When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Fears over benefits for East Lancashire carers
6:00pm Friday 15th February 2013 in News
HUNDREDS of carers in East Lancashire could see their benefits scrapped when new disability-claim rules start, it has been revealed.
Benefit eligibility of around 76,000 disabled people with unpaid carers will be assessed in April, when personal independence payments (PIP) oust disability living allow-ance (DLA).
And, with an estimated 25,000 losing eligibility and only 20,000 cared-for disabled people gaining entitlement under new rules, approx-imately 5,000 less carers nationwide will receive their weekly £58.45. John Rattigan, business manager at Crossroads Care East Lancashire, which offers carer support to hundreds across the region, said he was angered by the forecast.
“From our point of view it is shocking,” he said.
“It is so sad that carers who receive such a small income for what they do could have it taken from them.
“Even if it were to affect just 100 carers it would be 100 carers too many.”
The changes, described as ‘necessary’ by the Depart-ment for Work and Pensions, will save the government around £2billion.
However, Mr Rattigan said if carers ceased to exist, the taxpayer’s bill could increase tenfold.
“Some carers may now have to look for other work to make a living,” he said.
“If so, any people being cared for will have to go into hospitals or residential homes – facilities funded by the taxpayer. The best solution for us all is that the carer looks after them.”
More than a million people receive carer’s allowance nationwide, with around a quarter of claimants’ entitlement dependent on the person cared for being eligible for DLA.