Carer's Allowance Supplement - evaluation: qualitative research (annex A)

This report presents findings from qualitative research conducted by Ipsos MORI Scotland as part of the wider evaluation of Carer’s Allowance Supplement

Annex A - Topic guide

Introduction (5 minutes)

  • Introduce self and Ipsos MORI
  • Introduce the research: The Scottish Government wants to hear about the experiences of people who receive Carer's Allowance Supplement. It has commissioned us (Ipsos MORI) to carry out research to help assess its impact on carers. This interview will allow us to hear in a bit more depth about your experience and your thoughts on the Supplement. The anonymised findings will be published as part of an evaluation of CAS that will inform the development of Carers Assistance in Scotland.
  • Explain that the interview will last about 1 hour. Remind them that they will get £30 as a 'thank you'.
  • Provide reassurances of anonymity and confidentiality. Explain that no identifying information about individuals will be passed on to anyone outwith the Ipsos MORI research team, so it will not be possible for the Scottish Government or anyone else to identify individuals in any reports that Ipsos MORI produce.
  • Remind participant that they don't have to answer any questions they don't want to answer, and that they are welcome to stop the interview at any time.
  • Request permission to record interview. Explain that this is for transcription and analysis purposes and that recordings will not be shared outside the research team at Ipsos MORI.

Participant's Background (7 minutes)

Firstly, it would be great if we could get some background on your life as a carer.

  • Could you tell me a bit about your caring responsibilities?


  • Who do you care for?
  • How much time do you spend caring in a normal week?
  • How long have you been a carer?
    • How did you become a carer?
  • What's a typical day like for you?
  • Could you tell me a bit about any other responsibilities you may have in your life?


  • Other caring responsibilities including childcare
  • Studying
  • Working
  • How long have you been receiving Carer's Allowance? [If Necessary: not the Supplement- the main Carer's Allowance]

Awareness of CAS (5 minutes)

I'd now like to ask some questions about Carer's Allowance Supplement.

  • What, if anything, do you know about Carer's Allowance Supplement?


  • Why do you think Carer's Allowance Supplement was introduced?
  • What is the purpose of Carer's Allowance Supplement?
  • Do you know what makes a person eligible for CAS?
  • How much money is the payment?
  • How is it paid?
  • Do you know where the money comes from/who pays for it?
  • Can you tell me about how you first became aware of CAS?


  • When did you first hear about it?
  • How did you hear about it?
  • What did you think about it when you first heard about it?
  • We're going to go into more detail about this later, but would you say that CAS has had any impact on your life as a carer?

Finances (20 minutes)

I'd now like to move on to ask some questions about your finances and any financial impact of CAS. To be clear, there are no right or wrong answers, and all your responses will be kept anonymous. Just let me know if there is a question you would rather not answer.

So, I'd like to start with some general questions about money if that's ok.

  • Does your overall income cover your outgoings?
  • Does money ever worry you?
  • Taking everything together, which of these phrases best describes how you and your household are managing financially these days? [Phrases will be on a showcard]

1. Manage very well

2. Manage quite well

3. Get by alright

4. Don't manage very well

5. Have some financial difficulties

6. Are in deep financial trouble

  • Research has shown that carers often experience financial difficulties because of their caring responsibilities.Has becoming a carer had any financial impact on you?

PROMPTS: loss of work, additional costs, changes to benefits

Now I'd like to ask more specifically about Carer's Allowance Supplement in relation to your finances.

  • Do you remember when you last received Carer's Allowance Supplement? How much money was the payment?
  • If Receiving CA before CAS was brought in: Have you noticed a difference in your financial situation since you started receiving Carer's Allowance Supplement?


  • Level of worry about money
  • Ability to pay bills/meet household expenses, ability to pay off debts
  • Ability to spend on nice things/activities

So, just to reassure you, Carer's Allowance Supplement is not intended to be spent in any specific way, and it's completely up to you how you choose to spend it. So, the last payment of Carer's Allowance Supplement would have been in December…

  • Can you remember if you spent it and, if so, what you spent that payment on?


  • Day-to-day expenses e.g. groceries, bills, household essentials
  • Family activities
  • Clothing
  • Christmas
  • Did it just get absorbed into your budget and you didn't spend it on anything in particular?
  • Have you saved it?
  • If they give an answer to the previous question:
    • So, you spent the payment on [x]. What would you have done about [x] if you hadn't received Carer's Allowance Supplement?
      • PROMPTS: gone without it? spent other money on it? gone without something else to pay for it?
    • And what difference did [x] make to you?
    • Did you plan in advance how you were going to spend the payment?
  • How did you feel when you received the last payment?
    • Prompt: Happy? Relieved? Nothing in particular?
  • Would you say that you rely on Carer's Allowance Supplement at all?
  • If has received more than one payment of CAS:
    • Do you remember what you spent any previous CAS payments on?
  • CAS payments are every six months, so the next payment should be in Summer. Do you have any idea how you might be likely to use it?
  • Carer's Allowance Supplement is paid in two lump sums each year. What do you think about it being paid this way?

PROBE: Would you prefer that it was split up by week and paid with your Carer's Allowance money? Or in one lump sum each year?

Health and Wellbeing (10 minutes)

The next questions are about your health and wellbeing, and any impact that CAS might have had in that area.

  • Firstly, how would you say your physical health is these days?
  • And how would you say your mental health and general wellbeing is these days?

Prompt: Feelings of happiness, calm, control over own life etc.

  • Research from carers organisations has shown that many carers experience poor health and isolation. Would you say that being a carer has impacted on your health or general wellbeing in any way?
  • Do you receive any help or support as a carer?

Thinking now more specifically about Carer's Allowance Supplement…

  • Would you say that CAS has had any impact on your physical health?
    • Prompts: being able to look after your own health better (e.g. travel fare to doctor), being able to buy healthier food or be more active?
  • Would you say that CAS has had any impact on your mental health and general wellbeing?
    • Prompts: reduced worries about money, being able to do things couldn't previously afford, increased self-confidence, reduced isolation
  • Has CAS made you feel any more in control of things?

Feelings of recognition (8 minutes)

I'd like to move on and talk about something else now.

  • Would you say that you feel that people are generally aware of the work that carers do and the societal contribution they make?
    • If not: What do you think could help change that?
  • Would you say that you feel recognised as a carer? By that I mean recognised by society.
    • If they feel recognised: What/who is it that makes you feel recognised?
      • The government? People you care for? The people in your life? Wider society?
    • If they don't feel recognised: What do you think would make you feel recognised?

Thinking now about Carer's Allowance Supplement in particular…

  • Do you feel that Carer's Allowance Supplement has raised the profile of carers in Scotland at all?
  • Do you feel that Carer's Allowance Supplement has made any difference to how valued or recognised you feel as a carer?

Wrap up (5 minutes)

We're nearing the end of our interview, I just have a few final questions to wrap up.

  • If you were to try and sum up the impact of Carer's Allowance Supplement on your life, what would you say?
  • Is there anything you would like to feed back to the Scottish Government about your experience of Carer's Allowance Supplement?

Thank and close



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