Derbyshire carer turned down for emergency support after losing Carer’s Allowance cash
A Derbyshire woman who provides full-time care for her partner with mental health issues and disabilities has said she was denied support after her Carer’s Allowance money was lost out of her purse.
The unpaid carer, who did not want to be named, contacted Derbyshire County Council following the incident last week and applied for help through the Derbyshire Disrectionary Fund (DDF) – an emergency cash payment which helps people who cannot pay for food, heating or emergency travel due to a disaster or crisis.
She had just drawn out her £60 weekly Carer’s Allowance from the bank and put the money in her purse which she then gave to her partner without thinking.
But, unbeknownst to the pair, the money fell out and Derbyshire County Council reportedly said they weren’t eligible for funding through the DDF as their situation wasn’t classed an emergency.
The woman said: “He had my purse in his hand because it’s got keyrings on it and it helps his anxiety when he’s walking with me; if anybody is about he plays with the keyrings.
"I had my Carer’s Allowance in my purse and while he’s been playing with my keyrings it’s fallen out and we’ve not realised.
"Normally I’ve got the money in my pocket so he’s got an empty purse in his hand but I put it in my purse because I’d gone to get it out the bank. He also normally has a little stress ball that he carries but, because he forgot that, he took my purse and me not thinking there was money inside it I just gave it him.”
Without the money, the woman was left unable to top up her gas and electricity meters.
She said the pair also faced having to go without food until her partner’s occupational therapist stepped in and referred them for emergency support from a nearby foodbank, resulting in them now getting a food parcel delivered every week.
"I felt like I’d failed him because I’m his carer, it’s my duty to care for him,” she added.
A Derbyshire County Council spokesperson said: “We have been running the Derbyshire Discretionary Fund (DDF) since 2013 and it replaced crisis loans and community care grants previously offered by the Department for Work and Pensions.
“While we have been able to help thousands of people, the funds are not unlimited and all applications are assessed on the basis of need, urgency and risk.
“Staff work to a criteria which includes the length of time a person must have lived in the county and that a person can only access a maximum of three emergency cash payments in a 12-month period, and there are some items that the fund cannot help with, including not replacing lost or stolen money.
“While we can’t comment on this individual application due to the personal information involved, our staff working with people applying to the DDF are compassionate and recognise that people can face tough times, especially at the moment.
“When the fund cannot make an award, if possible they will explore alternative sources of support with the applicant to try to make sure that help is accessed from a suitable alternative.”