Full-time carers under financial strain

Published Thursday, 14 February 2013
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Full-time carers in Northern Ireland say the rising cost of living and lack of government support are putting them under severe financial strain.

Ten years ago Richard Burnside left his job in Shorts to care for his wife Susan, who has MS. Now his income of £58 a week works out at less than £2 an hour.

"There's no redundancies no nothing," he told UTV. "Nobody realises the financial hardship carers are put under.

"The whole aspect of caring, not only the financial aspect but from the social aspect, your circle of friends aren't there anymore because you can't do the things that you used to do."

Richard and Susan are two of over 200,000 people in Northern Ireland in the same position.

Margaret Field also gave up her job to become a full-time carer. She looks after her son Paul, 20, who is autistic and needs constant care.

When Paul left school it was also the end of some of the benefits that the Field family had come to depend on.

"We were down about £600 a month on our income and that was an awful shock to the system.

"We just about manage and you know that's all I can say we just about manage to get by," said Mrs Field.

A survey by Carers UK has revealed that 8 in 10 of us are concerned about the financial impact of care.

"When people were confronted with the level of benefits for example that carers have got they were horrified really and they couldn't begin to image how they would cope," said Helen Ferguson from Carers NI.

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Mr Burnside is calling for the carers income to be increased, as Carers UK is working to establish the true cost of caring for relatives.
© UTV News
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5 Comments
Antrim in Antrim wrote (427 days ago):
I have just started from last year on carers allowance. I hadnt realised that also my mum who is 82 has had most of her money cut of her as well. I get the £58 a week but she seems to have lost out on more money from her pension.
david mcgregor in newtownabbey wrote (428 days ago):
This has been highlighted thousands of times even by some! MPs. Goverment know we care too much to walk away and put loved ones into care.when we finally break we will end up there too.£58 a week we save you billions,thanks for your support. loving parents,wives,husbands,daughters,sons and others
Disillusioned in North Belfast wrote (428 days ago):
The average cost of home care is £13.68 an hour. Double the minimum wage. I have every sympathy for anyone caught in these circumstances, by looking after loved ones at home, these people are saving the Government millions per year. it's about time they were compensated properly.
Joe McPhillips in Newtownards wrote (428 days ago):
Further to your item on Carers Allowance on tonights programme. It gets worse !! as I found out. Once I attained the age of 65 the DSS ceased the Allowance which I received for caring for my disabled wife. I was told that as I was now in receipt of a State Pension I could not claim this Allowance. When I enquired who would take over the duties the DSS clerk rang off!!
Belfast in Belfast wrote (428 days ago):
Why are carers being punished by the government when they are saving the NHS millions but yet those who play the system and are generally wasters milk the benefit system for thousands!!
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