MORE than 57,000 unpaid carers in Wales will receive a £500 payment in recognition of the ’pivotal role’ they have played during the pandemic.

The payment is part of a £29m investment in unpaid carers from the Welsh Government and recognises the financial and emotional hardship many have experienced.

Unpaid carers who are receiving Carer’s Allowance on March 31st this year will be eligible for the payment.

An unpaid carer is someone who cares for a partner, relative or friend who has an illness of disability. Carers Allowance is paid to people caring for at least 35 hours a week, who care for someone receiving certain benefits and who earn no more than £128 a week.

The payment will benefit thousands of the most vulnerable unpaid carers in Wales, who frequently care for the longest and are on the lowest incomes.

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Deputy Minister for Social Services Julie Morgan said:

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

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

We are immensely proud of our unpaid carers in Wales, many of whom struggle to make time for themselves because of their caring role, and hope this £29m investment in people shows how much we value and appreciate what they do.

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.”

Unpaid carers will be able to submit their claim to local authorities later this year. Further details on how and when to register for the payment will be available shortly.

The payment 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.

Combined with the cost of living crisis – and the fact many of those in an unpaid carer role will be caring for individuals with complex needs who require warm homes, specialist medical equipment and certain foods – it is recognised unpaid carers will be exposed to greater financial pressures than others.

It is hoped a payment of £500 will go some way to easing these pressures, as well as recognising the value of their caring role over the last year to Wales’ health and social care system.

Kate Young, Chair of Wales Carers Alliance and Director of the All Wales Forum of Parents and Carers, said:

“The Alliance welcomes the news that many unpaid carers across Wales will be supported by this payment.

It is a positive step towards recognising the unwavering care and support unpaid carers have always given, and will continue to give, especially considering the extra challenges so many families have faced during the pandemic.”

Simon Hatch, Director of Carers Trust Wales, welcomed the news:

“Unpaid carers have been on the frontline 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.”

Claire Morgan,Carers Trust Wales,Director said:

“Unpaid carers are the vital third pillar of our health and social care system in Wales and took on unknowing amounts of stress and responsibility during the pandemic.

This £500 payment is an important first step in actively recognising carers’ daily contribution to our society and we commend the Welsh Government for making these payments direct to carers.”

By Gwynoro Jones

Former MP for Carmarthenshire, Gwynoro Jones joined the team covering politics in Wales. He has a wealth of experience in politics and has been a regular commentator on radio, TV and in newspapers in Wales. Email: gwynorojones@walesnewsonline.com

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