A new research report published today by the Department for Work and Pensions looks at Carer’s Allowance recipients.
The research explored Carer’s Allowance recipients’ caring responsibilities, their experiences of combining care with paid employment and support mechanisms used to manage their caring roles.
The main findings are:
- Carer’s Allowance (CA) recipients’ value having a benefit that acknowledges their role. It provides an important source of income and forms part of a wider range of financial support generally used to manage household budgeting.
- Formal and informal support were utilised by CA recipients to help them manage their caring roles. This included formal care services providing personal care to the cared for person. CA recipients reported that they often became aware of the availability of formal support services through other professionals such as doctors or hospital staff.
- Generally, respondents would prefer to be in paid employment, although they considered their caring responsibilities prevented this from happening. Respondents widely discussed giving up paid employment when their caring responsibilities became particularly arduous. It was also at this point that they started to claim CA. Some respondents did not want to access paid employment. They viewed their caring responsibilities as a ‘full-time’ job.
- Leaving paid employment at the onset of their caring responsibilities was discussed by some, with those caring long-term forsaking their own career plans. Carers of children were the most likely to be in paid employment, working part-time, possibly because children were in school during the day. Sourcing employment with sufficient flexibility to accommodate caring responsibilities was considered difficult, although not impossible. Some CA recipients had been able to alter their working hours and patterns to accommodate their caring responsibilities.
- Part-time work was selected by some CA recipients as a way of managing their caring responsibilities and remaining in paid employment. This was highly valued by some carers as it enabled them to remain in contact with the labour market and continue to develop their skills. Respondents also cited benefits to their own well-being, including increased self-esteem and confidence.
- Recipients find the eligibility criteria and Carer’s Allowances’ interaction with other benefits difficult to understand and overly restrictive. They felt that it discouraged them from accessing employment and education opportunities.
Notes to Editors:
- This research reports is published on 26th May 2011 as part of the DWP Research Report Series, Report 739 Developing a clearer understanding of the Carer’s Allowance customer group’.
- The authors are respectively Gary Fry, Benedict Singleton, Sue Yeandle and Lisa Buckner of CIRCLE (Centre for International Research on Care, Labour and Equalities) at the University of Leeds.
- The reports can be found at http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rrs-index.asp