THOUSANDS of unpaid carers in Scotland can now apply for a new benefit. Carer Support Payment, the replacement for Carer’s Allowance, is available from 24 June in Angus and North and South Lanarkshire. Carers living in these areas are the first to be able to apply for Carer Support Payment since it was introduced in several pilot areas in November 2023.

New rules that came into effect on 24 June also mean the benefit, paid by Social Security Scotland, is available to more student carers. Since its introduction, the benefit has been available to carers aged 16-19 in full-time ‘advanced’ education, carers over 20 in full-time education at any level, as well as carers in part-time education.

Now, some 16-19-year-old carers in full-time ‘non-advanced’ education, such as school, are also eligible for Carer Support Payment. In addition, some carers – mostly full-time students – can now have their benefit payments backdated to when Carer Support Payment was first introduced.

The benefit will be rolled out to more local authorities in the next few months and will be available in all of Scotland from 4 November. Carers who live in areas where Carer Support Payment is not yet available are urged to apply for Carer’s Allowance to make sure they do not miss out on support.

Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Shirley-Anne Somerville, said: “I’m delighted that more carers in Scotland can now get Carer Support Payment and I urge every carer who is eligible for the benefit to apply as soon as possible.

“I also encourage anyone who thinks they might be eligible to check if they can apply. This includes students studying full-time who are not eligible for Carer’s Allowance. The work unpaid carers do is invaluable and I want every carer to get the money they are entitled to.”

Keira Carruthers, 18, who has been looking after her father since she was 13 and is due to start an HNC in August, will be one of those applying for Carer Support Payment. She said: “People really underestimate how hard it is to be a young carer. Caring for my dad can be difficult if he’s down with an illness or having a bad day.

“Sometimes it’s full-blown medical issues but other days it’s keeping him company and keeping him occupied. Being a young carer while balancing my studies is a full-time job. It’s really important that young people, who look after someone, get support while they’re studying. I’ll definitely be applying for Carer Support Payment.”

Special backdating rules for the Carer Support Payment roll out mean that carers who are not eligible for Carer’s Allowance but are eligible for Carer Support Payment can apply to have their payments backdated to the date Carer Support Payment first became available. This stops carers missing out on money they are entitled to because they live in an area included in the later phases of the rollout.

* More information on Carer Support Payment here.

* Source: Scottish Government