Fabiani urges carers to find out about help with the costs of caring

 Linda Fabiani MSP for East Kilbride added her support to Carers Scotland’s national carers’ rights campaign on Friday 2nd December 2011.

There are over 650,000 unpaid carers inScotlandwho provide care and support to family, friends and neighbours, providing unpaid care worth an estimated £10.3 billion each year. The Carers Rights Day campaign, run by Carers Scotland, seeks to increase the take-up of benefits and raise awareness of carers’ rights and the support that they may be able to get in order to protect their pensions. It might be the Carer’s Allowance, council tax discount, Pension Credit or Housing Benefit that makes a difference.

Linda said: “It’s a real concern that carers in East Kilbride may not be getting all the help they are entitled to. Carers are fulfilling a vital role in society and without them the NHS and social care system would not be able to cope. It is essential that they are given information about their rights so that they get the support they need.”

Carers Scotland urged carers to get in touch with its Adviceline (0808 808 7777 or www.carerscotland.org) to receive a free booklet.

Fiona Collie, Policy & Public Affairs Manager at Carers Scotland said, “A survey by Carers Scotland for Carers Rights Day found that the financial toll of caring if often stark, with almost half of carers cutting back on food and heating to make ends meet; and nearly a third living on their overdraft.  Money worries cause stress, and almost half of the carers who responded to the survey said they were suffering from anxiety and depression because of concern about finances.

The isolation and stress of caring can cause mental health problems but debt exacerbates this. Of the carers surveyed, 79 per cent said they had suffered mental health problems, and that figure rose to 85 per cent when the carers had been in debt.

These figures make shocking reading and that’s why we are calling on everyone in society to help carers access support. Many carers are not given the advice and information they need – so if you know someone who cares for an ill or disabled loved one, make sure they get advice.  Because the system is so complex, many people struggle to access the benefits they need. Getting people the right advice can be time-consuming, that is why we hold Carers Rights Day to let people know about all the support that is available.”

To coincide with Carers Rights Day, Carers Scotland are publishing two new resources to help carers with advice, “Looking after someone: A guide to carers’ rights and entitlements”.

Carers can order them in a number of ways: 

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