Background to the research
The Scottish Government has an overall aim of supporting carers to protect their health and wellbeing, so they can continue to care if they so wish, and have a life alongside caring. Social Security delivers one aspect of this overall government approach to supporting carers, including through the provision of Carer's Allowance Supplement (CAS). CAS was introduced by the Scottish Government in 2018. It is an additional payment, paid twice annually, to all those in Scotland receiving Carer's Allowance and has two main policy objectives:
1. To improve outcomes for carers by providing some additional financial support. Specifically, to positively impact on:
- Carers' financial wellbeing
- Carers' quality of life (mental health and wellbeing, physical health, and sense of control and empowerment).
2. To recognise the contribution that carers make to society.
Carers in Scotland who receive Carer's Allowance do not need to apply for CAS – if they are in receipt of Carer's Allowance on the qualifying dates, they will receive the Supplement automatically. To be entitled to Carer's Allowance, carers must meet certain conditions. For example, they must be over 16 years old, not be in full-time education, not earn more than £128 per week after tax, and provide at least 35 hours of unpaid care per week to someone in receipt of certain disability benefits.
Ipsos MORI was commissioned by the Scottish Government to carry out qualitative research with carers exploring any impact CAS may have had on their lives. The findings from the qualitative research in this report will sit alongside other sources of data to inform the Scottish Government's full evaluation of CAS and feed in to the Scottish replacement for Carer's Allowance.
Structure of this report
The next chapter describes the research methods. Chapter 3 looks at carers' awareness of CAS and its purpose. Chapter 4 discusses the way carers used the payment and the impact on their financial wellbeing. Chapter 5 explores the wider impact of CAS on carers' quality of life and Chapter 6 looks at whether CAS has made carers feel recognised for their role. The conclusions and implications for policy are discussed in Chapter 7.