Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

Carer Support Payment

This advice applies to Scotland

What is Carer Support Payment

Carer Support Payment is a benefit for unpaid carers who give regular and substantial care to a disabled person. It's a taxable benefit and forms part of your taxable income.

Carer Support Payment is replacing Carer's Allowance in Scotland and is paid by Social Security Scotland.

When can you apply

Carer Support Payment is a new Scottish benefit. It will be available in different parts of Scotland at different times.

From 19 November 2023, you can claim Carer Support Payment if you live in one of the pilot areas: 

  • Dundee City  
  • Perth and Kinross  
  • na h-Eileanan Siar (the Western Isles).

If you're awarded Carer Support Payment and then move to a different area in Scotland, you'll continue to get Carer Support Payment.

If you already get Carer's Allowance, you’ll be moved automatically to Carer Support Payment from February 2024.

Find out if Carer Support Payment is available in your area with the Social Security Scotland postcode checker.

Who can get Carer Support Payment

You can apply for Carer Support Payment if you live in one of the pilot areas and you don’t already get a carer benefit, like Carer's Allowance.

You can usually get Carer Support Payment if all of the following apply:

  • you're aged 16 or over, and you're over school leaving age
  • you provide regular and substantial care to a disabled person for at least 35 hours a week - check what counts as caring
  • you do not earn more than £139 a week from employment or self-employment – after deductions such as income tax, National Insurance and half of your pension contributions
  • you live in Scotland.

If you're a student, you'll need to meet some other conditions. Find out more about the conditions that students must meet.

The person you're caring for must get one of the following benefits, called 'qualifying benefits':

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

If you already get a carer benefit

You cannot apply for Carer Support Payment if you already get Carer's Allowance, or if you get the carer element of Universal Credit for a different cared-for person.

You can get Carer Support Payment and the carer element of Universal Credit at the same time if they are paid for caring for the same person.

If you already get Carer’s Allowance, you’ll be moved automatically to Carer Support Payment between February 2024 and spring 2025. You won’t need to make an application and the amount of benefit you get will stay the same. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Social Security Scotland will tell you when and how this will happen. You won't need to make a new application for Carer Support Payment. Find out more about moving to Carer Support Payment on mygov.scot

You cannot get Young Carer Grant and Carer Support Payment at the same time. If you've already had a Young Carer Grant, you might be able to get Carer Support Payment. 

If you're a young carer 

You might be able to get a Young Carer Grant if you are 16 to 18 years old and you spend at least 16 hours a week caring for someone who gets certain disability benefits.

You cannot get a Young Carer Grant if you've applied for, or already get, Carer Support Payment or Carer’s Allowance.

If you think you're eligible for Carer Support Payment or Carer's Allowance, you should apply for the Young Carer Grant first. You can then apply for Carer Support Payment or Carer's Allowance after you’ve been paid the Young Carer Grant.

There are some situations where you may be slightly worse off by doing this. For example, if you delay applying for Carer Support Payment or Carer’s Allowance, you might miss the deadline for Carer's Allowance Supplement. You can get advice at your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Find out more about who can get the Young Carer Grant and how to apply.

If 2 or more carers care for the same person

Only one carer benefit can be paid for caring for the same person, even if more than one carer provides care.

You cannot get Carer Support Payment if someone else gets one of the following benefits for caring for the same person:

  • Carer Support Payment
  • Carer's Allowance
  • the carer element of Universal Credit.

If more than one carer is eligible for Carer Support Payment, you can decide between you which of you will apply. If you cannot decide, Social Security Scotland will decide.

If one carer is eligible for Carer's Allowance or the carer element of Universal Credit and another is eligible for Carer Support Payment, you can decide between you which of you will apply. If you cannot decide, Social Security Scotland will decide with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Caring for someone

You must be providing regular and substantial care. This means that you care for a person for at least 35 hours a week. You cannot add together hours spent caring for more than one person. You do not have to be caring every day of the week, but you must provide the care every week, except for short breaks.

The care you provide might include:

  • checking on the person you care for throughout the day to make sure they're safe
  • helping to manage bills
  • helping with household tasks, like washing, shopping and cooking
  • picking up prescriptions
  • providing emotional support
  • taking the person you care for to appointments.

You must not provide the care as part of your employment or voluntary work.

Students

If you’re a student and you meet the other eligibility conditions, you can get Carer Support Payment as long as you’re: 

  • aged 16 or over and studying part time - that is, not more than 21 hours a week
  • aged 16 to 19 and studying full-time advanced or higher education – this means Higher National Certificate level or above
  • aged 20 or over and studying full time - the level of qualification does not matter.

Carer Support Payment will not count as income for Scottish Funding Council (SFC) or Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) funding assessments for carers who are students. Carer Support Payment will count as income for SFC and SAAS household assessments for the wider household, for example if you're a student and your parent or partner gets Carer Support Payment.  

Rules about living in Scotland

To get Carer Support Payment, you must usually be all of the following:

There are different rules for some nationals of EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

If you're not sure if you can get Carer Support Payment because of where you live, get advice

Habitually resident in the UK, Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands

To be habitually resident, you must:

  • have lived in the UK, Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands for 'an appreciable period' - this often means at least 1 to 3 months, and
  • plan to stay for a reasonable length of time, though not necessarily forever.

You can only be habitually resident in one place at a time.

You do not have to meet the 'habitual residence' test if you:

  • have been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection under the immigration rules
  • are the dependant of a person with refugee status or humanitarian protection.

Check how to prove that you're habitually resident.

Present in the UK, Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands

You must be present in the UK, Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands when you apply for Carer Support Payment. These places form the Common Travel Area.

You must also have lived in the Common Travel Area for at least 26 weeks (or periods that add up to 26 weeks) out of the 52 weeks before you apply. This is known as the 'past presence test'.

You do not have to meet the past presence test if you’re terminally ill or you care for someone who:

  • is terminally ill
  • gets Armed Forces Independence Payment or Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the normal maximum rate with Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, or at the basic (full-day) rate with a War Disablement Pension
  • has been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection under the immigration rules
  • is the dependant of a person with refugee status or humanitarian protection
  • is a member of the UK armed forces or a civil servant who is serving abroad
  • lives with - and is the child, stepchild, child in care, parent, spouse or civil partner of - a member of the UK armed forces or a civil servant serving abroad.

Going abroad temporarily

You can still count as present during a temporary absence from the Common Travel Area.

A temporary absence is one that is not expected to last more than 52 weeks.

If you go abroad temporarily, you'll still be eligible for Carer Support Payment for:

  • the first 4 weeks
  • the first 13 weeks if your absence is to provide care for a person who is also absent and is getting a qualifying disability benefit during that period
  • the first 26 weeks if you're going abroad to provide care for a person who gets medical treatment that started before leaving the Common Travel Area, if that cared-for person gets a qualifying disability benefit during that period.

Check if you need to meet the residence and presence rules

You should check if the residence and presence rules for Carer Support Payment are different for you.

If you're a national of an EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland 

You can apply for Carer Support Payment if you:

  • are from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, or are the family member of someone who is, and
  • have settled status or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

The countries in the EU are listed on GOV.UK.

If you have settled or pre-settled status, you might be in a 'protected' group. This means that the residence and presence rules for Carer Support Payment are different. You:

  • must be habitually resident in the UK
  • do not have to meet the past presence test.

If you're not in a protected group, the normal residence and presence rules apply.

If you do not have pre-settled or settled status, you're usually subject to immigration control and will not be able to apply for Carer Support Payment.
The rules about residence and presence for nationals of EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland are complicated.

If you're not sure if you can get Carer Support Payment because of where you're from, get advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

If you live in an EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland 

You might be able to get Carer Support Payment.

The countries in the EU are listed on GOV.UK.

The UK must be the country responsible for paying benefits to you, and you must have a 'genuine and sufficient' link to Scotland - for example, you have:

  • spent a significant part of your life in Scotland
  • a bank account in Scotland
  • frequent contact with family members living in Scotland
  • worked or previously paid social security or tax contributions in Scotland.

This means that if you live in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland but would otherwise be entitled to Carer Support Payment, you can get it as long as you meet all the other conditions.

The rules about residence and presence for nationals of EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland are complicated. If you're not sure if you can get Carer Support Payment because of where you live, check how to get advice.

If you've left another country because of conflict 

Some people do not need to meet the habitual residence test or the past presence test.

You do not need to meet these tests if you:

  • were living in Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights or Lebanon before 7 October 2023 and left because of the violence from that date onwards
  • were living in Sudan before 15 April 2023 and left because of the violence from that date onwards
  • were living in Ukraine before 1 January 2022 and left because of the Russian invasion on 24 February 2022.

In these cases, you must also meet one of these conditions:

  • you have leave to enter or remain in the UK
  • you have a right of abode in the UK
  • you’re a British or Irish citizen.

If you're from Afghanistan, you do not need to meet the habitual residence test or the past presence test if you've been granted leave:

  • under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy or the ex gratia scheme for locally employed staff in Afghanistan
  • as the dependant of someone who has been granted this leave
  • under the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme.

How much Carer Support Payment you can get

The weekly standard rate of payment of Carer Support Payment is £76.75. You might get less if you get certain other benefits.

Carer's Allowance Supplement

If you get a payment of Carer Support Payment on a 'qualifying date' set by the Scottish government, you'll also get a lump sum payment called Carer's Allowance Supplement. There are 2 qualifying dates a year.

Find out more about Carer's Allowance Supplement

If you get other benefits

You’ll get less Carer Support Payment, or none at all, if you get some other benefits, including:

  • State Pension or State Retirement Pension
  • contributory Employment and Support Allowance
  • contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Maternity Allowance.

If your Carer Support Payment is the same as or less than the other benefit, you’ll get the other benefit rather than Carer Support Payment. You should still apply for Carer Support Payment. You’ll get a Carer Support Payment award of £0. You can use your award letter to show that you’re a carer, and you might be entitled to extra amounts if you get benefits based on your income.

If the other benefit is less than your Carer Support Payment, you’ll get the other benefit and the balance of your Carer Support Payment on top.

The rules about this are complicated - you can get help from your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau to check you’re getting what you should. Find your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau.

If you get any benefits based on your income

These are known as 'means-tested benefits'. Carer Support Payment counts as income when these benefits are worked out.

If you get Universal Credit, you can get an extra amount called a 'carer element' if you're eligible for Carer Support Payment – even if you do not apply for Carer Support Payment. The same person cannot get both the carer element and the limited capability for work or work-related activity element. If a couple claims Universal Credit jointly, they can get one element each.

Read more about how much Universal Credit you can get.

You can get an extra amount called a 'Carer Premium' or 'Carer Addition' added to any of the following benefits if you get Carer Support Payment:

  • Pension Credit
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Reduction.

Even if your award of Carer Support Payment is £0, you can use your award letter to show that you’re a carer and are entitled to a Carer Premium or Carer Addition.

Getting your Carer Support Payment backdated

Your claim can be backdated for up to 13 weeks if you were eligible. You do not have to give a reason for claiming late.

If the person you’re caring for has recently been awarded a qualifying benefit, try to claim Carer Support Payment within 13 weeks of their award. This means your Carer Support Payment can be backdated to when they started their claim for the qualifying benefit - even if that was more than 13 weeks ago.

Ask for your Carer Support Payment to be backdated when you apply.

Terminal illness

If you or the person you care for is terminally ill, there will not be a 'past presence test'. This usually means that you can get Carer Support Payment more quickly.

You can choose if you want to be paid Carer Support Payment weekly in advance payments instead of every 4 weeks, at the end of the 4 weeks.

You must continue to meet all the other eligibility requirements for Carer Support Payment, including providing 35 hours of care a week.

Social Security Scotland will consider a carer or a cared-for person to be terminally ill if they’re getting another benefit under terminal illness rules.

Before you apply

You should check if the person you're caring for gets a benefit with a Severe Disability Premium or Addition.

The person you're caring for cannot keep getting the premium or addition while you're getting Carer Support Payment. They should contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or their local council to let them know you're getting Carer Support Payment.

The person you're caring for might get a Severe Disability Premium or Addition as part of:

  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Reduction
  • Pension Credit.

Always check with the person you're caring for before you apply for Carer Support Payment.

How to apply

You can apply:

  • online - by completing an online application form on mygov.scot
  • by phone - by calling Social Security Scotland free on 0800 182 2222, Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm
  • by post - you can get a paper form on mygov.scot. You can also ask for a paper form with a prepaid envelope by phone.

If you're a British Sign Language (BSL) user, you can use the contactSCOTLAND app to contact Social Security Scotland by video relay.

Before you apply for Carer Support Payment, it's a good idea to tell the person you care for. Once you've submitted your application, Social Security Scotland will contact them by letter. This is to tell them that you've applied for Carer Support Payment and that Social Security Scotland will check their data, including what benefits they're getting.

The cared-for person can tell Social Security Scotland if they do not think that Carer Support Payment should be awarded.

Get help to apply

You can get help to apply from:

Or you can get help to apply for Carer Support Payment on mygov.scot. This includes if you want to apply in a language that's not English.

You can also fill in a form to authorise someone to speak to Social Security Scotland on your behalf. This might be helpful if you feel unable to find the information you need or understand things about your application. You can download a third-party authorisation form on mygov.scot.

Help from the Independent Advocacy Service

You can get help from the Independent Advocacy Service. This service is provided by VoiceAbility.

You can get an advocate by:

VoiceAbility can help you express your views, get information you need and help you make decisions.

Supporting information

You might be asked to send supporting information for Social Security Scotland to check:

  • your earnings from employment or self-employment
  • if there are deductions that could be taken off your earnings
  • when your employment ended if you've stopped working
  • that you meet certain residence requirements.

You can send supporting information by post or by uploading the documents online. Find out how to upload documents on the Social Security Scotland website.

You have 28 days to send supporting information after Social Security Scotland ask. If you need more time, you should contact Social Security Scotland. They might give you up to 14 days more to send the supporting information.

If Social Security Scotland do not receive your supporting information, your application might be refused because your earnings cannot be calculated.

Getting a decision

Once you've applied, you'll get updates on the progress of your application.

A decision will be sent to you by post. A decision is called a determination.

If your application is successful, the money will be paid into the bank, building society or credit union account that you chose when you applied.

If Social Security Scotland decide that you're not entitled to Carer Support Payment, they'll send you a letter explaining why.

If you do not agree with the decision

You can ask Social Security Scotland to look again at the decision about your Carer Support Payment application. This is called asking for a re-determination.

Find out more about challenging a Social Security Scotland decision.

How Carer Support Payment is paid

Carer Support Payment will usually be paid to the carer, but it can be paid to:

  • the carer’s appointee 
  • someone with legal powers to manage the carer’s affairs, such as a power of attorney or a guardian  
  • someone the carer has asked to get the payment on their behalf.

Carer Support Payment can be paid to someone else at any point if the carer requests it.

How often you’ll get Carer Support Payment

You’ll usually be paid Carer Support Payment once every 4 weeks.

In some cases, you can be paid weekly. You’ll be paid weekly if you or the person you care for is terminally ill.

If your circumstances change

You must tell Social Security Scotland if your circumstances change - for example, if:

  • your personal or contact details change, like your name or address
  • you stop providing care – this includes temporary breaks
  • there are changes in your employment, earnings or deductions
  • there are changes to a course you're studying, for example you become a student or change course
  • there are changes to your benefits or the benefits of the person you care for
  • you leave the Common Travel Area.

Find out how to report a change of circumstances to Social Security Scotland on mygov.scot.

Temporary breaks in caring

A temporary break in caring will not affect your Carer Support Payment if you’ve been providing care in:

  • 22 of the last 26 weeks – this means you could have a 4-week break from caring for any reason
  • 14 of the last 26 weeks if you or the cared-for person was getting medical care or treatment as an in-patient, for example in hospital.

Weeks before you claimed Carer Support Payment can be counted towards the weeks you’ve been providing care.

If your Carer Support Payment award is stopped, it can be restarted if you become eligible again within 26 weeks - for example, if your earnings reduce or the qualifying disability benefit starts again. You should tell Social Security Scotland if you’re eligible again so they can restart your Carer Support Payment. You do not have to make a new application.

If the person you’re caring for goes into a care home or hospital

If you have a break from caring because the person you care for goes into hospital, your Carer Support Payment might stop if their disability benefit is stopped.

Some disability benefits stop after someone has been in a care home or hospital for 28 days. If the person you care for goes into a care home or hospital for more than 28 days, the time from each visit will be added together.

If disability benefits stop for the person you're caring for, you can't keep getting Carer Support Payment. You should contact Social Security Scotland to let them know that the person's disability benefits have stopped.

If the person you're caring for dies

If the person you care for dies, you'll still get a payment of Carer Support Payment for 8 weeks as long as you still meet the other conditions. The 8 weeks will run from the first day of the award week after the award week in which the cared-for person died.

If a carer dies

If the person providing care dies, Social Security Scotland might need to identify a person to pay any Carer Support Payment that should have been paid to the carer. This will be part of the estate of the person who has died.

If you're not eligible for Carer Support Payment

If you care for a person or people for at least 20 hours a week, you might be able to get Carer's Credits. These are credits that fill in gaps in your National Insurance record - this decides whether you can get: 

  • State Pension
  • contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).

Find out more about Carer's Credits on GOV.UK.

If you’re aged 16 to 18 and provide care for at least 16 hours a week, you might be eligible for a Young Carer Grant. Find out who can get a Young Carer Grant.

Other help for carers

You can contact Carers Scotland for information and advice. Find out more on the Carers Scotland website.

Find out more about the help and support that is available to carers.

Did this advice help?
Why wasn't this advice helpful?

Please tell us more about why our advice didn't help.

Did this advice help?

Thank you, your feedback has been submitted.