"Bringing Families Together"

"Bringing Families Together"

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Welfare Reform Bill

Thousands of families with disabled parents and young carers are expected to lose out on vital benefits unless the Welfare Reform Bill is amended, a charity has warned.

Analysis by The Children’s Society has revealed that 25,000 people could lose up to £3,500 because of the scrapping of two disability premiums.

The severe disability premium is currently granted to disabled people who do not have anyone eligible for the carer’s allowance to look after them. People on the highest rate of disability living allowance can also claim the enhanced disability premium.

As the carer’s allowance is not available for people under the age of 16 or in full-time education, families rely considerably on the premiums to provide outside help.

But according to The Children’s Society, the introduction of the universal credit will mean these benefits will be abolished, leaving young carers and their families with a £70 gap in their weekly budget.

Enver Solomon, director of policy at the charity, said: "These benefits help disabled parents pay for aid to do housework or prepare meals, and losing them could mean that these chores will now be performed by children."

The Welfare Reform Bill is due for its second reading at the House of Lords on 13 September.

The Children’s Society chief executive Bob Reitemeier said: "It is wholly inappropriate to withdraw support to families with young carers. These changes will make life much harder than it already is for potentially thousands of vulnerable children whose caring responsibilities affect their education, wellbeing and future."

A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions said: "We continue to spend over £40bn a year on disabled people and their services and our commitment to help support disabled people live independent lives runs at the heart of our welfare reforms.

"We are reforming the current system of complex disability premiums and will increase the support for the most vulnerable. We will also provide transitional protection to ensure that no one is worse off under our welfare reforms."

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