Experts by Experience Response to the Draft Regulations on the new Carer Support Payment

Picture of a carer holding hands with an adult

This blog reports on work that was carried out by a group of the Poverty and Inequality Commission’s Experts by Experience Panel on a response to the Scottish Commission on Social Security (SCoSS) on the Draft Regulations Carer’s Assistance (Carer Support Payment) (Scotland) 2023. Three Panel members with direct experience of care formed a working group to respond to the draft Regulations.

The Panel have been concerned about the pressure that unpaid carers face in the ongoing cost of living crisis. To explore this issue, a Panel member presented on their experience to other Panel members about the challenges carers face on a daily basis and what government could do to ease this pressure.  The Panel have also met with Scottish Government officials working on carer policy and carer benefits, to hear about work that the Scottish Government is doing to support carers and give panel members the chance to tell officials what more they feel should be done.

This first section highlights the response from Panel members on the specific issues SCoSS were consulting on.

The Panel response highlighted members calling for:

  • Consideration of the unintended consequences on young people of making those aged 16-19 in non-advanced education ineligible for Carer Support Payment.


  • Consideration of the impact of having an arbitrary earning threshold of £139 per week, and the consequences for carers on low incomes that puts them over the threshold.


  • Scottish Government to explain the rationale for an underlying entitlement for a period of 26 weeks only, and why not a longer or ongoing period if the person that receives care does not change.


  • Ensuring that there is a take-up strategy aligned to the new benefit, with agencies having to be more proactive, as a Panel member notes, those “hard to reach are the easiest to ignore.


  • Scottish Government to consider the language to be used beyond ‘cared for person’ to a language that better demonstrates an equal relationship in care.


  • Review of the decision to change payment frequency for new applications (out with those with terminal illness) to 4 weekly. It was felt that this was not person-centred.


  • Review the decision to end benefit when someone is admitted to hospital. Panel members felt that support continues when someone is in hospital, someone may need washing done, food purchased or prepared, as well as other support.


  • An outline of all the specific times when an award of Carer Support Payment will be suspended and consult on these. Guidance discusses suspension when information is not provided on time, any actions to suspend should be proportionate.


I would like to put a challenge to politicians of all parties, to be an unpaid carer for 1 week and see how it is. See the challenges, see how unpredictable it can be and how we need to think on our feet all the time. Note how much work an unpaid carer does to receive the pittance of money given in payment for saving the NHS billions.       

– Panel Member

Additional Support for Unpaid Carers

Panel members feel strongly that unpaid carers make a significant contribution to public service and society and the support provided to unpaid carers is not comparable to their valuable role as care providers.


Panel members have outlined additional support that they feel should be provided to Unpaid Carers by Scottish Government:


  • Travel Support, unpaid carers should be given entitlement to free bus travel in Scotland.


  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to be given as standard to all unpaid carers and where there are areas of the country with gaps in information or knowledge about unpaid carers entitlement to PPE, public awareness should be carried out. COVID-19 tests should be available under PPE rules.


  • Telephone Allowance, should be provided to unpaid carers, due to the telephone costs that they incur to arrange care.


  • Council Tax exemption and discounts should be extended to unpaid carers who have been caring for a period of time.


  • Carer Rights should be strengthened, with further responsibility placed on government to ensure take up for all eligible carers to Carer Support Payment, with new carers identified and supported and their rights protected in their caring roles.


How the submission was prepared

A working group of three Panel members with experience of unpaid care and having interest in this issue was formed to shape this submission with Secretariat support.

The key points that the working group wished to raise were presented to the full Experts by Experience Panel meeting of Tuesday 16 May 2023.

You can read the full submission by the Experts by Experience Panel working group here.

If you would like to know more about the Experts by Experience Panel or this work, please contact Munwar Hussain, Senior Participation Officer on

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