A consultation on how carer’s assistance, one of the new Scottish social security benefits, might differ from the UK carer’s allowance has been opened by the Scottish Government.

Ministers say that launching Scottish carer’s assistance will be their highest priority following the delivery of adult disability payment in August this year, the extension of Scottish child payment for six to 16 year olds by the end of this year (subject to data from the Department for Work & Pensions providing the necessary data), and the first low income winter heating benefit in winter 2022-23. 

They expect it will take at least 18 months to build the new benefit, which will be the most complex benefit to be replaced in terms of its links with other benefits, Scottish and UK. Work with the DWP is ongoing and ministers hope to have agreement on timings soon.

Carer’s allowance currently provides support to unpaid carers who meet certain criteria and are caring for 35 hours or more a week for someone receiving a disability benefit.

The present consultation is split into three main sections:

  1. Scottish carer’s assistance when it first launches, setting out proposals for the benefit will work initially, including eligibility for support, benefit rules, and how to link carers to wider services and support.
  2. Extra money for carers in Scotland, covering how carer’s allowance supplement (an extra amount paid to carers in Scotland who get carer’s allowance) should be paid in future, as well as proposed new support for people getting Scottish carer’s assistance and looking after more than one person who is getting a disability benefit – provisionally named "carer’s additional person payment".
  3. Changes to Scottish carer’s assistance, which it is proposed to make once the process of transferring people in Scotland who are getting carer’s allowance to receiving Scottish carer’s assistance instead is complete. The proposals are based on work with carers and support organisations to look at how carer’s allowance could support more carers.

Views are also sought on how the proposals could affect different groups of carers, and businesses in Scotland, and what can be done to make sure the new benefit works for everyone.

Access the consultation here. The deadline for responses is 23 May 2022.