Young carers and their disabled parents set to lose out on thousands of pounds

30 August 2011

Thousands of young carers and their families face losing more than £3,500 a year under proposed welfare reforms, new analysis by The Children’s Society reveals.

The leading children’s charity has found that families with young carers looking after disabled parents could lose out through the abolition of the ‘severe disability premium’.

This could leave 25,000 people around £70 a week worse off, reveals The Children’s Society.

The Severe Disability Premium gives additional support to disabled adults who have no one to care for them, or are being looked after by a young carer. This money helps to pay for additional costs of living with a disability, such as housework, preparing meals and travel.

This will increase the already significant pressure on young carers to carry out these vital roles, The Children’s Society argues.

Young carers already lack support within the current benefits system as they are not typically entitled to Carer’s Allowance, despite 13,000 of them providing more than 50 hours of unpaid care each week.   

The introduction of Universal Credit spells the end of this additional support, costing families with a young carer up to £2,876 a year – which could be equivalent to 20 per cent of household income (after housing costs). With the abolition of the Enhanced Disability premium, also proposed, some families with a young carer could lose more than £3,500 a year. 

Bob Reitemeier, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said: “These changes will only serve to pile more pressure on children caring for a disabled parent. The Children’s Society believes the government should be making sure the family is supported in the home rather than relying on children to provide care.

“It is wholly inappropriate to withdraw support to families with young carers - especially when the government is not able to tell us how many could be affected.

“These changes will make life much harder than it already is for potentially thousands of vulnerable children. Children frequently tell us that their caring responsibilities affect their education, well-being and futures.”

Ends

For more information, please call Rafi Cooper in The Children’s Society Media Team on 020 7841 4422 or email rafi.cooper@childsoc.org.uk.

Notes to editors

  • The Children’s Society wants to create a society where children can be children, childhood is respected and every child is valued for who they are. Our approach is driven by our Christian values and by the voices of children and young people, who are at the heart of all we do. In 2009 The Children’s Society published The Good Childhood Inquiry, the UK's first independent national inquiry into childhood. Its aims were to renew society's understanding of modern childhood and to inform, improve and inspire all our relationships with children. The Children's Society is continuing to improve this understanding of issues affecting children through all of its ongoing work.