Young Adult Carers in Carmarthenshire have this week launched a national campaign to change the law in respect of the length of time a young carer can study and still receive Carers Allowance.
Current eligibility criteria for Carers Allowance states that a carer:
1. Must provide 35 hours or more care per week
2. Must not earn more than £110 per week
3. Cannot be education for 21 hours or more per week.
Carmarthenshire Young Adult Carers (YAC) have teamed up with the Carers Trust and Fixers organisation to launch a parliamentary petition to seek to change the 21 hour rule which it says discriminates against carers who wish to study to improve their employment prospects and to reach their full potential in life.
The petition was launched on Friday on the campus of UW Trinity St David with a range of organisations present to support the campaign.
The campaign hopes to achieve 100,000 signatures for the debate to be held in Parliament.
Member of Parliament Jonathan Edwards is also supporting the campaign and attended the official launch where he pledged to do all he can in parliament to help bring about a change in the law. Mr Edwards said the young carers were just asking for a chance to help themselves.
Urging everyone to sign the petition, Jonathan Edwards MP said:
"We first have to remember that caring is not a uniform job in which every carer undertakes the same role. Caring comes in many forms and, depending on an individuals' need, their carers may deliver around the clock care or work with professionals to share caring responsibilities.
"At the heart of this campaign is enabling young adult carers – those who selflessly help look after their loved ones – to study and improve their future employment prospects.
"When we consider that Carers Allowance is equivalent to around £2 per hour, it's notable that these young people aren't asking for more money, but are instead asking for the chance to help themselves.
"Many carers and their families experience financial hardship due to an illness or disability within the family, so the current 21-hour rule increases the likelihood that a cycle of financial hardship will continue if young people aren't able to get good education.
"I don't doubt the current legislation was deliberately designed to save the state money, but the government must recognise that one small change to the law will better support young adult carers and, of course, save the state money in the longer term.
"I'm very proud to see young people in Carmarthenshire establishing a national campaign which seeks to make life better for young adults across the UK. I'm 100% behind this campaign, and I pledge to do all I can in parliament in support these young carers in their endeavours. I would urge as many people as possible to back the campaign too and sign the petition."
Click here to sign the petition.