Unpaid family carers in Scotland look set to receive an emergency Carer’s Allowance top-up in recognition of the additional pressures they face during the Coronavirus pandemic, according to proposals brought forward by the Scottish Government.
If passed, the proposal will mean that unpaid carers in Scotland who are eligible for Carer’s Allowance will receive a one-off payment of £230.10 in June.
As with the current supplement, they will not need to do anything to get this extra payment as it will be paid automatically to people in receipt of Carer’s Allowance.
This would mean that carers receive an additional £690.30 this year on top of their Carer’s Allowance and any other income. This supplement is not paid in the rest of the UK.
Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People, Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “We introduced the Carer’s Allowance Supplement to recognise the important contribution unpaid carers play in our society.
“They provide vital support to family, friends and neighbours. Our collective efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus will see many of these carers experiencing additional pressures, particularly financial, right now.
“The payment will benefit carers who are on low incomes and already have some of the most intense caring roles, providing at least 35 hours unpaid care weekly to a disabled child or adult in receipt of higher level disability benefits.
“This additional payment would be an acknowledgement to carers that we know that they are doing even more right now, and we thank you.”
Responding to the proposal, Chief Executive of Carers UK Helen Walker said: “This is an important act of acknowledgement for Scotland’s unpaid carers – the majority of whom have been providing even more care for their older, disabled or seriously ill loved ones during the pandemic.
“Many unpaid carers in Scotland will appreciate being recognised and this extra money will help them meet some of the extra costs they are facing during the outbreak.
“Now, the UK Government needs to do its part to ensure the rest of the UK’s unpaid carers receiving Carer’s Allowance – and providing upwards of 35 hours of care a week – also receive a coronavirus supplement.
“This is imperative to show carers that the Government recognises the additional financial costs that they are facing at this time.
“Caring Behind Closed Doors, our research into carers’ experiences during lockdown, showed 81% of unpaid carers had extra financial costs as a result of the crisis.
“At the same time, unpaid carers are under extra pressure, providing more care and not getting breaks.”