Scottish Government seeks views on new benefit for unpaid carers

The benefit will be called Scottish Carer’s Assistance and will replace the DWP’s Carer’s Allowance.

Scottish Government seeks views on new Scottish Carer’s Assistance benefit for unpaid carers iStock

The Scottish Government is opening a consultation on plans for a new benefit for unpaid carers.

The benefit will be called Scottish Carer’s Assistance and will replace the DWP’s Carer’s Allowance.

Ministers in Edinburgh say it will support more than 80,000 people who provide 35 hours a week of care to those 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 says support for carers could be expanded once the benefit is transferred from the DWP to Social Security Scotland.

Social security minister Ben Macpherson 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.”

He continued: “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.”

Fiona Collie of Carers Scotland welcomed the consultation.

She said: “This opportunity to improve the main financial support for carers in Scotland is an important one and carers have long discussed ways in which it can be changed to recognise their caring and better meet their needs.

“I would encourage as many carers as possible to respond and bring their views and experiences to the consultation, either individually or through events and activities that are planned.”