CALL FOR YOUNG CARERS TO TAKE UP ALLOWANCE

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson is supporting a bid to raise awareness among young carers of the financial support they could be entitled to.

The Scottish Government and Young Scot have teamed up for a campaign aimed at reaching 16- to 24-year-olds who may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance but are not claiming it. The social media drive was launched this week to coincide with Carers Week.

An estimated 49,000 people aged 16 to 24 in Scotland are carers. The Carer’s Allowance is currently being paid by the Department for Work and Pensions but is due to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament by summer 2018.

The weekly rate of £62.70 is available to young people who spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone in receipt of a qualifying disability benefit. The Scottish Government plans to invest more than £30million a year to increase that rate.

Mr Matheson said: “I’d urge young carers in Falkirk district to find out if they are eligible for Carer’s Allowance. These selfless young people do an invaluable job and deserve all the support they can get, so it’s vital that we ensure that none of them are missing out.

“Dignity and respect are at the heart of the Scottish Government’s social security policies and this is another example of how we are working to make sure that people get the benefits they are entitled to.”

Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman added: “Carers make an immense contribution to our society. Their dedication and commitment to caring for loved ones – often making significant personal sacrifices to do so – deserves our thanks and respect.

“While the Scottish Government is committed to doing all we can to help carers, the UK benefit system continues to fail in making sure that all those entitled to support know that they are and know how to get it. Young adult carers in particular are in that group and should not have the added worry of financial pressures along with their caring responsibilities.”

Young Scot chief executive Louise Macdonald said: “Young adult carers provide a huge amount of support to their loved ones. We have been lucky enough to work with some of these inspirational young people and, from hearing about their experiences, it’s essential that we do everything we can to make them aware of the support available to them.”

Lauren Baigrie, an 18-year-old carer from Falkirk who looks after her mother, said: “Being a young carer has at times been tough – it’s impacted my life in many ways. But being a carer for me is part of who I am. It’s part of my identity and I wouldn’t change it.”

To find out more, go to young.scot/information/rights/apply-for-carers-allowance/