Unpaid carers in Wales to get £500 payment in recognition of ‘pivotal role’ played in pandemic

Thousands of unpaid carers in Wales are to get a £500 lump sum in recognition of the “pivotal role” they played during the coronavirus pandemic.

The cash boost will go to more than 57,000 carers as part of a £29 million package announced by the Welsh Government.

Announcing the plans on Wednesday, deputy minister for social services Julie Morgan (pictured) said she hoped the payment would “show how much we value and appreciate what they do”.

“Unpaid carers have played a pivotal role throughout the pandemic and we recognise the financial and emotional hardships they have experienced,” she said.

“I hope this £500 payment will go some way to supporting them during these difficult times.”

Anyone receiving carer’s allowance on March 31 will be eligible to claim from the fund later this year.

Carers allowance is paid to people who care for someone receiving certain benefits for at least 35 hours a week, while earning no more than £128 a week.

Ms Morgan added: “We understand not all unpaid carers will be eligible for this payment, as many are not in receipt of a carer’s allowance, and we will continue supporting carers of all ages in every way we can.”

The scheme is being launched after a survey of more than 1,500 unpaid carers found nearly half had to use their personal savings and give up work or study to care, while more than half had to give up on hobbies or personal interests because of their caring role, the Government said.

It is also recognised that unpaid carers will be exposed to greater financial pressures than others, due to caring for people with complex needs combined with the current cost-of-living crisis.

Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show 57,130 people are in receipt of carers allowance in Wales.

The highest rate of unpaid carers are in Neath Port Talbot, where 267 out of every 10,000 people are receiving carers allowance.

Monmouthshire has the lowest rate of unpaid carers, with 112 out of every 10,000 in receipt of the benefit.

Carers Wales director Claire Morgan praised the Government and called it “an important first step in actively recognising carers’ daily contribution to our society”.

Simon Hatch, director of Carers Trust Wales, said: “Unpaid carers have been on the front line throughout the pandemic and this payment is recognition of the many hours of care they’ve given alongside the efforts of the paid workforce.

“This is a first step towards addressing some of the concerns we’ve heard from unpaid carers across Wales, spanning from before the pandemic, about their daily struggles to make ends meet.”

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