Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Prescription Charges 2

Well, I had a long conversation with an advisor at the Down's Syndrome Association today and found out all the details regarding free health care for my daughter.  Apparently, it is the case that anyone with Income Support gets free prescriptions but anyone on Incapacity Benefit does not.  This includes glasses and dental care.

However, the present government are changing the system yet again, and anyone currently on Incapacity Benefit will be moved onto something called Employment and Support Allowance, which is basically the same thing except each person will have to undergo an interview to check whether or not they are fit to go to work.  This is part of the government's plans to weed out the benefit scroungers and make sure anyone getting support is eligible.  It is a gradual process apparently as they slowly work through all claimants - hopefully with our name beginning with 'B' it won't be too long.

Once my daughter is on this 'new' benefit, she will once again be eligible for free health care - all a convoluted process, but I can see the reasoning behind it.

Interestingly, the DSA advisor said that many parents were angry that their child would have to go through an interview, but she pointed out that surely this was the best way for anyone to see for themselves that the person is genuinely unable to work.  I agree with her - if you are a genuine case, then there is nothing to worry about.

Whilst I understand all the above, I do wish that this information was passed on to the benefit claimant rather than having to find out only when something goes awry.  As carers, we have more than enough to deal with without having to follow up on each and every change to the system to find out how it affects the person we are caring for.  I have found this throughout my daughter's life - the really pertinent information is never made known in a straightforward way, you either have to fall foul of some new ruling or stumble across it.  This was one of the reasons I started this blog - I do know of parents who are ahead of the game and super-knowledgeable about everything their offspring is entitled to, but there must be a great deal like me who have enough trouble juggling work, caring, home and their own problems and just don't have the time or energy to trawl through every single website and booklet or spend hours on the phone speaking to advisors!

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