Wheelhouse welcomes payment for carers
South Scotland MSP Paul Wheelhouse has welcomed an announcement that Borders unpaid carers will receive a top-up payment just in time for Christmas.
Carer’s Allowance Supplement (CAS) was the first payment introduced under the Scottish Government’s new social security powers. It is given twice a year to those in receipt of Carer’s Allowance as a temporary top-up until full delivery of the benefit is taken over from the Department for Work and Pensions. The payment rate in 2020/21 is £230.10.
The Scottish Government has now published its first evaluation of CAS - and has announced that the next payment will be made on 18 December.
The evaluation found that CAS has made a positive difference to carers, not just financially but to their mental health and wellbeing. However, while carers feel more recognised by the Scottish Government, they don’t feel as visible to, or valued by, the wider public. Carers also say they want more chances to undertake work outside the home, to help give them a sense of identity outside their caring role and reduce feelings of isolation.
Commenting on the announcement, Mr Wheelhouse said:
“I am very pleased to hear that unpaid carers can expect a cash boost from the Scottish Government a week before Christmas.
“Since its inception, Social Security Scotland has been delivering financial support to those who need it most.
“I’m concerned however that unpaid carers still do not feel like their work is understood by the wider community. I hope that by highlighting their invaluable support for their family members, neighbours and friends, we can begin to see a positive change in that respect.”
The next payments of CAS will be made from Friday 18 December. These are for carers who were resident in Scotland and in receipt of Carer’s Allowance on 12 October 2020. Carers do not need to apply for CAS and those who are due to receive a payment will get a letter from Social Security Scotland with more information.
The Scottish Government is engaging with carers and stakeholders to consider improvements to Carer’s Allowance, and will consult early next year on the new Scottish Carer’s Assistance. All carers in Scotland are now entitled to an adult carer support plan or young carer statement, assessing their individual needs. The Scottish Government also offers the Young Carer Grant, an annual payment of £305.10 for young people aged 16, 17 and 18 who care for someone 16 hours or more each week.