Expand unpaid Carers requirements and assistance.

I have been an unpaid Carer for over 30 years. At present I support 4 family members who have a variety of different disabilities. The current Westminster policy is that I receive 1 Carers Allowance all be it I support 4 separate persons. I believe it would be a great help to receive 'free ' travel at least. At times due to the extremely 'low' benefit of Carers Allowance, I find it a challenge to afford expenses and at times I have had no other option but to walk to my loved one's home to support them in all weathers! I also do not have enough funds to at regularly. I am pursuing a degree to enable myself to find employment in the future in addition. I recently found part time employment on a temporary basis and the experience was not positive. Firstly, I was given incorrect information by an advice centre and was unaware that any wage I received even on a part time basis would affect both Housing and Council benefit. In addition as an unpaid Carer, I was only allowed to earn weekly the total sum of £110 per week in addition to Carers Allowance of £61-00. So, between the cost of travel to work, the reduction of housing and council benefit, I lost out financially and now realise that in my endeavour to participate in work with the present current ruling, I was placed in a disadvantaged situation due to the DWP rulings iro my continuation of receiving Carers Allowance. I would ask the Scottish Government to review the present Carers Allowance ( the lowest benefit paid out by the present DWP) and initiate 'free' travel on public transport. As unpaid Carers we save the Scottish economy a small fortune because if we chose to not care and support our loved ones, then residential care etc., would cost the taxpayer millions in addition to officially paying support staff etc a living wage. I would suggest that there requires to be a review to the amount/cap of what Unpaid Carers can earn whilst undertaking part time work out with their unpaid carers duties. We deserve a 'life' out with our caring responsibilities and to enable us to pursue this pathway, we require financial support. As a part time University student, I do not receive the option of a bursary nor loan option to enhance my academic studies. I would also recommend that relaxation therapies would become available on a regular basis to unpaid Carers. If a decent and reflective benefit was given plus free transport then unpaid Carers could access breaks for themselves and in the long term this investment would save unpaid Carers becoming 'burnt out' and prevent stress and illnesses as a result. Invest in our future now and we may be able to offer our unpaid services for a longer duration. 

Why the contribution is important

My suggestions are imperative to enhance unpaid Carers lives and to recognise their contribution to society. On many occasions unpaid Carers undertake far more working hours than the 35 hours allocated to receive Carers Allowance. In some other European countries, unpaid Carers are valued much more so than in Scotland and as a result have a better quality of life in many ways incl financially. If the cost of my hours devoted to 4 persons was financially accumulated it would result in a living wage where a paid Carer was employed. These reasons are important for the Scottish Government to address and bring Scotland's unpaid Carers into the 21st Century. Recognition and respect are well overdue and I believe recognition is well overdue. 

by Lorraine007 on August 15, 2015 at 12:40AM

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Comments

  • Posted by Lorraine007 August 15, 2015 at 00:42

    Thank you for your attention and I trust my ideas and opinions may enable to change the present status quo...it's time for unpaid Carers to be fully recognised.
  • Posted by SG_Social_Security_Policy_Team_Member August 20, 2015 at 16:13

    Thank you for your contribution to the discussion. There are a lot of useful suggestions in your post. Can anyone else offer any more suggestions on how the social security powers coming to the Scottish Parliament can be used to support carers more effectively?
  • Posted by Stv63 September 02, 2015 at 23:52

    I agree on all points made here and would add this- the law that states how much a person needs to live on must increase every year as the cost of living increases or we are just making the poor poorer as the rich get richer.
  • Posted by Isamur September 20, 2015 at 20:46

    Why is it that as a carer receiving £62.10 weekly,I have to pay for the dentist and those on unemployment benefit do not
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