Teenage carers in Scotland will be the first in the UK to be given financial support thanks to a new grant.
A new benefit will open for applications on Monday, with the Scottish Government investing £600,000 to support almost 2000 young carers in 2019/20.
The Young Carer Grant will be available for 16, 17 and 18 year olds who spend an average of 16 hours caring for someone who receives a disability benefit.
Paul Traynor, Policy and External Affairs Manager, Carers Trust Scotland, said: “Carers Trust Scotland welcomes the Scottish Government’s innovative Young Carer Grant, which goes some way to recognising the immense contribution of unpaid young carers in Scotland.
“It is vital that young carers are able to live their own life alongside their unpaid caring roles and are provided with appropriate support to give them a better chance to reach their full potential in all aspects of their lives. At this key transitional time for many young carers aged 16–18 years old, this financial support has the potential to make a positive difference to their lives and alleviate some of the financial difficulties that these young carers may experience.”
Young Carer Grant applications can be made online at mygov.scot, by phone or by post.
The Grant is available for 16-18-year olds who spend an average of 16 hours caring for someone who receives a disability benefit. Young carers can combine the hours they spend caring for more than one eligible person in order to reach the 16 hours a week requirement.
The person or people the young person is caring for must have received one or more of the following benefits for at least the last three months:
- the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- the middle or highest care rate of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) including Child Disability Living Allowance
- Attendance Allowance
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Constant Attendance Allowance – either: Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (at or above the normal maximum rate), or War Disablement Pension (at the basic rate)
Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “I am delighted that we are using our new social security powers to recognise the extraordinary contribution these dedicated young people make to the lives of those they care for. This is the first time young carers anywhere in the UK will receive a cash benefit.
“With more responsibilities and less free time, many young carers don’t get the same opportunities as their peers and we want this benefit to support them with activities that many of their peers will take for granted.
“We are putting this extra money in their pockets in what could be a pivotal stage in their lives – when they may be finishing school, looking for employment or starting further education or training.
“This new grant will ensure they are treated with the dignity, fairness and respect they deserve.”