Scottish Carer’s Assistance will replace Carer’s Allowance in Scotland, however, despite the timing for delivery of this new benefit being affected by the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the Scottish Government has said it is “making good progress”.
Scottish Carer’s Assistance will be administered by Social Security Scotland and 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 each year will also be made to those who care for more than one person.
A consultation which outlines proposals aimed at improving the service that carers receive, including links to wider support in areas such as social care, employability, education and bereavement will close today – Monday, May 23.
The consultation explains how the Scottish Government expects the system build for Carer’s Assistance to take at least 18 months.
The guidance states: “It is vital that we make sure it works with UK Government systems in the same way as Carer’s Allowance – so carers get the right amount of benefits and don’t lose any support.”
Commenting on the proposed new benefit, the Scottish Government recently said: “Launching the benefit will be our highest priority following the delivery of Adult Disability Payment in August this year, the extension of Scottish Child Payment by the end of the year, and our first low income winter heating benefit in winter 2022/23.
“The current Carer’s Allowance benefit is the most complex benefit that we will replace in terms of its links with other benefits, including benefits which will still be provided by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
“We are working with the Department for Work and Pensions to understand what needs to be put in place between the two systems so our new benefit will have these links.”
During the process of designing and delivering the new benefit the Scottish Government will also be engaging with carers to take their feedback and gather user research.
It said: “We will deliver the new benefit in a way that is compassionate and considerate of people who will use it, and their needs.”
When the benefit first launches it will be open to new applicants – people who are eligible for support but are not yet getting Carer’s Allowance from the DWP.
Once the benefit has been up and running for a period, Social Security Scotland will then begin transferring people who are already getting Carer’s Allowance from the DWP.
When the transfer is complete, all eligible carers in Scotland will be getting Scottish Carer’s Assistance and not Carer’s Allowance.
Commenting at the time of the consultation launch in February, 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.”
The Scottish Carer’s Assistance consultation closes on May 23, 2022 – find out more here.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.