Ken Skates MS has welcomed the announcement from the Welsh Labour Government that 4,583 unpaid carers in Wrexham and Denbighshire 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 31 this year will be eligible for the payment. This includes 2,483 in Wrexham and another 2,100 in Denbighshire.
Mr Skates said: “I’m delighted that the Welsh Labour Government is investing £29m in our army of unpaid carers. It shows how much they value and appreciate those who care for others.
“Unpaid carers have played a pivotal role throughout the pandemic – they have gone above and beyond to care for family or friends.
“The physical and emotional impact of caring can be overwhelming, so I hope this £500 payment will go some way to support during this cost-of-living crisis.”
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 for someone receiving certain benefits and 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.
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.
Mr Skates added: “This announcement comes 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 also 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. Unpaid carers will be exposed to greater financial pressures than others.”
Local authorities will be able to use their discretion regarding claims that miss the eligibility date by a small margin or where there are exceptional circumstances.
The one-off payment will not be taxable, subject to National Insurance contributions or included as income when calculating entitlement for tax credits.