Carer's Allowance Supplement (Qualifying Persons) and Young Carer Grant Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2020: scrutiny report

The Scottish Commission on Social Security's scrutiny report on the draft Carer's Allowance Supplement (Qualifying Persons) and Young Carer Grant Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2020 with recommendations for the Scottish Government.

8. Take-up

The Scottish Ministers are subject to a duty to promote take-up of devolved social security assistance, which in practice is a duty to “keep under consideration what steps they could take” (emphasis added) to ensure people receive their social security entitlements.  At least some individuals who gain entitlement to CAS or YCG as a result of these draft Regulations are likely to be relatively difficult to target as part of any take-up campaign. It would presumably be possible to communicate the existence of CAS to all EEA-resident Carer’s Allowance claimants, inviting applications from those who consider themselves to have a genuine and sufficient link to Scotland. However, this would presumably depend on DWP contacting its claimants, and would require claimants to have sufficient information or knowledge to assess whether they might have the required link to Scotland. Furthermore, it is likely that only a minority would in fact be entitled to CAS, risking disappointment to applicants and wasted time for both applicants and Social Security Scotland. To identify and directly target EEA-resident young carers would appear challenging but it may be feasible. One approach – again dependent on DWP – might be to contact EEA-resident claimants of UK disability benefits at the appropriate rate advising them of the availability of YCG if they have a young carer who provides the necessary kind and duration of care and has a genuine and sufficient link to Scotland. This process has even more stages than that for CAS and would likely involve an even higher proportion of claimants being contacted who have no eligible carer. The Commission has no firm view on what kind of take-up strategy would be appropriate, but notes that in the case of YCG in particular there may be tension between the duty to promote take-up and the principle that the Scottish social security system should be efficient and delivery value for money.  Resources expended to promote take-up should be in proportion to the anticipated number of beneficiaries. While the Commission understands that – appropriately – discussions with stakeholders on a communications strategy are ongoing, it might be helpful to the Social Security Committee if any thinking to date on promoting take-up could be shared before it considers the draft Regulations.

For the most part, identifying people who should have had a past entitlement will be subject to the same challenges, but it seems likely that some of those who make successful applications will have met the necessary conditions at some point during the period for which retrospective applications are allowed. Subject to the point above (and recommendation five) on the sequencing of applications, the Scottish Government might consider contacting those who make a successful application after the new Regulations come into force advising them to consider whether they might have grounds for a retrospective application, unless this would obviously not be the case (for example, a YCG applicant who has just turned 16).

Recommendation 9: The Scottish Government should provide details of any planning to date on promoting take-up of CAS and YCG among newly-eligible groups, including the promotion of retrospective applications, in a proportionate way in keeping with social security principle (h).

Back to top Skip to content