Carer Support Payment

7 mins read

This advice applies in Scotland only.

Carer Support Payment is a new benefit that is being introduced in Scotland to replace Carer’s Allowance. Once rolled-out nationally, it will become the main benefit for carers in Scotland.

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What is Carer Support Payment?

Carer Support Payment is a new benefit the Scottish government is introducing to replace Carer’s Allowance in Scotland. Once rolled-out nationally, it will become the main benefit for carers in Scotland.

You might get Carer Support Payment if you provide at least 35 hours a week care to someone who is receiving particular disability benefits. See below.

When is Carer Support Payment being introduced?

New claimants

Social Security Scotland is introducing Carer Support Payment gradually.

Currently, you can only apply for Carer Support Payment if you are a new claimant and you live in one of the following areas:

  • Dundee City,
  • Perth and Kinross.
  • Western Isles.

Carers in these areas who want to make a new claim for support as a carer need to claim Carer Support Payment, rather than make a claim for Carer’s Allowance.

From 24 June, Carer Support Payment will replace new claims for Carer’s Allowance in:

  • Angus
  • North Lanarkshire
  • South Lanarkshire

To find out if applications are open in your area, go to the Carer Support Payment postcode checker.

Social Security Scotland plans to roll out Carer Support Payment to replace new applications for Carer’s Allowance to the rest of Scotland. This is planned to start from Spring 2024 and is expected to cover all areas of Scotland from Autumn 2024.

Existing Carer’s Allowance claimants

Existing Carer’s Allowance claimants in Scotland will gradually be transferred onto the new Carer Support Payment. These transfers will happen automatically, without any need for the carer to make a claim for Carer Support Payment.

This process of transferring existing Carer’s Allowance claimants onto the new benefit is scheduled to start in February 2024 and to complete by Spring 2025.

Who qualifies for Carer Support Payment?

You qualify if you provide at least 35 hours of care per week to someone who gets one of:

Carer Support Payment is not means-tested. It does not matter what savings you have. Most forms of income are ignored (for example, any occupational or personal pension you receive). However, if you work, you can only get Carer Support Payment if your earnings, after deductions, are no more than £151 per week.

You must also meet certain tests linked to your immigration status and the length of time you have spent in the UK.

If you share the care of a disabled child with someone else, and you each provide at least 35 hours a week care, only one of you can get Carer Support Payment/Carer’s Allowance/ the Universal Credit carer element for that child. 

There are additional tests if you work or study. The Carer Support Payment rules are very similar to the rules that apply in Carer’s Allowance. However, there are more generous rules allowing students in some forms of education to qualify for Carer Support Payment even though they may have been refused Carer’s Allowance.

Can I work and still get Carer Support Payment?

If you work, you must not earn more than the ‘earnings limit’ of £151 per week. 

In calculating your earnings for Carer’s Support Payment purposes, you can make certain deductions from your gross wages. This not only includes any tax and national insurance you pay, but also: 

  • 50% of any contributions you make into a works or personal pension scheme. For example, if you pay £20 per week into a pension scheme, £10 will be deducted from your weekly earnings calculation.
  • Any alternative care costs you have that enables you to work. This covers not only any costs you have for your disabled child (regardless of their age), but also any childcare costs for other children you have aged under 16. Care costs count so long as you are not paying a close relative – there is no requirement that you pay a registered childcare provider. The maximum you can deduct for alternative care costs is half of your earnings.
  • Any expenses you have that are wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred in carrying out your work, for example if you have to buy tools or specialist clothing or you have to travel between work sites (travel between work and home does not count).

If your earnings after these deductions are £139 per week or less, you can keep all of your Carer Support Payment. If your earnings after these deductions are even 1p more, you will lose all of your Carer Support Payment.

Can I study and still get Carer Support Payment? 

Unlike Carer’s Allowance, many carers in full-time education will be able to claim Carer Support Payment. This includes:

  • Anyone studying less than 21 hours a week regardless of their age or the type of education.
  • Anyone aged 20 or above in more than 21 hours a week study.
  • Anyone 16-19 studying 21 hours or more a week and who is in advanced education.

However, if a carer is aged 16-19 and in non-advanced education that involves more than 21 hours a week study, they will not be able to get Carer Support Payment. They may get a young carer grant instead.

How much Carer Support Payment will I get?

Carer Support Payment is £81.90 a week. You should also receive an additional lump sum payment – known as the Carer’s Allowance Supplement – twice a year.

You can only get one award of Carer Support Payment, even if you are looking after more than one person. The Scottish Government has future plans to introduce extra payments for those looking after more than one disabled person, but has not given any timescale for this happening.

Carer Support Payment can also help protect your right to a retirement State Pension. This is because you will receive Class 1 National Insurance credits for every week it is in payment. 

How do I claim Carer Support Payment?

New claimants will be able to apply online via or by telephone on 0800 182 2222.

Existing Carer’s Allowance claimants will transfer automatically without any need to make a claim.

How does Carer Support Payment affect other benefits?

Means-tested benefits

Carer Support Payment counts as income when calculating means-tested benefits such as Income Support, Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. But you’ll get a “carer premium” of £45.60 per week (or the carer element of £198.31 per month in Universal Credit) as part of that means-tested benefit. This is to ensure you end up better off.

Non-means-tested benefits

You cannot get Carer Support Payment at the same time as certain other non-means-tested benefits. This includes contributory Employment and Support Allowance and State Pension.

It is still worthwhile making a claim for Carer Support Payment in these circumstances. By making a claim, you’ll establish an “underlying entitlement” to Carer’s Support Payment. This means you’ll count as a carer for any means-tested benefits you get and will get the carer premium (see above).

Tax credits

Carer Support Payment is treated as income for tax credits purposes. Despite this, you are usually better off after making a claim. This is because the amount of Carer Support Payment paid is greater than any drop in tax credits.

In order to avoid an overpayment, it’s important to let the Tax Credit Office know you are getting Carer Support Payment.

Will a claim for Carer Support Payment affect the benefits of the person I’m looking after?

So long as you are claiming as the carer of a dependent child, a claim for Carer Support Payment will not have any impact on the benefits that they receive. 

Claiming Carer Support Payment for a disabled adult is also not normally a problem. However, if they are a disabled adult who receives a payment known as the “severe disability premium” as part of a means-tested benefit claim, they will end up worse off if you get Carer Support Payment for them.