The mental health of unpaid carers has been improved thanks to a financial boost from the Scottish Government, a review has concluded.
The Carer’s Allowance Supplement (CAS) was the first payment made by Social Security Scotland and aimed to top-up the existing payment made by the Department for Work and Pensions ahead of its devolution to Holyrood.
The benefit gives unpaid carers two annual payments – this year of £230.10 each.
According to a review of the benefit by the Government, the payment improved the mental health of those who received it.
The report said: “Typically, CAS has helped improve carers’ mental health and wellbeing a little.
“It had a positive impact on relieving money worries around the months carers received the payment, and had given them ‘a wee lift’.
“In more exceptional cases, its impact on mental health and wellbeing had been transformative.
“This was in cases where it had enabled carers in great financial difficulty to pay off debts or where it had been used towards a trip away when carers felt they were close to breaking point.”
Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said the report will be used to help improve how the replacement benefit, Scottish Carer’s Assistance, works.
“In some cases this payment has made a great difference to carers’ mental health and wellbeing, where it has enabled them to pay off debts or been used towards a trip away to give them a much-needed break,” she said.
“I know this has been a hard year for many carers which is why we also provided an additional coronavirus supplement of £230.10 this year.
“This means around 83,000 carers in Scotland will get up to £690 more this year compared to those in the rest of the UK.”
But despite the positive effects on the mental health of carers, as well as helping them to feel more recognised for the sacrifices they make, the report said the payment did not increase the knowledge of the work of unpaid carers in the general population.
The next instalment of the payment will be made on December 18.