New Research from Carers UK Reveals Alarming Impact of Carer’s Allowance on Vulnerable Family Caregivers
Research reveals carers cutting back on essentials including food
Restrictive allowance limits carers’ ability to earn
Research from Carers UK, has revealed startling findings in their latest report. The study uncovers the detrimental effect of the high cost of living, combined with carers inability to earn more, as their income is severely restricted.
Key findings from the research include:
Carers from ethnic minority backgrounds were more likely to be struggling financially
69% of ethnic minority carers were worried about living costs and whether they could manage in the future, compared to 60% of White British carers
34% of ethnic minority carers were struggling to make ends meet compared to 29% of White British carers
24% of ethnic minority carers were struggling to afford the cost of food compared with 20% of White British carers
Carers from ethnic minority backgrounds were more likely to be cutting back on things which improve wellbeing
61% of ethnic minority carers had cut back on hobbies compared to 57% of White British carers
51% of ethnic minority carers had cut back on seeing family and friends compared to 46% of White British carers
The research also found:
– 75% of unpaid carers receiving Carer’s Allowance are facing significant cost-of-living pressures.
– Nearly half (46%) of these carers are cutting back on essentials like food and heating.
– 45% report struggling to make ends meet, a substantial increase from 39% in the previous year.
The charity found that many carers are reguarly skippinig meals and going without food to cover other costs.
Carer’s Allowance provides just £76.75 per week for a minimum of 35 hours of unpaid care, equivalent to £2.19 per hour. This amount falls far short of the current national living wage (£10.42/hour) and next year’s projected national living wage (£11/hour). Additionally, carers can only earn up to £139 per week while receiving the allowance, leaving them well below the national living wage.
The research also highlighted that carers receiving Carer’s Allowance were:
– 34% more likely to struggle with food costs compared to 21% of all carers.
– 71% more likely to worry about future living costs.
– 72% concerned about the impact of caring responsibilities on their finances, including travel costs for hospital visits, heating, and specific dietary requirements.
– 54% cutting back on seeing family and friends, up from 43% in 2022, which is especially concerning as these connections often provide much-needed respite for unpaid carers.
Carers UK leads the Carers Poverty Coalition, a collective of over 110 national and local organizations working together since February 2023 to reform the benefits system and alleviate financial hardship among carers. The coalition’s mission is to advocate for policy changes, introduce better systems to support carers in paid work, and raise awareness of the challenges faced by unpaid carers during the cost-of-living crisis.