Headlines: July 28th, 2008

A charity has raised fears that plans to scrap Incapacity Benefit and Income Support will lead to “serious anxiety” for carers. Carers UK is concerned about the measures set out in the ‘No one written off: reforming the welfare state to reward responsibility’ Green Paper in spite of Government claims that no carers will be worse off under the proposals.

The charity says the plan to replace Incapacity Benefit and Income Support with the Employment and Support Allowance for people with a medical condition that prevents them from working and Jobseekers’ Allowance for everyone able to work will mean carers who receive Income Support as a top up to their Carer’s Allowance will see a change to their benefits. It is worried that moving carers to the Job Seekers’ Allowance is inappropriate as most cannot work because of their responsibilities. Imelda Redmond, the chief executive of Carers UK, said it recognised the Government’s intention was to enable the vast majority of disabled people or those with a work-limiting health condition, to remain in
employment or get back to work. But she added, “Carers in receipt of Income Support as a top up to Carer’s Allowance will be moved on to JSA. This is bound to cause anxiety to significant numbers of carers claiming these benefits.

In spite of assurance that no carers would be worse off she said the changes would be confusing unless the necessary support systems were in place. “We will want concrete assurances that these carers will be treated appropriately. To date the system has not been sensitive to their needs,” she added.