For many of us, our caring role will end at some point. It might be due to bereavement or choice or a change in circumstances such as a loved one going into residential care. There is very little written about this or recognition that this may pose something of a ‘cliff-edge’ financially or emotionally for some carers. Many like myself have been dependent on a pooled set of inadequate benefits over a long period of time supplemented by dipping in and out of part-time, insecure work to allow flexibility to provide care. If you are of working age, within a matter of weeks of your caring role ending, Carers Allowance, such as it is, evaporates and you are left with the pittance that is Universal Credit to cover everything. If your caring role has been challenging and circumstances traumatic, you’re expected to get over that and make the psychological leap into the workplace, perhaps with a new employer and colleagues and unfamiliar systems and technology. So my question to the ‘Ether’ is: where is the support? Where is the financial and emotional easing and acknowledgement of the care and support you have provided all these years? A radical change is needed. For example Carers Allowance paid for up to 6 months after a caring role has ended in certain circumstances. Specialised support to get Carers of working age back into the work force. And for anyone reliant on Univetal Credit, not just Carers, benefits paid at a decent rate for those who cannot work.
I totally agree. I care for my much older 82 year old husband. I am 59. When he dies, I will lose his state pension although I think the second state pension will be partially paid to me when I meet retirement age . Yes he has a private ssp but that is going down very quickly.
I would happily look for a job BUT I feel I may not be that employable as I do not drive which would limit me and my skills in technology could be better. I would love to do some vol work in a charity shop to build up my confidence, but the reality of trying to juggle this and care for him is a real issue. I would also love to do a computer course.
I agree that job centres should be helping carers back to work. I feel I have good communication skills and am used to dealing with District Nurses,GP’s and Consultants, so I feel that I could with the right support work again. Also maybe Carers Support Centres could consider running a ‘back to work’ course where ex carers can maybe meet other ex carers and get support in the job hunt?
I certainly agree the posters who beg anyone considering giving up work to please re think. I really regret giving up my career when my husband retired as the loss of confidence is the worst of all.
I cant believe i remained completely ignorant of this obvious prospect until recently. As you rightly point out, little light is shone on such a pressing issue. There definitely needs to be more acknowledgement and support of both carers AND former carers. Thank you for bringing some awareness to this!!