Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) supports the introduction of the Young Carer Grant, which is the first entirely new benefit to be created under powers devolved in the Scotland Act 2016. Young carers in full-time education currently are ineligible for support from Carer’s Allowance, but as is recognised from evidence in the consultation document, they face a range of issues as a result of their caring role at a critical time of transition in their lives.
When CAS consulted CAB advisers on this issue, there was overwhelming support for a Young Carer Grant. 73% of respondents to an online survey thought that young carers should receive both additional financial and non-financial support, with a further 3% favouring them receiving additional financial support only. 20% of respondents favoured providing non-financial support only. The proposed structure of Young Carer Grant – a £300 annual cash payment, with a further package of support including free bus travel, and tailored entitlements and rewards such as leisure activities through the Young Scot National Entitlement Card – is in keeping with this approach. Additionally, it is also likely to increase the number of young carers who recognise that they are carers, which will enable them to access further support services.
As part of the long-term development of carer’s benefits in the new Scottish social security system, CAS recommends that the current restriction on carers in full-time education from receiving Carer’s Allowance is removed. This will have the potential to have an even more significant benefit to young carers who would qualify, and help avoid them dropping out of education due to not having access to sufficient financial support to study whilst performing their caring responsibilities.