The introduction of Personal Independence Payments in Scotland could leave around 450 carers up to £3,000 worse off per year according to an answer to a parliamentary question submitted by MSP Christina McKelvie. The new benefit, which is to replace Disability Living Allowance, has different rules and thresholds, meaning that many of those currently in receipt of Carers Allowance, which is paid to people who provide extensive support to family members, could lose out.
In 2013, the DWP estimated that 5,000 carers across the UK could lose entitlement to Carers Allowance as a result of the numbers who would become ineligible for PIP, despite previously being awarded DLA. This would mean a double blow to many families who would lose out on both Carers Allowance and PIP, driving those with disabilities and their families further into poverty. Many people have to give up work to look after loved ones who become sick or disabled and a high proportion of carers already live in poverty. Government regulations mean that anyone earning more than £110 a week (after tax and care costs) is ineligible for the benefit, while they have to be providing at least 35 hours of care to receive it.
The DWP pointed out that the figures quoted for Scotland in the parliamentary answer were from a 2013 estimate and so did not provide an up-to-date picture of the situation.