Thousands of unpaid carers in Lanarkshire can now apply for Carer Support Payment

Thousands of unpaid carers in Lanarkshire can apply for a new benefit from today.

Carer Support Payment, the replacement for Carer's Allowance, is now available.

Carers in the area are the first to be able to apply for Carer Support Payment since it was introduced in the pilot areas of Perth & Kinross, Dundee City and Na h-Eileanan Siar (Western Isles) in November last year.

New rules that come into effect today 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.

However, 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 November 4.

Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Shirley-Anne Somerville, said: "I’m delighted that more carers in Lanarkshire 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, will be one of those applying for Carer Support Payment.

The Blantyre teenager, who has been looking after her dad since she was 13, is due to start an HNC in August.

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.”

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