Letter: Blow to disabled

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I should like to thank Baroness Turner of Camden (letter, 5 November) for drawing attention to the potential double whammy for widows (and widowers) who have been carers, as a result of proposals in the Welfare Bill presently before parliament.

Where a laryngectomee is forced to give up paid employment as a result of disabling effects of surgical and radiotherapy treatment for throat cancer, their partner will often need to take early retirement too to undertake a caring role.

Not only will they face difficulties in convincing the Benefits Agency that loss of speech is a disability, with potential failure to access Invalid Care Allowance, but will, if the amendments placed before parliament come into being, both face long term reduced pensions as a result of early retirement.

To be aware whilst caring that, were the person they care for to die, they would no longer are eligible for a widow/ widower's pension - for which their partner had made contributions - will place an unacceptable burden on the family.

JEAN FRASER

Secretary, TALK

North East Laryngectomees Association

Newcastle upon Tyne

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