Scottish Government extends young carer grant
Young carers going through the immigration process will be able to apply for the Scottish Government’s Young Carer Grant without fear of it risking their immigration status.
The change follows lengthy discussions between the Scottish and UK governments to amend Home Office regulations.
With a payment of £300, the Young Carer Grant helps improve the quality of life for 16, 17 and 18-year-olds who spend an average of 16 hours caring for someone who receives a disability benefit.
Since last year asylum seekers aged under-18 can apply for the Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment after the Scottish Government reached agreement with the UK Government that it would not jeopardise their immigration status.
Shirley-Anne Somerville, social security secretary, said: “Young Carers make an invaluable contribution to Scotland however many don’t get the same opportunities as their peers as they have more responsibility and less free time. That is why the Scottish Government are using our social security powers to help improve the quality of life for young carers through this grant, the first of its type in the UK.
“We have also been pressing the UK Government to agree to young carers who are subject to immigration control receiving the grant. I am delighted that the UK Government has agreed to our request and from Spring this year, young carers will be able to access Young Carer Grant without fear of it risking their immigration status.
“This important grant supports young people in what could be a pivotal stage in their lives – when they may be finishing school, looking for employment or starting further education or training. By extending the eligibility to those who may be subject to immigration controls we will ensure that they are also treated with the dignity, fairness and respect they deserve.”
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has welcomed the extension.
Nina Ballantyne, CAS social security spokesperson, added: “The contribution made by young carers can often be overlooked but without their support, the lives of many others in Scotland would not be as safe and secure.
“Extending the eligibility of the Young Carer Grant will give an extra bit of help to young people who are juggling lots of different elements in their lives, including going through the immigration process.
“The Citizens Advice network in Scotland helps hundreds of thousands of people each year so if you are aged between 16 and 18 and provide care and support for someone at least 16 hours a week, visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau for free, confidential and impartial advice about accessing this benefit and others you may be entitled to.”