Caring for my mother
I had to retire in the mid-2000's to honour my father’s last wish that I should look after my mother and sister.
Mum had impaired hearing and seemed to have early signs of dementia. We would speak on the phone regularly and she would always say that she was looking forward to seeing me “at lunchtime tomorrow”. However, I was working at the other end of the country and I couldn’t be there. I would then have to call my sister to pop in and tell Mum what was really happening.
Managing my mother’s finances
This was difficult so I decided to retire and become my mother’s carer.
I returned to North Wales, and as I was over sixty, I retired and received Pension Credit. I organised for my mother to receive the first level of Attendance Allowance and my own Carer’s Allowance. A year later it was obvious that Mum needed additional help so I organised a package of support with the local council and claimed the second tier of Attendance Allowance support for her.
Complexity with work and benefits
In the meantime, I had been elected to the local Co-op management board and was attending monthly meetings. Shortly after arranging the addition support for Mum, the Department for Work and Pensions contacted me to demand the repayment of all of my Carer’s Allowance and my £30 a month income for the monthly management meetings.
I didn’t realise that I couldn’t earn anything without it impacting my Pension Credit and, consequently, my Housing Benefit and Council Tax exemption.
I am glad I was able to care for my mother - I helped her to achieve her goals of outliving her mother (96), and getting her “telegram” from the Queen! She passed away aged 101 and a half.
Wanting to work
I would still like to carry out some occasional work to keep life interesting and have recently investigated if I could take on some work as a film extra. However, if I were to take on some work it would be sporadic, and I’d have to go through all the “hoops” to get a benefit claim going every time there was no work; usually 10-12 weeks to establish a claim. I have looked into Universal Credit but there is nothing in there to help me.
I think that we should all be able to work without being penalised for doing so.
I’ve just had my first holiday for 25 years thanks to my new girlfriend. I’d just like to be able to make life a little sweeter.
Have you been affected by any of these issues?
This blog represents one individual’s experience; personal circumstances differ – if you have been affected by any the issues in this blog and want some advice about your own situation please contact Independent Age’s Helpline on 0800 319 6789.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of Independent Age