Information

Young Carer Grant regulations: consultation

We are consulting on the development of the policy and regulations for the Young Carer Grant, a new benefit which will be delivered by Social Security Scotland.


Annex A: Equalities Impact Assessment (EQIA) summary

The Young Carer Grant will not directly or indirectly discriminate on the basis of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation. The policy applies equally to those affected by its provisions. The Young Carer Grant will likely have a positive impact as it not only complies with equality requirements but has the potential to advance the realisation of support available to protected groups. The Young Carer Grant will also help to alleviate material deprivation, tackle inequality and provide some recognition to the immense contributions of young carers in Scotland.

It is commonly understood that many traditional data sources underestimate what is understood to be the true level of young caring. This is for many reasons including (but not limited to): young people not self-identifying themselves as a carer; young carers deciding not to disclose their caring status, perhaps due to perceived fear of repercussions; and data collection sources mainly being collected at household levels and mostly by adults on behalf of the young person. The impacts on groups who share protected characteristics that we have identified to date are set out below.

Age

1. Young carers are more likely to live in an area of multiple deprivation – 3.1% of young people aged under 25 living in the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland are carers, compared with 1.7% in the least deprived areas. 28% of young carers living in the most deprived areas care for 35 hours per week or more; compared with 17% of carers living in the least deprived areas. [4]

2. Research undertaken by Carers Trust [5] found that:

  • • An estimated average of 48 school days for young carers are affected because of caring each year; this includes absence, lateness or leaving school early.
  • • Young carers and young adult carers aged under 25 are four times more likely to drop out of college or university than students who are not carers.
  • • Young carers and young adult carers in work missed an average of 17 days per year and had a further 79 days affected because of their caring responsibilities.

3. Young carers aged 16-17 (and 18 if still at school) who meet all of the eligibility criteria will directly benefit from the Young Carer Grant. Attention will be given in the promotion of the grant to endeavour to manage expectations of those who are not eligible for the support, for example by signposting to other support available.

4. There is an opportunity through accessing the Scottish social security system that young parent carers or young pregnant carers become more aware of the support available to them, including providing opportunities for Social Security Scotland to signpost to Best Start Grant support. Young carers may also be advised about their rights under the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016.

Disability

5. 41% of carers of all ages have a long-term health condition. Nearly 6% of carers of all ages report having a long-term mental health condition compared with 4% of non-carers. [6]

6. The percentage of carers of all ages with one or more long-term health condition increases with the number of hours caring – from 36% of those caring for 1-19 hours to 50% of those caring for 35+ hours. [7]

7. One of the eligibility conditions for the Young Carer Grant requires that the young person is providing care for a person entitled to a disability benefit, therefore the cared for person will usually be a disabled person.

8. We are in the process of building a system which meets accessibility standards. The Scottish Government needs to adhere to Digital First Service Standards. To progress to each new stage of development, the system must pass a Digital First Assessment. These assessments ensure that the system will meet accessibility standards for people who need extra support to use our service. Accessible formats, adaptions and support will be available to ensure all eligible young carers have the opportunity to apply for the grant and the process is underpinned by dignity, fairness and respect.

9. It is also anticipated that the Young Carer Grant will have an indirect positive impact on disabled people being cared for by a young person that receives the grant. There will also be a direct positive impact to young carer recipients who have a disability.

10. Through the Young Carer Panel and wider Experience Panels, we are gathering information on the barriers that users experience and seeking to design a system which meets their needs, offering a range of methods for application and contact.

Race

11. People from older ethnic groups such as "White: Scottish" and "White: Other British" are most likely to report providing unpaid care. People from ethnic groups with younger age profiles, such as the "Arab" and "White: Polish" groups, are least likely to report providing unpaid care. [8]

12. According to census data, 96% of carers of all ages in Scotland are of a "White Scottish / British / Irish" ethnicity, while 4% are of "Other" ethnic backgrounds. 8.7% of the Pakistani population in Scotland provide some form of unpaid caring. This compares with 4.3% of the Chinese and 5.5% of the Indian communities. Many young people who provide support and help to family members who need it often do not recognise this as a caring role. Australian and UK studies have suggested that this is especially common among some minority cultural and ethnic communities. [9]

13. The Gypsy/Traveller population account for 0.1% of Scotland's population. There is evidence that Gypsy/Travellers experience significant health inequalities, high infant mortality rates, and premature deaths and higher than average rates of major long-term conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Research undertaken by MECOPP found that Gypsy/Travellers are less likely to identify as carers or to access support services for carers, including benefits, with low levels of knowledge in communities about carer entitlements. Evidence also found high levels of illiteracy impacted significantly on carers' ability to search for support. [10]

14. Strategies on how to reach eligible minority ethnic young carers, including Gypsy/Traveller young carers, will be explored in the development of communication, engagement and delivery plans for the grant. It is hoped that through the promotion of the Young Carer Grant, it will help to raise awareness of carers generally in society and may help to improve the identification of minority ethnic young people with significant caring responsibilities, and if eligible result in them having access to the Young Carer Grant support. This will also provide an opportunity to signpost these young people and communities to additional carer and social security support that they may be entitled to.

15. Asylum Seekers cannot claim any benefits. If they are destitute they can apply to the Home Office for assistance but have no recourse to public funds so will not be eligible for Young Carer Grant. Those who are granted refugee or humanitarian protection status (after five years, they can apply for indefinite leave to remain) can claim benefits and therefore would be eligible for Young Carer Grant.

16. There can be a gap between refugee status being granted and people accessing benefits. Social Security Scotland may need to consider additional evidence requirements during this period, for example for those without National Insurance numbers.

17. Accessible formats and support will be available to ensure all eligible young carers have the opportunity to apply for the grant.

Sex

18. 55% of carers under 25 years old identify as women and 45% of carers under 25 years old as men. [11]

19. Research by Carers Trust found that over half of all male carers feel their needs as carers are different to those of female carers and many struggle to ask for help and support. [12]

20. As young women are more likely to be carers we would expect a disproportionate positive impact to them.

21. Research highlights, and stakeholders have identified, that a concerted effort is required to encourage applications from young carers who are men as they are often less likely to come forward for support that they are entitled to.

Sexual orientation

22. Research from Carers Trust Scotland in 2016 highlights that lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender ( LGBT) younger adult carers aged 16-25 years old face barriers in having both their LGBT and carer identities recognised by support services. It also reported that 83% respondents had personally experienced bullying in school, 40% in college and 27% at university. [13]

23. LGBT Youth Scotland's written response to the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 consultation provided further evidence of issues affecting LGBT carers. Including that many LGBT carers, or the LGBT people they are caring for, may have reduced social networks due to a lack of acceptance of their sexual orientation. This can result in accessing less support than other carers. [14]

24. There may be other factors affecting those in protected groups which although not a consequence of the grant may impact on uptake by eligible young people. For example, LGBT young people may be experiencing, or fear experiencing, homophobia or discrimination, and these may be an additional barrier to accessing the support that they are entitled to. This may include, but is not limited to, a young person providing care to a same-sex partner who has a disability.

Evidence Gaps:

25. The Young Carer Grant will be payable to anyone who meets the eligibility criteria. We recognise that there is limited data about young carers from protected characteristic groups, as well as carers more generally. There is limited research on their experiences – in particular in relation to gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, and religion and belief.

Gender reassignment

26. No data is available about young carers or adult carers under this protected characteristic grouping.

27. There are additional considerations required for transgender young carer clients to ensure they have an equal opportunity to apply, including gender non-binary young people. For example, we wish to avoid clients requiring to state that they are male or female. This will be explored in the development and delivery plans of the grant.

Marriage and civil partnership

28. No data is available about young carers or adult carers under this protected characteristic grouping.

29. No issues have been raised by stakeholders in regards to this protected characteristic grouping and we don't expect the Young Carer Grant to negatively impact on this group.

Pregnancy and maternity

30. No data is available about young carers or adult carers under this protected characteristic grouping and we don't expect the Young Carer Grant to negatively impact on this group.

31. No issues have been raised by stakeholders in regards to this protected characteristic grouping.

Religion or Belief

32. No data is available about young carers or adult carers under this protected characteristic grouping and we don't expect the Young Carer Grant to negatively impact on this group.

Contact

Nicola.Smith@gov.scot

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