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Monday 5th December 2016
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Media response to the Work and Pensions Committee Report

2nd September 2008

Mark Lever, National Autistic Society Chief Executive said:

"Caring for a person with autism can have a profound impact on individuals and families and can be very demanding both emotionally and financially, yet many receive very little help and support. The current benefits system for carers is inadequate and the complexity of the system coupled with a lack of information about entitlements often means that support fails to reach those who are most in need. We are pleased that the Work and Pensions Committee has listened to our concerns and welcome their call for benefits to carers to be overhauled.
Autism is a serious, lifelong and disabling condition and caring for someone with the disability is often a full-time job, but with Carer’s Allowance at a woefully inadequate £50.55 per week, we frequently hear from parents and carers who are struggling to cope financially. With the equivalent of just £1.44 per hour to support them – well below the minimum wage – it is not surprising that many families are living in poverty as a result.

Children with autism become adults with autism, so caring for someone with this complex disability is often a lifelong role: 40% of adults with autism live with their parents and many more rely on their family for financial support. It is scandalous, therefore, that over three quarters of parents caring for adults with autism do not receive any support at all. This is simply unacceptable.

It is imperative that the Government gives better recognition to the role carers play in society, with a simplified system of benefits, better access to information, and increased payments which reflect the true costs of caring. We urge the Government to take decisive action to improve the lives of thousands of people affected by autism - the right help and support at the right time could transform lives."

 

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