Surprise, surprise after repeated denials that disabled people will be exempt from the £500-a-week benefit cap that is due to come into force in April, there has come to light a mistruth . It applies to carers looking after their disabled children when they reach adulthood.
Last week in the Commons pensions minister Esther McVey said: “In practice most carers will be exempt from the cap because their partner or child is in receipt of disability living allowance “. When pressurised by Labour MP Andrew Gwynne to look at the rules again Ester McVey then admitted: “Should there be another adult in the house, that is then a separate household, so both have to be assessed separately.”
Ministers have now accepted that if a parent is still looking after a disabled child after they reach adulthood, even if the child’s mental age is as low as eight, the parent and the child will be treated separately, and the parent will be subject to the benefits cap.
This now makes it possible that some parents may have to move out of their home or put their child into care. Letters are already being sent to carers with offspring aged over 20 confirming the change in the rules.
Discretionary payments are claimed to be available to prevent hardship in government documentation with regard to welfare payments changes. The introduction of Personal Independence Payment (replacing DLA) and Universal Credit coming in to force in stages from April 2013 hopefully provides this safeguard.
Anxiety has now been thrust upon some parents/carers who thought they would not be affected by this cap as another welfare reform nightmare sufaces.
It is quite possible that lives will be shortened and even ended by a simple and silent killer – STRESS – because some of the most vulnerable in our society are being scared to death. The reason for wefare reforms may have be unavoidable (the nations skint) but it’s been sickening hearing the goverments justification for changes supposedly fairer, more empathetic and simplified as they are clearly not going to be. Everybody’s personal circumstances define how they will cope with these changes – lets hope most do!.