The pilot phase of a new benefit that will be paid to over 80,000 carers has begun in Scotland. Unpaid carers in Perth and Kinross, Dundee City and Na h-Eileanan Siar (Western Isles) are the first to be able to apply for Carer Support Payment. The benefit is replacing Carer’s Allowance, currently delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions, in Scotland.
Carers in more local authority areas will be able to apply from Spring next year as part of the phased roll-out. The benefit will be available nationally by Autumn 2024. Carer Support Payment was designed with carers to offer them a better experience than Carer’s Allowance. This includes providing information to carers to help them access wider support and extending the eligibility criteria to let full-time students apply. Around 1,500 more people across Scotland are expected to be eligible for Carer Support Payment as a result.
The pilot phase will allow Social Security Scotland to put the new approach into practice. Learnings will be used to shape the roll-out of the benefit across Scotland. Carers in Scotland who get Carer’s Allowance will have their awards transferred to Carer Support Payment, starting from February next year.
Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:
“The Scottish Government is working hard to support households in the middle of a cost of living crisis. Carer Support Payment, which supports carers who have the most intensive caring roles and the lowest earnings, is part of our mission to reduce poverty. We have expanded the eligibility criteria so 1,500 people who couldn’t get Carer’s Allowance because they studied full-time, can get Carer Support Payment. We also made it easier to apply.
“A huge amount of work has been done to create a benefit and system that better meets the needs of carers who play a vital role in the lives of the people they look after and their community. This pilot phase allows us to put our new approach into practice, learning and improving ahead of the benefit beginning its phased roll out from Spring next year.
“I urge anyone in the pilot areas who thinks they might be eligible for Carer Support Payment to check if they are entitled and if so, apply. Carers living in other parts of Scotland who think they may be eligible should still apply for Carer’s Allowance.”
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