Your rights as a carer
As a carer you have certain rights, and these have been brought together in the Carers (Scotland) Act which came into force on 1st April 2018. The Carers’ charter contains information about your rights as an adult carer or young carers in Scotland.
Who is a carer
Anyone who provides (or intends to provide) care for another person is a carer. The exceptions to this are if the only reason for this is that the person is under 18, or of they are caring because they have a contract or as voluntary work.
You can be caring for someone for any number of hours, and you no longer need to be providing a substantial amount of care for some on a regular basis.
Any carer who is under the age of 18, or who is 18 or over and still attending school is a young carer.
Adult carer support plans and Young Carer Statements
Anyone who is a carer is entitled to a support plan – known as an Adult carer support plan or a Young Carers Statement. This will contain a variety of information about the carer’s own circumstances and caring role, including the nature and extent of the care provided, and the impact this has on the carer’s wellbeing and day-to-day life. You can read more about what is included in the Carer’s charter.
The Adult carer support plan or Young Carer Statement will also include information about the support available to you locally, including a break from caring (often known as respite care), and any support which the local authority intends to provide to you. The support that is provided will depend on whether you meet the local eligibility criteria.
Carer’s Allowance is currently £62.70 a week. To qualify you must spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone who already receives a benefit such as Attendance Allowance. You can see the full eligibility requirements on the gov.uk website.
If you care for someone for at least 20 hours per week, you could get Carer’s Credit. This helps build to fill gaps in your national insurance and protect your state pension. If you receive Carer’s Allowance you will automatically receive Carer’s Credit. You can find out more on the gov.uk website:
Your rights at work
The Work and Families Act 2006 gives carers who have been employed for at least 26 weeks the right to request flexible working. You can make one request for flexible working each year. Your employer must consider it but does not have to agree to it.
All employees also have the right to take time off for emergencies to respond to unexpected situations involving a dependant (someone they look after). This is regardless of how long they have worked for their employer.
Time off is unpaid, but at the discretion of the employer, can be, and often is, paid. Employees should inform their employer/line manager as soon as possible following the emergency. You can find out more on the Carer Postitive website.
Self directed support
The Self-directed Support Act provides local authorities with a power to support carers in their caring role. Self-directed support (SDS) allows your local council to pay you money directly so that you can arrange your own care and support. There is more information about Self-directed support on the Self-directed support website