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Carers Scotland calls on public to help carers get the support they’re entitled to, this Carers Rights Day

20 November 2015

Charity launches new online guide to carers’ rights as research reveals extent to which carers are missing out on vital support

More than half of carers providing substantial care to a disabled, seriously-ill or older loved one in Scotland may be missing out on vital support*, according to new research by the charity Carers UK. 

Carers Scotland is the Scottish nation office of Carers UK and the findings come on Carers Rights Day – a national awareness day organised by the charity to inform Scotland’s 759,0001 carers of their rights, benefits and the services they are entitled to.

Carers Scotland is calling on the public to help people who they know are caring for an older, disabled or seriously-ill loved one to make sure they find out about what they are entitled to and what support is available to them.

A survey2 by Carers UK of almost 5,000 carers in the UK found that half of those (53%) who provide 35 hours or more care a week in Scotland have not had a Carer’s Assessment3 from their local authority. This is despite all carers who provide regular or substantial care being entitled to a Carer’s Assessment at the point the survey was carried out3. Since the survey was conducted, new legislation has entered the Scottish Parliament to strengthen carer’s rights to this support.4

A Carer’s Assessment is an important step towards getting the support you need as a carer; as is getting the right financial information and advice. Previous studies by the charity show that £94 million of Carer’s Allowance (the main benefit for carers) goes unclaimed in Scotland every year5and a recent report from the Department for Work and Pensions found that 95% of carers who are entitled to Carer’s Credit, which provides National Insurance contributions for those who have taken time out from work to care, are not claiming it6.

In order to ensure carers are able to get the information and support they need, when they need it, Carers UK is today launching Upfront – the first online guide of its kind to give tailored financial and practical information to those who are new to caring. The charity is also publishing its annual Carers Rights Guide, which gives up-to-date information on carers’ rights and signposts them to support services.

Simon Hodgson, Director of Carers Scotland, said:

“Important upcoming developments in the rights of carers mean it’s never been more important to make sure carers get the right information and advice about what they’re entitled to, when they need it. Helping carers to know their rights is at the heart of everything we do at Carers Scotland; we offer expert information and advice through our website and a UK wide Adviceline, and connect carers to one another through our online forum to ensure that no-one has to care alone. So if you know someone who is caring for a loved one, connect them to Carers Scotland this Carers Rights Day.

“Every year, 160,000 people begin caring for a disabled, older or seriously-ill loved one in Scotland7. Taking on a new caring role can happen quite suddenly and can turn many families’ lives upside down. It could be that a partner has a stroke, a parent has a fall, or a child is born with a disability. When people take on a new caring role, they worryingly tell us that it can be really difficult to get the help and advice they need. Without this support, caring can take a serious toll on a person’s health, finances and wellbeing.

“That’s why we’ve created Upfront – the first online guide of its kind to give tailored financial and practical information to those who are new to caring. We are also publishing our annual Carers Rights Guide to make sure carers are informed about any changes to their rights and know where to go to get the support they need. This Carers Rights Day, you can make a positive difference to the life of a carer by connecting them to Carers UK.”

Hundreds of events are taking place in communities in Scotland and throughout the UK today to help carers find out more about their rights.

Find out more about how Carers UK can help you:

  • Carers UK’s new online guide to caring, Upfront, can be accessed here: www.carersuk.org/upfront
  • Carers Scotland’s Carers Rights Guide can be downloaded from today at www.carersuk.org/scotland/training-resources/carers-rights-guide-scotland. You can order a free print copy of the guide by calling Carers UK’s Adviceline on 0808 808 7777 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • You can contact the Carers UK Adviceline on 0808 808 7777 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Mon-Fri, 10am-4pm)

-ENDS-

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1 There are 6.5 million carers in the UK as a whole.

2 State of Caring [2015] Carers UK. A total of 4,935 carers and former carers responded to Carers UK’s annual State of Caring Survey between February-April 2015. The statistics in this press release are based on the responses for the 4,572 current carers who completed the survey, to provide a snapshot of caring in 2015.

 Compared to the carer population as a whole, respondents to this survey were more likely to be female, disabled themselves and caring for a high number of hours every week.

3 A Carer’s Assessment is an opportunity for carers to discuss with their local council what support or services they need. The assessment will look at how caring affects their life, including physical, mental and emotional needs, and whether they are able or willing to carry on caring. For more information: www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/practical-support/getting-care-and-support/carers-assessment  

4 Since the survey was conducted, new legislation has been introduced in Scotland which will aims to strengthen carer’s rights to this support. Under the Carers (Scotland) Bill, all carers in Scotland will be entitled to an Adult Carers Support Plan (which will replace Carer’s Assessment) and young carers to a Young Carers Statement regardless of the amount or type of care they provide or their financial means.

5 Estimates on the number of carers missing out on Carer’s Allowance [2013] Carers UK. The figure for the UK as a whole is £1.1 billion.

6 Pensions Minister: too many carers missing out on NI credits [August 2015] DWP

7 2.1 million people across the UK take on a caring role each year

 

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