When scrolling through my twitter feed this morning I stumbled across a tweet made by the UK charity Contact a Family.
"Contact a Family is the only national charity that exists to support the families of disabled children whatever their condition or disability. With over 30 years of experience, our vision is that families with disabled children are empowered to live the lives they want and achieve their full potential, for themselves, for the communities they live in, and for society." Contact a Family
The tweet said
"We are calling on the chancellor of the exchequer to increase carer's allowance earnings limit."
This instantly caught my interest and I opened the attached ink to read more. You can read it here
At present carers receive £59.75 a week and can earn up to £100 a week while receiving the benefit. Carers Allowance is the only state benefit that is given to carers. To be eligible to receive the benefit you need to be caring for the disabled child or adult for at least 35 hours a week.
Due to the minimum wage increase earlier this year of 12p many carers are starting to earn marginally more than the allotted £100 a week and in doing so are facing losing their Carers Allowance entitlement.
This is why UK charities such as Contact a Family and Carers UK are campaigning for an increase to the weekly earnings of carers.
Carers UK argue that:
"the benefit's 'cliff-edge' earnings limit is outdated and is in conflict with the Government's changes to the benefits system." Carers UK
Life is hard enough for carers; I myself am one to my young son. Many carers are already isolated due to the nature of caring for their child or other relative and for any carer the limitation of earnings will probably force them to make the unwanted decision to stop working as the little extra that they are earning due to the minimum wage increase is simply not enough to make up the difference of losing £239 a month. By not increasing carers tax earnings limit many carers will have to leave the world of work and suffer further isolation.
It is also a fact that many families who have a disabled child are more likely to live in poverty due to raising a disabled child. This is because of the increased transport costs, dietary requirements and specialist diets, my son is on a gluten free and lactose free diet, clothing and then there are childcare costs. It is well-documented that childcare costs five times more for disabled children, and that is if you can find specialist provision.
Paul Soames who is the Interim CEO of Contact a Family said on their website:
"Any increase in the carer's allowance earnings limit by the chancellor this week would send a positive message to hard working carers that their significant contribution to the economy - an estimated £119 billion a year - is recognised and valued by government."
I will be eagerly reading the developments of this campaign and how the Chancellor decides to respond