Young Carer Grant consultation: our response

The Scottish Government's response to the Young Carer Grant consultation stakeholder responses.

4. Response to Consultation - Responses to Selected Questions

15. This section gives information on the Scottish Government response to questions that generated diverse views. Our full response to the consultation questions is set out below.

Q1. Do you think the draft regulations are likely to meet the policy aims set out in this document

16. The majority (73%) of respondents felt that the draft regulations would be likely to meet the policy aims. Respondents' concerns centred on potential exclusion as the result of the eligibility criteria. This was particularly based on the requirements on 18 year olds to be in education.

17. YCG is one of a number of initiatives designed to provide further and more comprehensive support to carers in Scotland. The Scotland Act 2016 gives the Scottish Government legislative competence over eleven benefits including Carer's Assistance. The overarching framework for the new social security system is set out in the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018.

18. The YCG is part of achieving the Scottish Government's National Outcomes and will specifically contribute towards the following:

  • We tackle poverty by sharing opportunities, wealth and power more equally and;
  • We respect, protect and fulfil human rights and live free from discrimination.

19. In response to the consultation and feedback from advisory groups and young carers, the Scottish Government has expanded the eligibility for YCG to all 16-18 year olds, where as previously an 18 year old was required to be in education.

20. We recognise that this restriction could have had a disproportionately negative impact on young carers in rural or island communities where young people more commonly leave school at 16 or 17 to continue their education at college.

21. We estimate that extending YCG to all 18 year olds could bring around an additional 700 young carers into eligibility each year at a cost of around an additional £200,000.

22. Young people aged 16-18 are often at a transition point in their lives. For many young adults with significant caring responsibilities, their opportunities may be limited by their caring role. The aim of the YCG is to help young people improve their quality of life and help them improve their health and education outcomes.

Q2. Can you identify any potential unidentified consequences of the regulations?

23. Many respondents identified the challenges of exclusions based on the age criteria and the need to be in school. We have addressed these concerns by widening the eligibility criteria to all 18 year olds who provide care for at least 16 hours per week.

24. The cared for person is required to be normally paid one of the following:

  • Personal Independence Payment - daily living component
  • Disability Living Allowance - the middle or highest care rate
  • Disability Living Allowance for Children
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the normal maximum rate with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at the basic (full day) rate with a War Disablement Pension
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment.

25. The Scottish Government will include hours spent providing emotional and psychological support in the definition of care for YCG.

26. The Scottish Commission on Social Security (SCoSS) and the Scottish Government's Disability and Carers Benefits Expert Advisory Group (DACBEAG) recommended against specifying the kind of care provided to avoid unnecessary complexity and favoured a flexible definition of care or no definition of care.

27. We understand that a flexible definition allows for a range of circumstances which is necessary considering the variety of young carers' responsibilities. However clarity may be required through wider Scottish Government communications in defining what constitutes care in order to facilitate the self-identification of carers and to allow a straightforward decision process.

28. As widening and shortening the definition to allow greater flexibility moves away from the definition of care set out in the Carers Act, we will consider how to support the process of self-identification for young carers through application guidance and supporting communications targeted at young carers.

29. We would not intend that subsidiary caring responsibilities are covered, such as looking after a pet for the cared for person, or time spent travelling in order to care.

Q4. Should applicants be able to combine hours caring for more than one person to meet the required 16 hours average each week?

30. Respondents felt strongly that young carers should be able to combine hours spent caring to meet the required 16 hour average each week. Therefore we have decided that young carers can combine hours spent caring for up to 3 cared-for people.

31. The aim of aim YCG is not intended to be a payment for care. It provides some financial support and recognition for young carers who have opportunities because of their caring responsibilities. As we are seeking to mitigate adverse impacts of caring; we intend to allow young carers to combine hours.

32. We will ask the client to sign a declaration which will confirm they have informed their cared-for person they are applying for the grant.

33. We will not ask for the number of hours spent caring to be recorded on a timesheet or other reference material. We will verify that the cared-for person is normally paid a qualifying disability benefit by checking the DWP systems.

34. Once the application has been processed, we will send a notification to both the client and the cared-for person

35. The Scottish Government is committed to building a system of benefits that is based on trust. In keeping with this principle, we will not ask the cared-for person or any other 3rd party to verify the care is taken place. As the consultation recognised, it may be necessary for further verification to be carried out in some cases. This may involve asking for confirmation that care is taking place.

Q5. Should young carers be eligible for the YCG when another carer is in receipt of Carer's Allowance for providing care for the same person?

36. Respondents felt that young carers should receive YCG if another carer is in receipt of Carer's Allowance and providing care for the same person. Taking this into account, we will award YCG in this circumstance.

37. Eligibility is based on the day the application is received by Social Security Scotland. If the caring relationship changes after the application has been made, this will have no impact, as long as the client met all of the eligibility conditions of the award on the date of application.

38. If we receive an application for the grant when the young carer has also applied for Carer's Allowance, we will not award the grant. We will invite the young carer to re-apply should their Carer's Allowance application be refused. The number of young carers within this age group who receive Carer's Allowance is very low. We would wish to avoid awarding the grant and then have a Carer's Allowance award being made which covers the same period, which would mean the young carer has received a Social Security payment for caring twice.

Q7. Do you have any comments on the proposed approach to residency?

39. The majority of respondents indicated that they were happy with the approach to residency. Some suggested that YCG should be available to all young carers living in Scotland, regardless of their immigration status.

40. To qualify for YCG, the applicant must be:

i. habitually resident in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, the European Economic Area or Switzerland, and

ii. ordinarily resident in Scotland.

41. Our approach to residence with regards to YCG reflects the approach the Scottish Government has taken to other benefits.

42. Despite the success of our conversations with the Home Office in relation to Best Start Grant, YCG is of a different scale and our expectation had been that the Home Office would seek to add it to the list of controlled funds.



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