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 carer 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 providing care is that the person is under 18, or if you are caring because you 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.
A young carer is any carer who is under the age of 18, or who is 18 or over and still attending school.
Information and advice
Carers Link provide information and advice for carers on behalf of East Dunbartonshire Health & Social Care Partnership (HSCP). Any carer can contact us to find out about their rights, and the support available to them locally. The coalition of carers in Scotland and Carers Link have produced a range of leaflets to help you understand various aspects of your rights.
Support for you
All adult carers are entitled to an adult carer support plan, and all young carers are entitled to a young carer statement. This will be prepared following a conversation with you, and will contain information about your personal circumstances and caring role. It will also identify your needs and the support that is available to meet these.
The adult carer support plan or young carer statement will 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. Some of the support that you need may be readily available to you through what are known as “Universal Services”, which are services, such as those provided by Carers Link, which are freely accessible to everyone. Some of the support that you need may be provided by East Dunbartonshire HSCP, and the support that is provided will depend on whether you meet the local eligibility criteria.
Support for the person you care for
Support provided to the person that you care for can help you as a carer, and Carers Link can help you find out about what is available. The person you care for may be assessed to gather information about them and decide what support they need. Under the Carers Act your views and opinions must be taken into account as far as reasonable and practical.
NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde must ensure that you are involved in the discharge of the person that you care for from hospital before they are discharged. This includes letting you know when the person you care for is to be discharged, inviting your views about the discharge and taking your views into account when planning the discharge (as far as ‘reasonable and practical’).
Carer involvement in services
Carer involvement is a key principle of the Act. It is intended to make sure that you can share your caring experiences and knowledge with those responsible for providing support or services. As well as involving carers in planning for the services that the person they care for receives, carers should be involved in planning the services that are available to carers. To help this happen there are carer representatives on a number of local planning committees. These carers report on plans and gather carers’ views in many ways, including through the Carer Forums that Carers Link runs.
Please get in touch if you have any thoughts or comments about service planning and delivery, or you could come along to one of our Carers Forums, which run regularly throughout the year.
From summer 2018, carers in Scotland who receive Carers’ Allowance will receive a top-up benefit (backdated initially to April 2018) twice a year from the Scottish Government. To qualify for Carers’ Allowance 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.
Young Carers’ Allowance
In autumn 2019 the Scottish government will introduce a Young Carer Grant, which will be a £300 annual payment for young adults caring for an average of 16 hours each week who do not currently qualify for Carer’s Allowance. It will be paid to 16 and 17 year olds, and 18 year olds if at school. You can find out more about the changes being introduced by the Scottish government on their 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