Raise the rate | Poppy’s Place


Carers: Don’t they deserve better payment for the valuable work they do?

In the High Court yesterday a senior judge determined that Iain Duncan Smith had discriminated against two disabled people by applying the benefits cap to their carers.

The judge who ruled that this was discriminatory when applied to carers doing 35 hours or more of care every week said: “To describe a household where care was being provided for at least 35 hours a week as ‘workless’ was somewhat offensive. To care for a seriously disabled person is difficult and burdensome and could properly be regarded as work.”

This got me thinking.

Could this judgement be used, legally, as justification for Carer’s Allowance needing to be raised to the same amount as someone would be paid as a minimum wage for a 35 hour week instead of the paltry amount it is at present? If, legally, a family carer is in ‘paid’ employment then surely the law states that they should be paid at at least the minimum wage for the work they do. And, if the pay that the family carer is receiving is their Welfare Benefit payment, namely, their Carers’ Allowance, then doesn’t that pay have to be at the same minimum wage rate that an agency or Social Services carer would receive for the same work? I am unable to see an reason why this should not be the case. I believe Iain Duncan Smith is on very shaky ground trying to say that a family carer’s work is of less value than that of a paid carer.

Source: Raise the rate | Poppy’s Place

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12 thoughts on “Raise the rate | Poppy’s Place

  1. Jeffery Davies

    I somehow think this imp will find a way again or take no notice of the judgment rtu ids will use many to find away around this jeff3

      1. Joanna

        Sorry I thought they might also be being “encouraged” to do jobsearch.

        That aside I know a full time carer, his partner has quite profound learning disabilities, I see him as a hero, he doesn’t, he just gets on with it, but he also had added stress, because his brother died through malpractice, and he had to pay his funeral costs, even though he is on benefits himself. He also has to fend off his partners son who keeps harassing her for money.

        Carers are totally unselfish which is something, someone as selfish and arrogant as IDS is, would never be able to understand.

        I hope things do change for you and every carer out there!!

  2. paulrutherford8

    I’ve long said that kinship-carers who, like us ‘work’ 24/7/365 or thereabouts, ought to be taken out of the benefits system, while retaining at least all benefits they currently receive. If the amount is less than would be earned at the minimum wage, then the money ought to be topped up accordingly.

    This wouldn’t be so difficult for the dwp to do… a couple of checks and job done.

    If this were the case, I’m sure a lot of [needless], stress would disappear and life would be better for all.

    It just takes a *real* commitment from the government to support kinship-carers. That’s not so hard is it… really?

  3. Nessie King

    My concern with raising carers allowance is that it is a very slippery slope. Carers allowance is means tested. Unless carers are given the due pay their work deserves – and the problem there is who is going to monitor effectively the hours that carers put in? – then there is a very real danger of carers like ourselves being “taxed” out of caring. Yes we only get £62 a week carers allowance but that amount is “topped up” by Income support and yes, housing benefit (although we are subject to the bedroom tax) and Council tax benefit (again – we are not given the full amount any more). As little as this is, raising the carers allowance beyond the income support level would actually leave carers like myself worse off – as this could essentially take us out of the level for income support, which in itself, although not a great deal in monetary terms, is a gateway benefit to other support such as housing and council tax benefits and so on. Unless carers were paid a fair living wage for the hours they do we stand the real risk of being given “too much money” and yet not enough to live on. Unless the means test is removed from carers allowance such a raise could give rise to more problems than it solves. Just a thought.

  4. A-Brightfuture

    “Workless”, such a negative word, but everything that surrounds IDS is dark and negative.

    Workless implies that you work, less…. less than what? HIM.

    Workless rhymes with hopeless, useless,
    IDS sees everyone “less” than him.
    Good luck to the folks who won their very stressful court case, and to all carers that do a very worthwhile contribution to society and their families.

  5. Bill Kruse

    Smith’s already ignoring this judgement, this is his advice;
    Judicial Review in the case of R v Secretary of State of
    the inclusion of Carer’s Allowance in the benefit cap
    1. Today the judgment has been handed down in a judicial review in the case
    of R v Secretary of State of the inclusion of Carer’s Allowance in the
    benefit cap.
    2. We are pleased that the Court agrees that the benefit cap pursues a
    legitimate and lawful aim.
    3. However the Court has asked us to look again at the indirect impact on
    those disabled people whose carer is subject to the cap on household
    benefit payments.
    4. We will consider this judgment and set-out our position in due course. We
    are continuing to apply the benefit cap as now, and there is no change to
    applying the cap to carers.
    5. Provided below is some Q&A to enable you to respond to any enquiries
    you might receive.
    Q. Is the government going to appeal?
    A. We are considering the judgment and will set-out our position in due course.
    Q. Is the government looking again at the position of disabled people whose carer has been capped?
    A. We are considering the judgment and will set-out our position in due course.
    Q. Is the government going to exempt carers from the cap?
    A. We are considering the judgment and will set-out our position in due course. The cap continues to apply.
    Q. What does this mean for carers subject to the cap?
    A. The benefit cap continues to apply.
    Q. I’m a carer who has been capped will you be paying me arrears?
    A. No, the cap continues to apply.
    Q. As a local authority should we continue to apply the cap to carers?
    A. Yes, the legislation underpinning the cap remains in force. Discretionary Housing Payments remain an important option for local authorities to help households adjust to the benefit cap and other welfare reforms.
    Q. Why doesn’t the government support carers?
    A. The Government recognises and appreciates the vital contribution made by informal carers. We have ensured that carers are central to the government’s reforms to care and support, and there are stronger rights for carers in the Care Act, which came into force in April 2015.
    Crown Copyright 2015
    Recipients may freely reproduce this bulletin.

  6. Jacqueline Smirl

    Try getting agency carers at minimum wage here in London!
    New Zealand has the best system as far as family carers are concerned , we should take a leaf out of their books.

  7. amnesiaclinic

    I think you are right and it would be fantastic if this was legally challenged. I would contribute to crowd-funding for this!

    I also think it is wrong that family carers receive nothing if they are already on a pension. This means thousands receive nothing for doing a full-time job of caring because after the second war at some point the wording was changed and the pension became a ‘benefit’ and you can only receive one benefit, with the pension being more than the paltry carer’s allowance.

    Time that’s changed as well!

    How much money would be saved if we all had a decent citizen’s allowance enhanced by carer’s, disability or child allowance etc and all the bureaucratic, costly nonsense stopped?

  8. Anntoinette Kelleher

    I am a full time carer for my daughter and welcome and applaud this high court judges’ decision against I.D.S. (I cannot bare to write his name!!!) I do not have any regret for being her carer especially as a lot of it entails very personal levels of care, so I know she wouldn’t want anybody else involved. I have to admit though it is definitely the most difficult ‘job’ I’ve ever done. It’s 24/7 and requires a massive amount of knowledge, nursing skills, physiotherapists skills and dietitians skills on top of the personal care and educating her and being her counsellor and at some point when I’m not injecting her with antibiotics, or administering her with oral medications and nebulisers or doing physiotherapy, I like to spend some precious time actually being her mum!!!

    My caring role requires I make up and inject intravenous antibiotics into my daughter regularly via a portacath – that I have to maintain by flushing it every 28 days to keep it patent – many qualified nurses are not even trained to do this, I also have to undertake physiotherapy a minimum of three times a day, on top of adhering to a very strict diet ensuring over 3000 calories are consumed daily by a person that by the very nature of her disability does not have an appetite. I have to work out the nutritive value of the food to ensure the correct dose of enzymes in the form of capsules are given. I then monitor oxygen supply both at home and when going out with my daughter.I lift, carry her wheelchair and push her whenever we go out which is playing havoc with my back.

    I am expected to present all aspects of my daughter’s medical history and treatments to the various medical teams she is under – with NO medical background myself and administer over 23 different prescription drugs appropriately as there are contraindications if some are taken together or indeed with specific food or drink i.e. dairy products. I have had to learn how to operate and ‘fix’ various essential items of medical equipment which is a huge responsibility. I also act as her appointee so deal with all her financial and other administrative necessities. So it’s about time somebody recognised what carers do because I know many carers that do all this and more and yet are considered ‘not to work’. I know I save the NHS an awful lot of money by keeping my daughter at home as often as possible to administer intravenous antibiotics etc. and even when she’s an inpatient I stay with her to ensure she receives the correct level of care because the wards do not have sufficient staff and the nurses are rushed off their feet!!!! So please, please let’s try to move this forward to get carers a livable wage and decent conditions – I couldn’t tell you the last time I had a full night’s uninterrupted sleep.

    I’m more than happy to help in any way I can – in my spare moments – because it’s a serious issue that needs addressing.

    Thank you for all your articles and the information you provide, I really appreciate all your hard work.


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