Thousands of unpaid carers will receive a double payment this winter under legislation recognising the additional pressure they face as a result of the pandemic.
If approved by Parliament, the Bill, published today, will mean more than 91,000 carers in receipt of Carer’s Allowance Supplement will receive an extra £231.40, doubling their December payment to £462.80. This extra investment, forecast to be £21 million, will be the second time the Scottish Government has doubled the Carer’s Allowance Supplement.
The Carer’s Allowance Supplement (Scotland) Bill, a priority for action within the first 100 days of this government, will also give Ministers powers to provide eligible carers with additional financial support in future if the need arises.
Social Security Minister Ben Macpherson said:
“Unpaid carers provide essential support to family, friends and neighbours. Their roles have been even more important during the pandemic, with many taking on additional tasks and facing higher costs of looking after people staying at home to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Scottish Government is grateful to all carers for their dedication during this most difficult of times.
“We introduced the Carer’s Allowance Supplement in 2018 in recognition of the vital role unpaid carers play in our society, and because the UK Government’s Carer’s Allowance is the lowest of all working age benefits. The supplement, paid twice a year, is only available in Scotland and has already helped thousands of carers in recent years.
“Like we did last year, this December we want to provide a double supplement of £462.80 to support unpaid carers with the additional pressures they’ve experienced because of the pandemic. This will benefit carers on low incomes who already have some of the most intense caring roles. This financial assistance adds to the other ways we are helping unpaid carers, who can also access support through their local carer centres, such as information, advice, counselling and advocacy services.”
Sebastian Fischer, VOCAL Chief Executive, said:
“Unpaid carers have faced enormous challenges during the pandemic. They continue to prop up the health and social care sector and shoulder the impact of additional caring responsibilities through this difficult period. Creating measures of support which deliver real impact to carers’ daily lives is much needed. We believe the Carer’s Allowance Supplement is a positive step towards valuing the role of carers as equal partners in care and recognising their crucial contribution to Scotland’s economy.”Paul Traynor, Head of External Affairs at Carers Trust Scotland, said:
“There is significant evidence that unpaid caring impacts upon physical and mental health and this has been exacerbated by COVID-19, resulting in many unpaid carers having to significantly increase the hours of care they provide.
“This additional payment of Carer’s Allowance Supplement, which will provide additional financial support, has the potential to reduce some financial pressure and goes some way in continuing to recognise the immense contribution of unpaid carers in Scotland.”
The Carer’s Allowance Supplement is paid twice a year to carers who are living in Scotland and receive Carer’s Allowance on specified qualifying dates. The qualifying date for the December 2021 double payment is 11 October 2021.
To be eligible for Carer’s Allowance, and therefore the Carer’s Allowance Supplement, you must be providing 35 hours or more of care per week. Recipients can only earn up to £128 a week, after deductions, through paid work.
The person the carer looks after must be in receipt of one or more of the following disability benefits:
- Personal Independence Payment – daily living component
- Disability Living Allowance – the middle or highest care rate
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the normal maximum rate with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Constant Attendance Allowance at the basic (full day) rate with a War Disablement Pension
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
The most recent supplement payments, due this month, were paid on 16 June 2021. If the Bill is passed by Parliament, the additional money will be paid with the next Carer’s Allowance Supplement in December.
The Scottish Fiscal Commission has today published a Supplementary Costing: Carer’s Allowance Supplement (Scotland) Bill.