In my work as a carer support worker I am always impressed by how much carers offer support to the person they care for. Most carers I meet do loads and are really kind and compassionate people. But one thing we often see is that carers can neglect their own needs and their health.
Recently I met a carer at a meeting and she mentioned that her neck was hurting, her arthritis was painful, and she was really struggling to do things. I asked if she was receiving personal independence payment (PIP). The carer said no, and believed that she wasn’t entitled to anything like that. I suggested that she should request a PIP form to see if she could get this benefit to help her. Reluctantly, the carer agreed and when the form came, we completed it together.
After a couple of months of going through the application process, and attending a medical, the carer was turned down for the benefit. We both agreed that we would attempt to get this decision reconsidered. I drafted a letter of mandatory reconsideration (first appeal stage) and a few months later the carer received £2000 in back pay and will now receive £59.70 a week, which is the standard rate for PIP.
We were both delighted with this result and the carer told me that if I had not spoken to her at the meeting then she would have never have considered applying for the benefit as she never considers what she needs, only the person she cares for. I told her she is not alone and many carers are like this.
If any of this sounds like you the please ring the carer advice line to discuss support for you on 0113 380 4300 available 9am-5pm.
You may also want to check out this benefits calculator on the Turn 2 Us website: https://benefits-calculator.turn2us.org.uk/
Elaine Wilkes, carer support worker