Carer’s Allowance – UK versus NZ

In the UK, if you care for over 35 hours a week for a child or an adult who receives a disability benefit you are entitled to claim Carer’s Allowance of £66.15 a week.  If you earn over £123 a week, then you may not be eligible or you may be taxed on the allowance.

If two of you i.e. parents care for the same person for over 35 hours a week each, then only one of you can claim the benefit. Similiarly, I have four boys, all eligible for disability benefits but I can only claim one carer’s allowance despite looking after all four of them for over 35 hours a week each.

£66.15 a week divided by four boys on an hourly rate? Is that what I am actually worth?

How much is the state saving in caring costs by expecting family members to do most of the care for their relatives for pennies per hour?  Many of whom who are unable to work because they are caring for a family member full time?

My older boys used to get eight hours a week direct payments for carers to take them out. The social worker on her annual visit last year cut that to six hours. When I said that I didn’t feel bad about claiming eight hours as it would cost much more if they were to live fully supported within the community ie no longer at home, she said that some living  in community housing only get six hours too. But how much does their accommodation , admin and wrap around care cost? A lot more than eight hours does – actually only six now.

There was an article in the NZ (New Zealand) Herald in July which seems to have come under a low radar in this country. By which I mean, I have seen absolutely no mention of it anywhere. Why is this?

NZ are bringing in changes which mean that family members looking after spouses or children under 18 will be paid as carers. Paid a living wage.

From an article in the NZ Herald – 7 July 2019

Family carers are welcoming a Government announcement to pay partners and spouses who look after ill family members up to $25.50 an hour. People will be able to be paid for care they are already providing … [and] not be struggling financially to provide care that the state would have paid if it had been someone other than a family member.

He said his family had the fortune of having income, but today’s announcement would be especially beneficial for those who had given up incomes to look after spouses or children under 18.

We would never do it, but can you imagine if every parent in this country announced on the same day that they could no longer look after their child at home and that the state would have to pay for and provide all the care those children need?

How much would that care cost? A damn sight more than £66.15 per child a week.