Lothian MSP calls for more cash help for carers after bereavement
Lothian MSP Miles Briggs has called for extended cash support for unpaid carers after the person they have cared for dies, warning they are left facing a brutal ‘cliff edge’.
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The Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP for Lothian Region said unpaid carers are often left behind financially when trying to return to their work and their former lives, while they are still coping with bereavement.
He also called for respite breaks to be increased to support unpaid carers taking a hit to their physical and mental health, claiming they are forced to plug gaps following suspended social care services during the pandemic.
The Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government has put forward a motion at the Scottish Parliament calling for extension of carers allowance for six months after bereavement.
It follows a joint report from Marie Curie, Reform Scotland and Sue Ryder which proposed a bill with plans to support carers following the end of their caring role and a new fund to support training and education for carers returning to work.
It is estimated that in Scotland up to 50,000 carers are bereaved every year. Mr Briggs stressed that the challenges faced by carers continue long after the death of the person they are caring for.
He said: “We all know from our own families the heartbreak and impact of losing a loved one. The social isolation of the pandemic has made that ever more difficult. We can’t just leave carers facing a cliff edge. It’s brutal. And the challenges carers face can go on long after the death of the person they care for.”
“I’m calling on Ministers to improve the support available to individuals and families in Scotland who have lost loved ones and for Carer's Allowance payments to be extended further from 8 weeks up to six months after a bereavement. This issue needs to be given priority.”
"I’ve spoken to many people who are carers and used to get more support from health services. Their own health has taken a huge hit. Many are beyond knackered.
“While carers do what they can to fight for services for their loved ones, they are less likely to look after their own health. These problems are being left to build up.”
A Scottish government spokespersons said: “We know that many carers have faced added pressure during the pandemic and it has been an incredibly difficult time. That is why we paid an extra Coronavirus Carer's Allowance Supplement in June 2020 to support carers with the impacts of the pandemic and plan to make another extra payment this year.
“We have heard from carers about what they would like to change about Carer’s Allowance when we introduce our replacement benefit, Scottish Carer’s Assistance. We have already committed to increasing the support provided at the end of a caring role, when a cared for person passes away.”