Supporting unpaid carers
New Scottish benefit to be piloted in three areas.
Carer Support Payment will open for applications in pilot areas from November 2023, subject to parliamentary approval of regulations setting out rules and eligibility.
Adults living in Perth and Kinross, Dundee City and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, will be the first to be able to apply ahead of phased national rollout from Spring 2024. The benefit will be available nationally by Autumn 2024.
Carer Support Payment will replace Carer’s Allowance, currently administered by the Department for Work and Pensions, and will be provided by Social Security Scotland. It will be the 14th Scottish benefit and is a Programme for Government commitment.
More than 80,000 carers, will be able to receive the benefit in Scotland, including 1,500 carers who are currently unable to access Carer’s Allowance due to studying full-time.
Social Justice Secretary Shirley Anne Somerville yesterday said:
“This 14th Scottish benefit feeds into our critical mission to reduce poverty and provide support those who are in the greatest need.
“Unpaid carers play a vital role in looking after their loved ones, but we know this can affect their own health and wellbeing. Carer Support Payment will provide unpaid carers with income in recognition of their caring role, giving them more security and helping them access opportunities outside of caring.
“Access to education is a key part of this, which is why we want to extend eligibility for our benefit to many carers studying full-time. I am pleased student carers will be able to apply as soon as Carer Support Payment is available in their local authority area, given the calls from carers and support organisations for changes to the current rules.
“This change and the delivery of Carer Support Payment will be a key milestone in our ongoing work to improve support for unpaid carers, and we are committed to further changes to make the benefit work even better in future.”
Background and further information
Carer’s Assistance (Carer Support Payment) (Scotland) Regulations 2023: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/sdsi/2023/9780111057964
The launch of Carer Support Payment follows the introduction of extra support available for unpaid carers in Scotland through the Carer’s Allowance Supplement in 2018 - this was the first payment made by Social Security Scotland and increases Carer’s Allowance by over 13%. Eligible carers receive a payment every six months, and payments are £270.50 in 2023. Carers continuously in receipt of Carer's Allowance Supplement will have received over £3300 above Carer’s Allowance since the Supplement’s introduction.
The launch of Young Carer Grant in 2019, and Coronavirus Carer’s Allowance Supplement payments in 2020 and 2021, have also supported unpaid carers in Scotland.
The draft regulations provide that students can get Carer Support Payment if they meet the other eligibility criteria and are:
- any age and studying part-time (for less than 21 hours a week)
- 20 or over and studying full-time at any level of education
- 16 to 19 and studying full-time advanced education.
The Carer Support Payment amount will continue to be paid at the same rate as Carer’s Allowance from launch until case transfers are complete. The current rate of Carer’s Allowance is £76.75 a week.
Carers studying full-time who are currently unable to access Carer’s Allowance will be able to apply for Carer Support Payment as soon as it is available in their local authority area.
Carers in Scotland who are already receiving Carer’s Allowance will not need to make an application for Carer Support Payment. Their benefits will start to transfer automatically from February 2024. Carers will receive information before their benefits transfer to tell them more about what to expect. From launch Carer Support Payment will provide an improved service to carers, joining up with wider services to help carers access information on the wide range of support available to them.
The Scottish Government is committed to further priority improvements to Carer Support Payment as soon as feasible after case transfer from Carer’s Allowance to Carer Support Payment is complete. These include new extra support for those caring for more than one person and extended support for carers following the death of the person they care for.
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