The introduction of a Young Carer’s Allowance to give young people extra financial support will be considered by the Scottish Government.
Under UK Government guidelines, only 250 people in Scotland under the age of 18 receive Carer’s Allowance.
Carer advisory groups will now be asked to put forward their views on whether a Young Carer’s Allowance could help people who would have previously lost out on financial support.
As part of this work, the Scottish Government will also look at what non-financial support is currently available and identify any gaps.
It has already been confirmed that once powers are devolved, the Scottish Government will begin to increase Carer’s Allowance to the same level as Jobseeker’s Allowance – almost an 18 per cent increase.
Minister for Social Security Jeane Freeman said: “We have already made our commitment that carers will be £600 better off a year when we raise Carer’s Allowance to the same level as Jobseeker’s Allowance, but we also need to make sure that young carers do not lose out.
“It is unfair that some young people who have the responsibility and pressure of caring for a loved one may experience financial difficulties.
“That is why we will now consider whether a Young Carer’s Allowance could bridge that gap in support.
“Once we have the powers, the principles of treating people with dignity and respect will be our touchstone as we deliver our part of social security in Scotland.”
Minister for Public Health Aileen Campbell, who met many young adult carers while attending events duriung Carers Week, added: “Across Scotland there are 44,000 young carers who currently balance their education with their caring responsibilities.
“We want all young people to have the same chances and opportunities to fulfil their potential.
“That is why over the coming months we will be working with carers to find out if there is merit in a Young Carer’s Allowance, and will be looking for their help and views on shaping the Carer’s Allowance.
“It is only by meeting and hearing from carers first hand that we can really get an appreciation of the specific challenges they face and how their lives could be improved.”