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Social Security Experience Panels: Carer's Allowance Supplement - experiences

This report outlines the research on the surveys conducted with experience panel members who have experience of Carer’s Allowance, to get some feedback on their experience of Carer’s Allowance Supplement.

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What needs to improve 

The amount is not enough

The survey also asked panel members how getting the extra money had helped them. While the payment was welcomed, some respondents stated it was not enough for the amount of work carers do. It was felt to be a step in the right direction, however more needs to be done.

“I was pleased that finally carers are getting some recognition. Still nowhere near enough for the amount we do but it’s a welcome start”

“ My caring role is not the equivalent of a full time job. It’s more than that. It’s a 24/7 job……personally I do still believe it’s not enough”.

“the letter was a slap on the face…thanking me for being a carer and then only topping up an already pitiful benefit by £8.50 a week and the promise initially in 2014 was to increase by £10 per week”

Throughout the survey, a recurring theme for a minority of respondents was that Carer’s Allowance Supplement was not enough money. This means that they are unable to cover living costs on the money received through Carer’s Allowance and now Carer’s Allowance Supplement. This was a major concern for those who had needed to give up full time work to become carers. 

“It was sucked into our daily living costs so was no direct benefit to me. When I gave up work we lost almost £30k overnight”

“As a full time carer I am not free to take up employment”

Need for more clarity and precision in letters

Some described receiving the letter late and, similar to above, that there was a lack of clear information about the dates when they would receive the supplement.

“Not clear and the letter came in long after the payment was made”

One respondent felt that the information given was not clear. 

“I wasn’t sure what it was, the letter was a bit vague”

A few respondents highlighted the need to put down the exact dates for when the supplement would come in the letter. 

“They told me I was getting the supplement but they weren’t clear on when”

“People in receipt of benefits need to know on what day it’s going to be available, not during which month”

“Came after payment”

There were a few respondents – 6 per cent – who did not receive the payment when they had expected to. 

Table 13: Did you receive the payment when you expected to after you got the letter(s) (n=105)

Payment %
Yes 88
No 6
I can’t remember 6
Total 100

One respondent had said how the time between receiving the letter and getting the payment was too big a gap. 

“There seems to be a massive delay from when the letter is received to getting the payment”

One survey respondent said they had worried that the DWP would want the money back.

“I still have the fear that the DWP will come knocking and say, yes, that extra £221 you got from SG, well, we are here to take that away so hand it over”

Contact

Email: socialsecurity@gov.scot

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