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Carers and Disabled to have increased benefits

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A new £200m yearly package of extra financial help for carers and
disabled people was announced yesterday by Alistair Darling, Secretary of
State for Social Security.

Mr Darling placed high priority on delivering substantial
improvements for carers and disabled people as part of the annual
uprating of benefits.

Three targeted benefit rises, over and above the Retail Prices Index
(RPI) and ROSSI Index, will give extra support to around 350,000
families.

– The carer premium is now increased by £10 on top of the normal
uprating – the weekly premium will rise from £14.15 to £24.40, an
increase of over 70% for over 200,000 carers

– A £7.40 per week rise to the disabled child premium which is paid
with IRBs – this is over and above the normal uprating and raises
help for around 80,000 disabled children from £22.25 to £30 per
week

– An increase of £14 to the starting level for the Disability Income
Guarantee (DIG) that was first set at £128 – the new rates will be
£142 and £186.80 per week for singles and couples respectively.

Mr Darling said: “We made a commitment to provide support for
everyone who cannot work. The increases in carer and disability
benefits I have announced today prove our determination to give
improved and sustained help where it is needed most.

“For too many years the selfless dedication of carers did not receive
just recognition. We are determined to reverse this and the improved
carer premium rates begin to give deserved reward to over 200,000
carers for their vital contribution to community care.

“We have pledged to eradicate child poverty and that includes
recognising the needs of children with disabilities and the needs of
their families. That is why I have targeted the disabled child
premium with a 25% increase. The improved rate makes sure that even
more help is now available for around 80,000 children.

“We have also pledged to provide greater security for those people
who cannot work, that is why we drew up plans for the Disability
Income Guarantee (DIG) – to give a guaranteed income to people with
severe disabilities.

“When I first announced the introduction of DIG from April 2001 I
said the starting rate would be £128, I am now raising that level by
£14 to £142 per week. From April next year the Disability Income
Guarantee (DIG) will be in place to help upto 130,000 adults and
30,000 families with disabled children.”

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