Support for unpaid carers

Support for Scotland’s unpaid carers. A carer is anyone who looks after a friend or family member due to old age, addiction, disability, physical or mental illness

Am I a carer?

A carer is anyone who looks after a friend, family member or neighbour due to either:

  • old age
  • physical or mental illness
  • disability
  • an addiction

This does not include paid care workers or those who are volunteering.

‘Looking after’ can mean helping with things like shopping, domestic tasks, emotional assistance and personal care.

If this sounds like you, you may be a carer.

When you’re caring for someone, it can feel like there’s no time for you.

But your health and wellbeing are just as important as anyone else’s. And support is available for you.

After all, you can only look after someone else if you look after yourself too.

If this sounds like you, contact us online or phone 0800 011 3200 to find out about support available. Phone lines are open Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm.

Help for carers

Carers Scotland Act

If you’re caring for someone in Scotland, lots of support is available. Much of this is provided under the Carers Act.

The Scottish Government’s Carers’ charter tells you more about your rights under the act and there are a range of organisations on hand to give you any information or support you may need.

Your local council or carers centre are great places to start. They’ll work with you to create your own personalised plan (called an adult carer support plan), focusing on what’s most important to you.

If your needs for support, as detailed in your plan, meet the local eligibility criteria in your area, you’ll be entitled to support to meet those needs. Even if you don’t meet the criteria, many areas have support open to all carers.

There are similar plans for young carers called young carer statements.

Local carer centres

Your local carer centre can also help you with information and advice about your rights and what other support is available, both nationally and in your local area.

Many centres usually have peer support groups where you can connect with other carers, or take part in social activities or training to further develop your skills. You can learn more and find your local carer centre at Care Information Scotland.

Carer benefits

If you’re a carer, you may qualify for financial assistance. For example, Carer’s Allowance or Carer Support Payment (which is replacing Carer’s Allowance in Scotland), or the Young Carer Grant.

Find out more

Young carers

You may also know someone or have a family member that is a young carer. A young carer is someone under the age of 18, or 18 and still at school, who provides care for someone else.

Young carers also have rights under the Carers Act and they can request their young carer statement from their local young carer service or local council.

You can find your local young carer service at Care Information Scotland.

Young carers aged 11 to 18 can also access Young Scot’s young carer package. It’s free and easy to sign up for.

Accessing support

How to access your support can be summed up in 4 easy-to-follow steps:

  • Step 1: Contact us to tell us a bit more about your situation
  • Step 2: We’ll provide you with information about what support is available in your area and direct you to the specific contact details you need
  • Step 3: Get in touch with your local service provider
  • Step 4: They’ll help you/sign you up for the best support for you.

To make Step 1 as convenient as possible, please see the contact details below:

  • Online – Care Information Scotland where you can take part in a webchat
  • Phone – Contact Care Information Scotland by phone on 0800 011 3200 – lines are open Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm

Carer’s stories

Learn more about how other carers have benefitted from some support.

Find out more

For more details on support available for carers in Scotland, visit Care Information Scotland. You’ll find more about caring, even if you’re new to it, plus links to other organisations, such as your local council and national and local carers charities.

The National Wellbeing Hub also provides advice for unpaid carers. It has information and resources to support carers to look after their mental health and wellbeing.

Read more about looking after your mental wellbeing