UP to 53,000 carers across Scotland are missing out on benefits worth £170 million they are entitled to, Labour has claimed.
With control over the benefit due to be devolved to Holyrood, the party has now urged the Scottish Government to bring in new measures to ensure people receive the cash they are due.
Figures from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (Spice) show 53,000 people who were entitled to Carer’s Allowance failed to collect it, meaning they missed out on payments totalling £170 million over the course of year.
Labour is now demanding the forthcoming Social Security Bill included a new legal duty to increase both the awareness and uptake of welfare payments.
Social security spokesman Mark Griffin raised the issue ahead of a Holyrood debate on the future of social security in Scotland.
Mr Griffin said: “Carers are often the unsung heroes of our country. Thousands of people dedicate their lives to caring for others and save the Government, particularly our NHS and social care system, billions of pounds because of their selfless care and attention.
“Yet these new figures published today by Labour reveal that 53,000 people entitled to Carer’s Allowance aren’t receiving it. That’s £170 million of Carer’s Allowance in Scotland currently going unpaid. When this power is devolved the SNP must ensure everybody who is entitled to Carer’s Allowance receives it.”
He added: “Making sure, in law, that cash goes to the people who are entitled to it could make a huge difference. Thousands of families across Scotland are one big unexpected bill away from really struggling. Too many people who are selflessly helping others are often having to choose between putting money in the gas meter or feeding their kids. We can change that.
“The SNP has delayed taking on many of the new welfare powers that they used to demand. It’s time SNP ministers got on and delivered a fairer social security system for Scotland.”