Carers missing out on benefits and flexible working

October 1, 2009

The Public Accounts Committee claims that carers are missing out on their benefit entitlement, this is because due to unnecessarily complicated application rules. An estimated £23 billion is the value of care services given by friends and family. 900,000 carers in the UK receive £2 billion in benefits from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), but approximately one fifth of these say they experience difficulties claiming.

Committee chairman Edward Leigh said: ‘The value of the service that these unpaid carers provide to society is not reflected in the quality of the DWP’s arrangements for providing them with financial and other support.’ He also stated that carers ‘should not have to be jumping through unnecessary hoops to apply for benefits and allowances.’

Meanwhile, a separate survey conducted by ICM has revealed that 82% of respondents were not aware of carers’ legal entitlement to request flexible working arrangements. 35% of those who took part in the survey were carers and therefore eligible to ask their employers.