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Thousands more carers now able to apply for benefit

Carers urged to apply now and get money they’re entitled to

Thousands of unpaid carers in Scotland can apply for a new benefit from today.

Carer Support Payment, the replacement for Carer's Allowance, is now available in Angus and North and South Lanarkshire.

Carers living in these areas are the first to be able to apply for Carer Support Payment since it was introduced in the pilot areas of Perth & Kinross, Dundee City and Na h-Eileanan Siar (Western Isles) in November 2023.

New rules that come into effect today also mean the benefit, paid by Social Security Scotland, is available to more student carers.

Since its introduction, the benefit has been available to carers aged 16-19 in full-time “advanced” education, carers over 20 in full-time education at any level, as well as carers in part-time education.

However, from today, some 16-19-year-old carers in full-time “non-advanced” education, such as school, are also eligible for Carer Support Payment.

In addition, some carers – mostly full-time students - can now have their benefit payments backdated to when Carer Support Payment was first introduced.

The benefit will be rolled out to more local authorities in the next few months and will be available in all of Scotland from 4 November.

Carers who live in areas where Carer Support Payment is not yet available are urged to apply for Carer's Allowance to make sure they don’t miss out on support.

Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Shirley-Anne Somerville, said:

“I’m delighted that more carers in Scotland can now get Carer Support Payment and I urge every carer who is eligible for the benefit to apply as soon as possible.

“I also encourage anyone who thinks they might be eligible to check if they can apply. This includes students studying full-time who are not eligible for Carer's Allowance.

“The work unpaid carers do is invaluable and I want every carer to get the money they are entitled to.”

Keira Carruthers, 18, will be one of those applying for Carer Support Payment. The Blantyre woman, who has been looking after her dad since she was 13, is due to start an HNC in August.

She said:

“People really underestimate how hard it is to be a young carer. Caring for my dad can be difficult if he’s down with an illness or having a bad day.

“Sometimes it’s full-blown medical issues but other days it’s keeping him company and keeping him occupied. Being a young carer while balancing my studies is a full-time job.

“It’s really important that young people, who look after someone, get support while they’re studying. I’ll definitely be applying for Carer Support Payment.”


  • Carer Support Payment opens for new applications today, 24 June, in Angus, North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire. From 19 August, it will be available in Fife, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray, and North, East and South Ayrshire. It will be available in the rest of Scotland from 4 November. Carers can use the postcode checker to see if Carer Support Payment is available in their area. Carers can also find out more, and apply at
  • Eligible carers who live in areas where Carer Support Payment is not yet available are being urged to still apply for Carer's Allowance to make sure they don’t miss out on support.
  • Changes to allow more young carers in education to access Carer Support Payment are also now in force. Carers aged 16 to 19 in full-time ‘non advanced’ education can now be eligible if they have certain exceptional circumstances - including if they have no support from parents or are responsible for a child or young person. Non-advanced education includes school and college courses such as National Certificates, Highers and Advanced Highers.
  • Special backdating rules for the Carer Support Payment roll out mean that carers who are not eligible for Carer’s Allowance but are eligible for Carer Support Payment can apply to have their payments backdated to the date Carer Support Payment first became available. This stops carers missing out on money they are entitled to because they live in an area included in the later phases of the rollout.
  • The main group to benefit will be carers aged 16-19 in full-time “advanced” education (such as university), and carers aged over 20 in full-time education at any level.
  • To get fully backdated payments, carers must apply within 13 weeks of the benefit becoming available in their area. For carers in Angus, North and South Lanarkshire the 13-week deadline is 22 September. Carers may still be able to get fully backdated support after this if they have a good reason for missing the deadline.
  • Carers in Scotland who already get Carer's Allowance will have their award automatically transferred to Carer Support Payment. The amount they receive will not change. Social Security Scotland will write to people in advance to let them know that their award will be moving.
  • Transfers began in February this year. This is happening across the country and not just in the areas where Carer Support Payment is available for new applicants. All awards expected to be moved by Spring 2025.


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