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Petition: Carers Study Allowance

A petition has been launched to allow carers to study for more than 21 hours per week whilst claiming carers allowance: http://bit.ly/2jkVPzj

Lucy Prentice’s Fixers project is aimed at changing the law that prevents young adult carers like herself from studying on full time courses. The charity arranged for her to tell her story on ITV News Wales on June 8.

Lucy, 19, who lives in Pencada near Carmarthen, looks after her disabled mother and attends college part time. She would like to be at college full time but she would not be allowed to claim her Carer’s Allowance if she attended for more than 21 hours a week.

Lucy says: ‘The law is stopping a lot of young carers reaching their potential and being able to have a better job after having a good education. I’m worried that young adult carers are sacrificing their futures for the short term because they need the money there and then.’

Lucy’s mother has had mental health problems after suffering a brain aneurism – a bleed on the brain – when Lucy was 11. She now relies on her daughter to look after them both, but Lucy doesn’t think that should prevent her from going to college full time.

Lucy says: ‘Carers cannot be in full time education and claim Carers Allowance even if they are caring for the 35-hours a week to make them eligible for this benefit. This particularly discriminates against young adult carers reaching their full potential in life.

There are 168 hours in each week, so even after deducting 35 hours of caring this still leaves 133 hours which the carer should be able to spend as they wish without restriction in the same way that anyone in paid employment can. It is completely feasible that a carer can provide the number of caring hours required to meet the eligibility for Carers Allowance and still study full time around their caring role.’

Watch Lucy’s video here:

Melanie Rees of Carmarthenshire Carers has praised Lucy for her campaign.

She says: ‘As long as they’re doing the 35 hours of caring, what they do in their own time surely is their choice. There are 168 hours a week. There’s still plenty of time for somebody to study and still take on a full time caring role.’

‘Young carers should be encouraged rather than discouraged to study.’

Lucy and a group of other young adult carers in Carmarthen are planning to make a film with Fixers to get their message across.

Lucy adds: ‘I hope the project will encourage the people who choose the regulations and laws to think about the restrictions and hopefully change it.’

Article from Lucy Thwaite at Fixers.org.uk

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