support carers have received in their own right since the start of the pandemic. People in receipt of Carer’s Allowance were overlooked for the £20 a week additional payment that Universal Credit recipients received from March 2020 until last Autumn, meaning carers lost out on over £1000 a year for two years in a row.
“Carers in receipt of Carer’s Allowance have been contacting us at their wits end in recent months, with many telling us they are having to get further into debt, use food banks and credit cards, or cut back on heating and energy bills to ensure they can remain solvent. Today’s announcement for this overlooked group of carers is not enough to reduce the worry and financial stress in the weeks and months ahead and it makes them feel even less valued.
“Carers continue to provide unpaid care worth £530m per day – with a combined total since March 2020 of over £400 billion. Many of these people have had to make huge sacrifices to do so, including giving up their paid jobs.