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Carers Rights Day - Thursday 24th November 2022

Carers Rights Day can help you understand your rights and access support available to you.

This years theme is CARING COSTS!

Caring Costs in so many ways. It could be the cost to unpaid carers’ wellbeing and ability to access health services. Sometimes it’s the financial costs associated with looking after someone – or the effects on carers’ employment options. Taking care of someone may cost carers the quality of their relationships, through not being able to take time out to spend with friends and family or through changes to the relationship with those they care for. And the current cost of living crisis is being felt even more acutely by carers throughout the UK.

Most of us will provide unpaid care for someone who is older, disabled or seriously ill at some point in our lives. Whether you are a new carer or have been caring for someone for a while, Shetland Carers believe that it's important that you understand your rights and are able to access the support that is available to you as soon as you need it.

Each year, Carers Rights Day helps us:

  • to ensure carers are aware of their rights

  • to let carers know where to get support

  • to raise awareness of the needs of carers

Do you know your rights?

Carers (Scotland) Act 2016, which took effect in 2018, explains about your rights as a carer.

The Act provides new rights to carers in a number of areas. These include:

  • a duty for local authorities to provide support to carers, based on the carer’s identified needs which meet the local eligibility criteria

  • a right to an adult carer support plan and young carer statement to identify your needs and personal outcomes. (This is available to carers of all ages, no matter how many hours of care they provide and whether or not the person they care for provides care)

  • a requirement for local authorities to have an information and advice service for carers which provides information and advice on, amongst other things, emergency and future care planning, advocacy, income maximisation and carers’ rights

  • a duty on the NHS to inform and involve you if the person you care for is discharged from hospital

For further information on the rights of a carer and to view Carers Scotland 'Looking after someone' guide 2022/23, please click HERE.

Carers UK also have a useful website with further information on your rights as a carer.

Being a carer

Caring can be hard work – physically, emotionally, mentally and financially. It’s important to find out about the different ways you can get help and support with caring.

As a carer the main benefit that you may be entitled to is Carers Allowance. The person you care for may be entitled to Personal Independence Payments (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Attendance Allowance. The PIP or DLA are sometimes known as gateway benefits as they open other avenues of support to you.

Check out the website below that gives you more information on different allowances and benefits that you could apply for.

Benefits | Finances | Pensions - Carers UK

Applying for some of these benefits may seem daunting so if you require support with this, Shetland Islands Citizens Advice Bureau can assist carers and those being cared for. You can also check out the following page: Funding & Benefits | Voluntary Action Shetland - Virtual Carers Centre (shetlandcarers.org) for more details on what CAB can do to help and other benefits.

Cost of living for carers

Unpaid carers are spiralling into poverty as the cost-of-living crisis bites: cutting back on food and heating to make ends meet.

A third of carers are struggling to pay utility bills, 47% have been in debt and half are struggling to make ends meet, cutting back on food and heating as a result.

Family members caring for loved ones who are older, disabled or seriously ill are being plunged into poverty and debt, struggling to afford food and bills during the cost-of-living crisis, new research by Carers Scotland reveals.

A survey by the charity of more than 2,000 unpaid carers in Scotland found that one in four (26%) carers are struggling to make ends meet, with nearly a quarter (24%) cutting back on essentials like food and heating. Nearly 1 in 6 carers (15%) said they were in debt because of caring.

My fuel bills have doubled. Food has gone up so I eat less, skip meals & ensure my spouse has enough food at mealtimes.” [Carer, State of Caring 2022, Scotland]

Find more information:

Unpaid carers spiralling into poverty as the cost-of-living crisis bites: Carers Scotland News Report

Facts and figures - Carers Scotland

Overview of State of Caring UK Wide 2022

Carers on low incomes

The average wage in Scotland in 2021 was £26,007, or just over £2,100 per month. More than half (52%) of carers in State of Caring 2022 do not even have a household income anywhere near this level and indeed, around 1 in 7 (15%) have a gross monthly household income of £1000 or less.

For more information; State of Caring in Scotland 2022: A cost-of-living crisis for unpaid carers in Scotland - Carers UK

To find out more about how Shetland Carers can help you in your caring role, contact [email protected] or visit www.shetlandcarers.org

Shetland Carers are also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

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