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What a young carer is

If you're a young carer, you might be looking after:

  • someone in your family
  • a friend
  • a neighbour

If you're caring for a parent or someone with children, you might also look after a brother, sister or young child.

You might be caring for someone if you:

  • help them with their mental health
  • give them emotional support
  • help them during an illness
  • support them with a disability
  • support them if they have an addiction

If they need help with their mental health, or support with how they're feeling, you might:

  • comfort them during a panic attack
  • stay close by so they do not feel alone
  • help them through a crisis
  • check on them throughout the day
  • make sure they're safe
  • keep them company

If they have an illness or disability, you might:

  • help them to get around
  • dress them
  • give them (or remind them to take) any medicines they need
  • help them to shower or use the toilet
  • cook their meals for them
  • do their food shopping
  • translate for them

If you do any of these things for up to 3 people most days a week, or every day, then it's likely you're a young carer.

If you're not sure if you're a young carer, we've given some examples of what carers might do each day

Example 1

Name : Sam
Age: 17
Lives: Glasgow

Sam cares for his younger sister Jo. Jo needs mental health support and gets Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

When Jo feels anxious, Sam will talk to her to try and help her feel better. At times, Jo can feel depressed and doesn't want to talk to anyone, but Sam spends time trying to comfort her.

Even though Jo doesn't always need someone looking after her, Sam is always checking on her to make sure she's OK. Every week, Sam will drive Jo to and from her doctor's appointment and pick up her prescriptions.

Sam says he doesn't always feel like he's a carer, but he often misses out on seeing his friends because he helps care for his sister.

Example 2

Name : Charlie
Age: 16
Lives: Aberdeen

Charlie helps look after their younger sister and cares for their mum, who has an illness which stops her from getting around easily. After she was diagnosed, Charlie's mum started getting Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Charlie left school to help look after her.

In the morning, Charlie helps get their mum dressed. Charlie also helps their younger sister get ready for school. It usually takes an hour every morning to make sure Charlie's mother and sister have had breakfast and that Charlie's sister gets the bus to school on time.

Charlie will usually remind their mum to take the medicines she needs. Charlie also helps her get to and from the toilet. Charlie's phone always has to be on - even for quick shopping trips - in case Charlie's mum needs help. In the evening, Charlie spends an hour getting their sister bathed and ready for bed.

Example 3

Name: Blair
Age: 18
Lives: Inverness

Blair is a carer for her grandfather, who has a disability and gets Attendance Allowance. Most days after school, Blair goes round to his house to help out. She will pick up any prescriptions or shopping that he needs.

When she gets to his house, she does the dishes and helps tidy up. Her grandfather has trouble walking, so she helps get him out of his chair and move around the house. Sometimes, he forgets to take the medicines he needs, so Blair has to make sure he takes them on time.

These are not the only examples of what a young carer might do. If you're still not sure if you're a young carer, visit Young Scot for more about what a young carer is.

If you're a volunteer or get paid to be a carer

If you volunteer or get paid to be a carer for the person or people you plan to include when you apply, you cannot get Young Carer Grant. This includes caring for someone as part of a volunteering scheme or as your job.

If you get Carer Support Payment or Carer's Allowance, you cannot also get Young Carer Grant.

You can only get Young Carer Grant if you care for someone who you do not volunteer or get paid to care for.

If you also care for someone else that you're not paid to care for, and do not volunteer to care for, you might still be able to get Young Carer Grant. Just make sure you include their details when you apply.

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