We are sacrificing our education and future for the short-term help of the Carer’s Allowance

15 March 2018

Hello, my name is Lucy Prentice, I am 20 years old and a full-time carer for my mother.  I have been a carer since the age of 11 when my mother suffered a raptured brain aneurysm.  Since she fell ill she has developed some physical disabilities as well as mental health disabilities.

As a carer my role involves helping mum with some physical tasks like helping her dress, picking things up off the floor, tying bin bags, hanging up clothes and many more. This has left her with anxiety and depression and means that she is not able to leave the house without company. I must take her out just so she can get out of the house, help her with financial bills and shopping.

I have been a carer throughout most of my educational years.

I was in secondary school when she fell ill, and this proved difficult trying to balance school life, caring and my own personal life. Unfortunately, school wasn’t very understanding of what I was doing and what I was going through and this caused major problems for me.  It made my grades fall as they wouldn’t give extra time for home work, help to catch up when I would be off school due to my mother or illness. I grew to resent the school because of this and just gave up and stopped trying. The time where the school started to become supportive was when I was in my final 2 years (Year 10 and 11) but this was a bit too late by this point as these were my crucial final years in school.

After this, I went to college and they were so much more supportive. The difference was amazing, and I wish now that I had gone to college a lot sooner after school than what I did. There was always support if it was needed – they understood why I was sometimes late, absent or slow finishing my work.

What hurt the most was that after two years at college and going onto my third I had to make the difficult decision to leave due to my carers allowance. Carer’s Allowance (just £62.70 per week) rules say that carers cannot claim if they are on a course for more than 21 hours a week.

My mother and I have pretty much always had financial problems, so Carer’s Allowance is a massive help. So, when the argument came that I was in education for more than 21 hours (which I was just by an hour) I decided I needed the money more.

This rule has affected me in so many ways and a lot of other carers too. We are sacrificing our education and future for the short-term present as the money is a vital help. I am now running a petition to go up against this part of the regulation with Carer’s Allowance. Below are links to an ITV broadcast, fixers film and the petition which include more information on the issue. Please show support and sign and share!

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/202755

http://www.fixers.org.uk/news/15833-11208/help-young-carers-study.php

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