New Scottish Benefit Pilot in Three Areas
Carer Support Payment will open for applications in pilot areas from November 2023, subject to parliamentary approval of regulations setting out rules and eligibility.
Adults living in Dundee City and Perth & Kinross, as well as in Na h-Eileanan an Iar, will be the first to be able to apply ahead of phased national rollout from Spring 2024. The benefit will be available nationally by Autumn 2024.
Carer Support Payment will replace Carer’s Allowance, currently administered by the Department for Work and Pensions, and will be provided by Social Security Scotland. It will be the 14th Scottish benefit and is a Programme for Government commitment.
More than 80,000 carers will be able to receive the benefit in Scotland, including 1,500 carers who are currently unable to access Carer’s Allowance due to studying full-time.
Background and further information
Carer’s Assistance (Carer Support Payment) (Scotland) Regulations 2023: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/sdsi/2023/9780111057964
The launch of Carer Support Payment follows the introduction of extra support available for unpaid carers in Scotland through the Carer’s Allowance Supplement in 2018 – this was the first payment made by Social Security Scotland and increases Carer’s Allowance by over 13%. Eligible carers receive a payment every six months, and payments are £270.50 in 2023. Carers continuously in receipt of Carer’s Allowance Supplement will have received over £3300 above Carer’s Allowance since the Supplement’s introduction.
The launch of Young Carer Grant in 2019, and Coronavirus Carer’s Allowance Supplement payments in 2020 and 2021, have also supported unpaid carers in Scotland.
The draft regulations provide that students can get Carer Support Payment if they meet the other eligibility criteria and are:
- any age and studying part-time (for less than 21 hours a week)
- 20 or over and studying full-time at any level of education
- 16 to 19 and studying full-time advanced education.
The Carer Support Payment amount will continue to be paid at the same rate as Carer’s Allowance from launch until case transfers are complete. The current rate of Carer’s Allowance is £76.75 a week.
Carers studying full-time who are currently unable to access Carer’s Allowance will be able to apply for Carer Support Payment as soon as it is available in their local authority area.
Carers in Scotland who are already receiving Carer’s Allowance will not need to make an application for Carer Support Payment. Their benefits will start to transfer automatically from February 2024. Carers will receive information before their benefits transfer to tell them more about what to expect. From launch Carer Support Payment will provide an improved service to carers, joining up with wider services to help carers access information on the wide range of support available to them.
The Scottish Government is committed to further priority improvements to Carer Support Payment as soon as feasible after case transfer from Carer’s Allowance to Carer Support Payment is complete. These include new extra support for those caring for more than one person and extended support for carers following the death of the person they care for.