In referring the draft Carer’s Assistance (Carer Support Payment) (Scotland) Regulations to the Commission on 03 March 2023, we noted some areas of the regulations which had been included as provisional. Following further development work on the benefit, updates on these areas of the regulations are provided below. We have also now published our response to the public consultation on our replacement for Carer’s Allowance, a copy of which is provided with this note.
Further information on the provisional areas noted previously is provided below. We have also provided with this note an updated version of the regulations incorporating the changes set out here.
We noted that advance application provisions (at Regulation 18(2)) were provisional as consideration was ongoing on the timing for implementation of advance applications. The updated regulations provided have these provisions removed as we no longer plan to deliver advance applications as part of the initial launch of Carer Support Payment.
Advance applications were included in initial proposals in line with a commitment to mirror how Carer’s Allowance works now, however, we have not been able to determine the extent to which these are currently used. Recognising the potential of advance applications to add complexity to the process of applying for Carer Support Payment, and also the ability of our systems to determine applications more quickly, our intention is to keep the requirement for advance applications under review as part of continuous improvement for Carer Support Payment.
Past presence test
We noted that the ‘past presence test’ provisions (at Regulation 6(1)(e)) in the draft regulations were provisional. These are now confirmed and updated regulations are provided with the square brackets removed.
We noted that the abatement provisions (Regulation 17) included in the regulations were provisional and dependent on further work within Social Security Scotland and in the Department for Work and Pensions to develop an abatement process for Carer Support Payment.
The updated regulations shared today now include a line which was omitted in error from the previous version in relation to the calculation to be used for abatement. We are continuing to work with colleagues in Scottish Government, Social Security Scotland and the Department for Work and Pensions to develop the ‘abatement’ process but we do not anticipate any further change to this element of the regulations so these can be scrutinised on this basis.
Rules on education
The draft regulations originally referred included provisions to mirror the current education rules in Carer’s Allowance pending a decision on the timing of planned changes. We can confirm now that we will take a different approach on education in Carer Support Payment from launch. As proposed in our public consultation, and in recognition of the overwhelming support for this in the response to the consultation, we will open up eligibility for the benefit to some carers in full-time education. This is intended to bring more carers into entitlement and help to reduce barriers to education.
This change has been confirmed in the response to the consultation published on 27 March. All carers in education who previously met the Carer’s Allowance eligibility criteria (those studying part-time or under 21 hours a week) will still meet the eligibility criteria for Carer Support Payment. In addition to this we will extend entitlement to those aged 20 or over in full-time education at any level and those aged 16 to 19 in advanced further and higher education.
We are continuing to consider the position for carers aged 16 to 19 who study full-time, non-advanced courses. This is because it is important that carer benefits policies are not seen to incentivise or normalise school pupils and those in non-advanced education taking on significant caring roles. Many of these young carers will be able to receive support through the Young Carer Grant, Education Maintenance Allowance or through benefits provided to their parents or guardians such as Child Benefit or Universal Credit.
We have included updated drafting for the proposed education rules for Carer Support Payment on launch in the regulations provided today. These provisions remain in square brackets in light of the ongoing consideration regarding carers aged 16 to 19, and we are working to provide confirmed drafting as soon as possible.
We set out in referring the regulations that we would provide the draft earnings schedule for Carer Support Payment later on in the scrutiny process. Our intention is to mirror how the earnings rules work now in Carer’s Allowance, in line with our overall commitment to ensure a safe and secure transfer of benefits for those already in receipt of the benefit in Scotland. However, the detail of these rules for Carer’s Allowance are set out in the Social Security Benefit (Computation of Earnings) Regulations 1996, which are complex and apply to other benefits as well as Carer’s Allowance. In light of this we intend to make our own provision in the schedule to the Carer Support Payment regulations, to mirror the relevant Carer’s Allowance provisions but simplify the drafting where possible for clarity. We are working to provide the schedule for scrutiny as soon as possible.
We also noted in referring the regulations that the areas for the Carer Support Payment pilot were still to be confirmed. We are working to confirm the areas as soon as possible in the circumstances but there should be no implications of this for the wider provisions in the regulations. We would welcome discussion on this if there are concerns from the Board around the impact of this on wider scrutiny of the regulations.
Case transfer provisions
Provisions to support case transfer from Carer’s Allowance to Carer Support Payment were included in the regulations referred, in line with the approach taken for previous benefits, although formal scrutiny is not required. We noted that these were provisional as confirmation of our final approach is dependent on the ongoing joint delivery work with the Department for Work and Pensions.
However our intention in providing these now is that the overall regulations are scrutinised on the basis that they reflect our intended approach to case transfer for Carer’s Allowance to Carer Support Payment. If it was identified through the discussions with the Department for Work and Pensions that a different approach was needed we would need to provide a further set of provisions for case transfer to reflect this and appreciate that this would be likely to require additional time for scrutiny by the Commission.
We are finalising impact assessments following the publication of our consultation response and will provide the following early next week (w/b 03 April).
- Equality Impact Assessment
- Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment
- Fairer Scotland Duty Assessment
- Island Communities Impact Assessment
- Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment
Draft Carer’s Assistance (Carer Support Payment) (Scotland) Regulations 2023
31 March 2023 | 30 page pdf | 425.94 KB Download Document
Revised version of the draft Carer’s Assistance (Carer Support Payment) (Scotland) Regulations 2023