So, we’re now weeks into COVID-19, the government has announced a lot for supporting people, etc… but (and some of this is my personal situation)
I’m a full-time carer for a disabled family member, I live on Income Support and Carers Allowance… because of their vulnerability (and to a lesser extent, mine) we’re isolating together… meaning my caring role has gone from hours a day, to 24x7 … not a problem, luckily we get along… but, I’m now doing more caring than ever.
If I were unemployed, or in UC and caring, I’d be seeing an extra £1000 this year… in Income support, it appears I wont;
If I had a part-time job to supplement my UC/Income Support … I wouldn’t be eligible to claim for furlough - in my case, I didn’t, but I could be out of pocked £4-500/mo because of it… on top of increased caring
So, financially, it’s pretty grim as a carer… fine.
The government has announced it needed 500,000 volunteers to help the vulnerable/elderly/etc… but, because I am self isolating along with the person I care for, she is considered to not need any external support … sounds good, but digging deeper… I’m self isolating to ensure I can provide care with as little social contact as possible, I have to shop / etc… exactly the same as everyone else however, because neither of us can access the care that the government recommends for those self isolating… and it appears to be a lottery… I have a friend with COPD & Heart condition… he automatically got medication delivered at the moment, even though his wife and the rest of the household aren’t in a vulnerable group… in my case, I had to go to the doctors surgery, pick up a 3 month prescription, take it to the pharmacy and will get a call monthly when it’s ready to collect…
Since this began, we’ve managed to get a delivery slot with Ocado (so expensive), a £35 box from Morrisons (branded products, would last a single person 3-4 days probably?), and a click and collect from Morrisons (which in fairness, was fantastic) … Asked the Ocado driver how to register as vulnerable for priorty … didn’t know said call the # on the invoice (there wasn’t one), asked the person doing click + collect from Morrisons … not sure… sent an email to Morrisons via their site… reply was they are still waiting for a list from the UK Govt for whom to consider vulnerable… these slots I’ve gotten are all with almost daily checking across ASDA / Tesco / Morrisons / Ocado / Sainsbury’s
The new Carers’ card should alleviate some of this surely? … I mean, I’m a carer, if I can identify myself as such, then right? … nope… best I can hope for is a local scheme card from my local carers association…, or to take a copy of my DWP Carers’ allowance letter and my drivers license with me, and spend 10 minutes explaining.
Someone please explain to me, why, any of us are actually carers… I mean, I could work full-time, earn a decent(ish) wage doing so… and let the local council foot the care bill… not worry about self isolating… and still do the 50% that the council wouldn’t do as part of their ‘comprehensive care plan’ they’d provide.
I certainly don’t feel what I do makes any sense any more… All carers have spent years being ignored by the government, providing an essential service that would cost I suspect billions if we all just refused and put the burden on social services…
Now during a national crisis, where the government has identified the most vulnerable, it has in every measure it has taken, completely and utterly failed to consider how those who are providing the most comprehensive in-home care to people - those who spend 35+ hours/week providing care for someone - are being entirely ignored by the systems in place.