Benefitting Older Carers Parliamentary Reception
Carers Trust Scotland held a Scottish Parliament Reception on Thursday 11 January 2024 to launch our campaign on improving social security support for older adult unpaid carers across Scotland.
The event, hosted by Paul O’Kane MSP, was an opportunity to bring together a wide range of stakeholders, including decision-makers, unpaid carers and third sector organisations, to raise awareness of the overlapping benefit rule between State Pension and Carer’s Allowance (soon to be Carer Support Payment in Scotland), and the impact this has on unpaid carers.
Our research published in March 2023, Experiences of Older Adult Unpaid Carers in Scotland, found that 82% of respondents felt as though their caring role has financially impacted them. Challenges in retaining employment and developing a career alongside a caring role were highlighted through the research.
The research found many older adult unpaid carers who have underlying entitlement to Carer’s Allowance, but do not receive payment of the benefit due to receiving a full State Pension, felt a deep level of frustration and anger over this rule. As well as being financially penalised and having to use their State Pension to help fund a caring role, many felt as though they are no longer recognised as an unpaid carer and feel unsupported.
“Not getting Carer’s Allowance is shocking. I care 24/7 non-stop. I would get State Pension anyway caring or not. Pension is not a benefit. When one needs the funds for caring, it stops. State Pension is there for me, not to supplement the caring role. I have not had Carer’s Allowance in 15 years.” (Unpaid Carer quote from report).
At the Parliamentary Reception, we heard from an unpaid carer, Patricia, who shared their lived experience of fulfilling a caring role and the impact felt since not receiving financial support through Carer’s Allowance.
A representative from Scottish Government also presented on the work the Carers Benefit Policy Team have been undertaking, including their commitment to consider further changes to improve uptake in Carer’s Allowance, financial stability, and exploring a long-term carer recognition payment.
Carers Trust Scotland’s aim is to ensure that older adult unpaid carers are financially recognised for the contribution they make to society and will continue to raise the profile of older adult unpaid carers across Scotland. Additionally, we aim to promote the current social security support available, such as Pension Credit, to help towards improving uptake.