New support for Scotland's carers

The Scottish Government is seeking views on plans to improve support for Scotland’s community of unpaid carers through the introduction of a new benefit.

Under proposals outlined in a new consultation published on Monday 28 February 2022, Scottish Carer’s Assistance will replace Carer’s Allowance, currently delivered by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), and will be provided through Social Security Scotland.

It will support people who provide 35 hours per week or more of care to people receiving certain disability benefits. An additional payment of more than £500 a year will be made to those who care for more than one person.

The consultation outlines proposals to improve the service that carers receive through the social security system with Scottish Carer’s Assistance, providing increased financial support and making links to wider support in areas such as social care, employability, education and bereavement.

The consultation also highlights how support could be expanded once support for carers already in receipt of Carer’s Allowance has been transferred to Social Security Scotland.

Opening the consultation, the Scottish Government’s Minister for Social Security and Local Government, Ben Macpherson MSP said:

“Caring for a loved one can be a positive and life changing experience but also presents many challenges. We will deliver Scottish Carer’s Assistance in a compassionate and considerate way, linking carers to wider services.

“We will also create a weekly payment of £10 for those caring for more than one person, and if the person they care for is challenging a change to their disability benefits we will make support available.

“This is in addition to continuing support for young carers and maintaining the extra support from our Carer’s Allowance Supplement, providing eligible carers with an extra £460 a year.

“When we have introduced our new benefit, and safely and securely transferred people from Carer’s Allowance to Scottish Carer’s Assistance, we intend to make further improvements. We will look for opportunities to make these changes sooner if we can do so without putting carers’ existing benefits at risk.

“These further changes would help remove barriers to education, allow carers to add together hours spent caring for more than one person to qualify for support, extend support after the loss of a cared for person or when a cared for person is in hospital, and enable carers to earn more from paid work.

“We want to hear people’s views on these plans, other potential changes beyond these, and thoughts on how improvements would help address inequality and poverty.”

Welcoming the consultation, Louise Morgan, Director for Scotland at Carers Trust said:

“Here at Carers Trust Scotland we welcome the consultation on Scottish Carer’s Assistance and the possibilities it presents to make real change to carers finances. 

For too long, many carers have been unable to access Carer’s Allowance because of the restrictions placed on time spent in education or because all of the hours spent caring for people were not recognised. 

Carers have provided more care than ever over the last couple of years due to social care services being reduced or made unavailable due to the pandemic.  It’s certainly time that their efforts are recognised and rewarded financially and with support, so that they can have a standard of living that they deserve.”

The Scottish Carer’s Assistance consultation is open for responses until 23 May 2022. You can take part here.

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