Welfare & Social Security
Social Security Powers and a Real Living Wage for Unpaid Carers
The Scottish Government has failed to implement the full range of Social Security benefits available to Scotland.
This continued failure undermines the credibility of the Scottish Government's ongoing criticism of welfare reform, the universal credit uplift withdrawal or their stated ambition to tackle poverty and deprivation; key drivers of the current drug death crisis.
ALBA believes that we need a complete overhaul of the benefits assessment system used to process PIP and DLA claims - making this a fairer and more compassionate process where no claimant feels they are having to “fight” the system.
The current systems in place cause claimants to face months of assessments and appeals which have led to mental distress and more worryingly the deaths of many of the claimants before any award is issued. The introduction of Personal Independence Payments (PIP) in 2013 with many previously successful Disability Living Allowance (DLA) claimants being refused PIP as this award uses a scoring system that does not recognise the nature of their disability further exacerbates the impact of the UK Government's continued Welfare reform failures. This is a significant issue with children currently assessed using the DLA criteria who upon turning 16 years old are then required to apply for PIP. Many of these young adults are then refused PIP despite no material change to their disability status or their ongoing needs.
ALBA recognises the invaluable role Unpaid Carers contribute to Scotland’s social fabric. We call for Unpaid Carers to receive the equivalent of the Real Living Wage. The current weekly Carers Allowance payment of £67 with a minimum qualifying requirement of 35 hours per week, undervalues the vital role carers fulfil to the care recipient and to Scottish society.
ALBA believes the role of an unpaid carer is central to giving the recipient the choice (as is their right) to remain living in their own home rather than in a care facility. The 35 hours per week commitment needed to qualify for Carer’s Allowance is equivalent to £1.90 per hour, ten percent of the estimated £19 per hour it would cost to fund the care if provided by a Care Provider Service.