3 Awareness of Carer's Allowance Supplement among carers
Levels of awareness about CAS were high – carers generally knew when it had last arrived, how much it was, and were able to at least speculate at the reasons it was introduced by the Scottish Government with some accuracy.
Awareness of Carer's Allowance Supplement and its purpose
Awareness of the existence of CAS was very high. Generally, carers were very aware of having received the payment, knew roughly when they had last received it, and had a very good idea of the amount.
Carers had typically first heard about the Supplement by letter. Much less commonly, others had heard by word-of-mouth or on the news. When they first learned about the Supplement, carers were pleased, surprised and grateful, and started thinking about how they could spend it.
Some carers did not remember receiving a letter and said the money had just arrived in their account without warning. Participants' experience of this varied – for some it had been a pleasant surprise, while for others it had caused some initial stress because they were worried a mistake had been made. However, in those latter cases, participants had fairly quickly been able to establish – through looking on the internet or asking professionals – that the payment was intended for them and at that point they were very pleased.
With exceptions, participants knew that CAS was paid by the Scottish Government.
Knowledge about what made them eligible for CAS varied, with carers falling into three groups: one group knew that you had to be receiving Carer's Allowance to get CAS, another thought you just had to be a carer, and the third group was unable to give any information about eligibility for CAS.
Overall, levels of awareness about the purpose of CAS were mixed. Carers were generally able to name at least one objective of the policy, but participants sometimes had to make a guess and tended to be a little unsure. Reasons given by carers included:
- That the Scottish Government recognised that Carer's Allowance alone is not enough money and brought in the Supplement to help carers pay for the things they need
- That the Scottish Government recognised how much more expensive it would be if care was no longer provided by unpaid carers, and instead was provided by paid carers carrying out home visits or caring in residential care homes. The Scottish Government therefore wanted to thank carers and incentivise (both current and potential) carers to keep care in the home
- More generally, that the Scottish Government wanted to show their appreciation and recognition of carers
- That the Scottish Government wanted to top up Carer's Allowance to make it the same amount as Jobseeker's Allowance, so they brought in CAS to bridge the gap – carers who identified themselves as politically engaged were in some cases able to give this level of specificity.
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