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Carers urged "Take up benefits and know your rights"

December 8, 2008 12:20 PM

Cambridge carers have been urged to make sure they take up benefits and know their rights by the city's MP David Howarth as he backs a national campaign.

Mr Howarth is supporting a campaign, designed to raise awareness of the support and benefits available to the Cambridge carers, which has been launched by Carers UK.

There are over six million unpaid carers in the UK who provide support to family, friends and neighbours, saving the country an estimated £87 billion each year.

Mr Howarth said: "It's a real concern that carers in Cambridge may not be getting all the help to which they are entitled. It might be the Carer's Allowance, meals on wheels or council tax discount that could make all the difference.

"Carers are fulfilling a vital role in society and without them the NHS and social care system would not be able to cope. It is essential that they are given information about their rights so that they get the support they need and do not live in poverty, risking their own health and future prospects."

Imelda Redmond, chief executive of Carers UK said, "Nearly three quarters of carers are financially worse-off as a result of caring, with many falling into poverty and debt. Yet around £740 million per year in carers' benefits go unclaimed. Carers must get clear information on what they are entitled to, and how to claim it."

Carers can order a free booklet, called Looking after someone: a guide to carers' rights and benefits, from Carers UK by visiting its website at www.carersuk.org or calling the free phone hotline on 0808 808 7777.