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Cash for carers: urging unpaid carers to apply for financial support

Carer with younger child

Being an unpaid carer can be hard - physically, emotionally and financially. Unpaid carers make a huge difference to families and communities across Scotland.

That’s why, during Carer’s Week, Social Security Scotland is urging unpaid carers to check if they are eligible for financial support, including our Young Carer Grant, Carer’s Allowance Supplement and Carer Support Payment.

Many people look after a family member, a friend or a neighbour without ever considering that they are a carer. It’s just what people do when someone close needs help.

But this means they could be missing out on vital financial support that they are entitled to, so it’s important they check to see if they are eligible.

Unpaid carers may be helping someone with a disability or a long-term illness. They may be helping them with medication, cooking meals or translating information like letters into another language. It could even be simply keeping them company or checking on them throughout the day.

We’re also encouraging people who get disability benefits, and have a carer who supports them, to encourage their carer to apply.

We spoke to Lynn Cochrane, 63, from Clydebank who spent the last 10 years looking after her Dad who was bedbound and had Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons Disease.

Lynn said:

“I’m an only child so it was just me and Dad. That’s the same for many people. Just them and the person they look after. I could only get out if I had someone to sit with Dad.

“But I was different from most carers. I was privileged because Dad’s pension kept a roof over my head and paid all the bills. The Carer’s Allowance Supplement, which I got in addition to Carer’s Allowance, gave me some independence. I used it for holidays and birthday presents.

“Lots of people don’t recognise that they are carers and they don’t realise what’s out there. The majority of carers have nothing to fall back on and they shouldn’t be ashamed about applying for financial help.

“It was only after Dad passed that I recognised the toll on my own body. My hip, my shoulder and my arm are totally gone with the lifting. So, I applied for Adult Disability Benefit and I’m now getting that.

The Carers Centre in West Dunbartonshire, carer benefits and the people from Social Security Scotland have done so much for me.”

Young Carer Grant is a yearly payment of £383.75 for young carers in Scotland. It is available to young people aged 16, 17 or 18 who are caring for one, two or three people for an average of 16 hours a week. Young carers need to fill in a new form or call us each year they want to apply. How people spend the Young Carer Grant is up to them. They could use it for things like new clothes, driving lessons or a holiday.

Carer’s Allowance Supplement is an extra payment for people in Scotland who get Carer's Allowance or Carer Support Payment on a particular date. It is paid automatically twice a year. The most recent payment was made on 7 June. The next payment will be in December.

Carer Support Payment is replacing Carer's Allowance for carers who live in Scotland.

It is being rolled out across Scotland. The first phase of the launch was in November 2023 and the benefit is currently available in Dundee City, Na h-Eileanan Siar (Western Isles) and Perth & Kinross. 

Subject to approval by the Scottish Parliament, it will be available in 10 more areas this summer. The next phase of the roll-out, will start with Angus and North and South Lanarkshire from 24 June.

The roll-out continues in August, when Carer Support Payment will be available in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Fife, Moray, and North, South and East Ayrshire. It will be available in the rest of Scotland from 4 November. 

You can find out if applications are open in your area by using the Carer Support Payment postcode checker.

Carers in Scotland who get Carer’s Allowance or Carer Support Payment will continue to automatically receive extra support from Carer’s Allowance Supplement.

To find out more about financial support for carers and apply online, over the phone or to book an appointment to apply in-person, people can visit mygov.scot/benefits or call us free on 0800 182 2222.

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