Nightmare on Care Street

The theme for this week’s Carers Week – Prepared to Care? –  has made us think about the preparations that people take to care. Most people don’t think about it – we don’t think it will happen to us. Even armed with information and advice, sometimes we’re not as prepared to care as we think we are. We all know life is uncertain – but are we really ready for what life throws at us? Imagine you and your partner have been together a long time. You have made a home together, maybe brought up a couple of children. Now you are thinking towards retirement and putting some money aside for your old age. And then – wham bang – out of a clear blue sky – one of you gets a serious illness or injury. You aren’t high earners, but you have both worked all your lives and paid all those National Insurance Contributions. You have lost one income overnight. You are now learning you are a carer. This is your time to get support from the state. Right? No. Wrong. Your partner may be ill or disabled, but the government have tightened up the system. Your partner is put on Employment Support Allowance in the Work Related Activity Group and you think it will be OK. You are pleased to hear that he’ll be given support to find work that will fit with his disability. But then you both realise that if he doesn’t find work within a year, there will be no more money. ESA has changed from universal to means tested. Do you earn more than...

Berkshire DPAC supporting statement for Cumulative Impact Assessment

Received from Berkshire DPAC   These are just some of the things that have impacted on disabled people – at a time of mass unemployment and recession. The debate in the House earlier this month highlighted the appalling impact of the Work Capability Assessment ALONE on disabled people. People with the most serious and complex impairments can no longer apply for help from the Independent Living Fund, as this has been closed to new applicants. It will be closed completely in 2015, throwing its users on the mercies of local authorities who will apparently not have ring fenced money in their rapidly decreasing budgets to support this. As from April this year the government starts to remove Disability Living Allowance from anybody who is able to mobilise (I use this word advisedly since it includes people who can wheel their own wheelchairs) more than 20 m. They have reduced this distance from 100 m in one fell swoop and failed to put this figure in their consultation paper. Despite the increasing numbers of administrative errors and technical problems within the DWP, which have caused deaths in some instances – one was quoted in the debate last week – and massive distress in many, many others, the government is also withdrawing legal aid for appeals by benefit claimants as of the 1st of April. Then there’s the bedroom tax, penalising families of sick and disabled people who need extra bedrooms to cater for things like storage space for equipment, or where it is impossible for anybody else to sleep in the same room as the claimant. Meanwhile social care is...

I dont want to go in a care home – Nadia

  Received from Nadia Clarke I worry about the future as I have been told that my funding may not be enough for me to have the right amount of support to enable me to live my life. This will leave a huge impact on my life as I live independently with full time support from my PAs. It is important to me that I have full time support for in the future, as both of my parents work full time and I am hoping to attend university this year or leave home to live independently.  I don’t want my parents to PA for me as no other 20 year old has their parents looking after them why  should this be different for me??? I want my parents to be parents to me and not my PA’S, I do not want to feel belittled and to be made to feel like a child. I have my own life and my parents have their’s, they need to work as we have a large family and both their incomes are needed for the household. Now I have worked so hard and feel lucky to have employed a fantastic team of qualified and skilled PAs. This as you can understand has taken a lot of time and consideration to build bonds and trusts with strangers but now fantastic people who support me on a daily basis. I live at home with my family but as time passes I long to become more independent, attend university and hopefully move into my own accommodation with my team of PA’S. My parents campaign and do...

Supporting statement from CarersTrust

  Moira Fraser, Director of Policy at Carers Trust: “Carers Trust is gravely concerned about the impact welfare benefit cuts will have on carers and their families. Despite assurances, disabled people and carers have not been protected from the Government cuts and instead are taking more than a fair share. Carers are seeing their cost of living rise alongside, for some carers, a cap on benefits and cuts to family income arising from changes to Disability Living Allowance. Together, these changes will have a disastrous impact on carers across the UK.  The Government needs to publish a full analysis the impact and legacy of these cuts will have on carers and disabled...

Supporting statement from Carers UK

  Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK:   “Carers fear finding themselves In the centre of a perfect storm, as, on top of cuts to already overstretched social care services, they may face a combination of cuts to disability benefits, changes to Council Tax Benefit and Housing Benefit and the introduction of the household benefit cap. We are shocked and disappointed at the lack of adequate analysis of the impact all these changes will have on carers. There is the real risk that the combined impact will have devastating personal consequences for carers and their families but will also bring greater costs to society and the economy in the longer term. Government should urgently publish full analysis of the impact of their changes to benefits on carers and disabled people, taking account of simultaneous cuts to vital social care support.” ****** Carers UK is gathering evidence about the financial costs of caring. They need carers’ stories on the extra living costs they face and the impact on their ability to earn Full details –  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/carerpanel...

Is UK Government in breach of its duty to respect human rights?

The Centre for Welfare Reform  has already demonstrated that the fiscal impact of UK government policy targets cuts and income reductions on people in poverty and disabled people is extraordinarily severe. The overlapping impact of social care cuts and benefit cuts for people with the most severe disabilities means that the average burden from the cuts, per capita, is 19 times greater for people with the severest disabilities. This is a shocking state of affairs and an unprecedented attack on a minority group. It is obvious nonsense to suggest that no reasonable Cumulative Impact Assessment of the cuts could have been made. It is clear that the failure to make such an assessment puts the UK Government in breach of its duty to respect human rights. Simon Duffy ***** Baroness Hollins backs Report Baroness Hollins back the latest report from The Centre for Welfare Reform: A FAIR SOCIETY? – HOW THE CUTS TARGET DISABLED PEOPLE Baroness Hollins says: “I welcome the report. It provides stark reminders of the cumulative effects of the current round of so called ‘reforms’ on disabled people. National debt is being turned into personal debt for some of the poorest people. We know that a reduced income does lead to debt, and we also know that debt leads to mental health problems for many, thus turning a financial crisis into a health crisis. Where is the sense in that?” Baroness Hollins of Wimbledon is also Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry of Disability, St George’s University of London, President of the BMA and Past President, Royal College of Psychiatrists. The report provides an overview of all of...