Social security support for Scotland’s unpaid carers
Unpaid carers make a vital contribution to our communities all across Scotland. At the same time, we know caring can be challenging as it involves juggling caring responsibilities with work, study and other family commitments, and can impact people’s health, wellbeing and ability to live their life outside of their caring role.
Research has also shown that many people don’t recognise or call themselves a carer. This could be for a number of reasons. It could be because they see themselves a family member or friend and don’t realise the tasks they are doing are part of a caring role. Or they may have gradually taken on a caring role as the condition of the person they look after slowly gets worse over time.
That’s why on Carers Rights Day we are urging people, whether they are new to caring or have been caring for a while, to check if they are eligible for our new benefit Carer Support Payment, Carer’s Allowance Supplement or Young Carer Grant, and make sure they don’t miss out on valuable financial support they are entitled to.
Our benefits provide carers with income in recognition of their caring role, giving them more security and helping them access opportunities outside of caring.
The Carer Support Payment pilot opened for new applications in Dundee City, Perth and Kinross and the Western Isles on 20 November. It is our 14th benefit and is replacing Carer’s Allowance in Scotland, which is currently delivered by the DWP.
To help raise awareness and encourage eligible people to apply, we are encouraging stakeholder organisations to share information on their channels. Additional resources for stakeholders on Carer Support Payment, including factsheets, posters, flyers and social media graphics, are available to download and share.
The payment will be available in more local authority areas from Spring 2024 and across Scotland from Autumn 2024. People living outside the pilot areas should continue to apply for Carer’s Allowance.
Carer Support Payment eligibility criteria has been extended so that those studying full-time will be able to apply, removing barriers to education and helping to support 1,500 more carers who are currently unable to get Carer’s Allowance
People who are currently getting Carer’s Allowance from the DWP will have their awards automatically transferred to Social Security Scotland, starting in February 2024 and do not need to apply separately.
Carer Support Payment is a new benefit but builds on existing extra financial support for unpaid carers that is only available in Scotland.
Carer’s Allowance Supplement was the first payment we introduced. It is an automatic payment of £270.50 made twice a year to eligible carers already getting Carer’s Allowance. It will also be paid to carers getting Carer Support Payment.
Since launching in 2018, nearly 150,000 carers across Scotland have automatically received more than £250 million through our Carer’s Allowance Supplement. The next automatic payment will be made on 8 December.
Young Carer Grant, a yearly payment of £359.65, is also available to thousands of young people who provide essential support for people in their communities. It is available to 16, 17 and 18 year olds who are caring for someone who receives a disability benefit for an average of 16 hours a week.
Young carers can apply if they are at school, in further education, employed or unemployed. They can apply once a year as long as they remain eligible, and they can spend the £359.65 payment however they choose.
If you are a carer, or an organisation supporting carers, we urge you to find out more about our benefits and check if you are eligible.
People can apply online, over the phone or book an appointment to apply in-person, people can visit mygov.scot/benefits or call us free on 0800 182 2222.