I’m 74 and throughout his life I was a carer for my severely disabled son, who had a learning disability and a cognitive age of six. He tragically died very suddenly at 51 two years ago.
When he died, not surprisingly I lost my Carers’ Allowance, as I was no longer a carer, but this had other implications for me.
The benefits of Pension Credit
I have a work and State Pension which means that I’m not entitled to Guarantee Pension Credit. However, when my son was alive I was receiving Carers’ Allowance which meant I was entitled to the benefits that come with Guarantee Pension Credit. To me this was the most important aspect.
This meant I was entitled to free dental care and free eye tests – these things make a big difference when you are on limited income as I am. Now, if I need fillings or extractions or even a six monthly check up, I have to pay.
I’ve just paid £22 for a dental check-up, and that’s a lot out of a pension.
Losing the benefits that come with Guarantee Pension Credit also means that my door to legal aid is no longer open. I believe the hospital that looked after my son was negligent, causing his death, but now I am unable to bring a case forward. I can’t afford it. I have to put up and shut up.
Lots of disabled people are in the same position as me: we are losing out on entitlement to benefits.
I’m hearing about a lot of people with mental health conditions who are losing the legal right to fight for their benefits as they are losing legal aid. I do get the Disability Living Allowance because I have rheumatoid arthritis. If I lost this I would lose my mobility car and without this I would be housebound and that is a big concern.
Needing more support
Really I need carers to help me, but even someone on a low income such as mine I would have to pay towards their care.
I’d have to pay out a lot of money so I do without.
I used to have a cleaner who came in because I have difficulty climbing up steps to change the curtains or wash the windows; or bending down to clean cupboards. For me, paying for a cleaner is out of the question. It’s very difficult to survive now.
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