There are over one million unpaid carers in Scotland doing an immeasurable amount of work for families and communities. Age Scotland, the national charity for older people, has found that too often unpaid carers miss out on what they are entitled to or feel they must fight for their rights.
This can include support from their local authority or health board with information, advice, finances, training, or involvement in decisions such as hospital discharge planning. Older carers could have an “underlying entitlement” to Carers Allowance which could increase their Pension Credit, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction.
This Carers Week, Age Scotland has launched their #KnowYourRights campaign to direct unpaid carers to their free training courses, information guides and 0800 12 44 222 helpline which are designed to support them to better understand and realise their rights.
Martin Whitfield MSP has added his voice to the new campaign, urging local carers to check in with the charity to make sure they know their rights and are not missing out on any support they are entitled to.
Martin Whitfield MSP said:
“Unpaid carers make an absolutely invaluable contribution to our communities. Many have faced increased isolation and hardship because of the pandemic and the cost of living crisis and we must do all we can to ensure they are justly supported. Carers should certainly never face having to fight for their rights but, unfortunately, they are often forced to do so.
“By supporting and promoting Age Scotland’s Know Your Rights campaign, I hope more carers will be able to use the charity’s helpful resources, learn more about their rights, and feel empowered to act on them.”
Age Scotland’s Chief Executive Brian Sloan said:
“With carers at the forefront of the lingering pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever that they are aware of their rights and supported to realise them.
“We hear from many unpaid carers who are unsure or unaware about their rights due to exhaustion, isolation, not knowing where to seek support or not being informed about them when in contact with professionals. As such they may only seek help once a crisis occurs. We want to help them access the right information in a way which suits them.
“We also know that many carers don’t actually recognise that they are in this role, feeling that they are just doing the decent thing and helping out. But it means that they are missing the support which should be available to them. By understanding more about their rights, carers can be better prepared to tackle the complex and often frustrating challenges they can face.”
Carers can find out more about Age Scotland’s training and workshops, and information guides to support them at www.age.scot/CarersRights or call their helpline on 0800 12 44 222.