A teenage carer will be among the first to apply for a new benefit available to those in North and South Lanarkshire.

The Carer Support Payment replaces the Carer's Allowance from Monday, June 24 and includes more student carers.

Paid by Social Security Scotland, the benefit was previously only offered to carers aged 16 to 19 in full-time "advanced" education, carers over 20 in full-time education at any level, as well as carers in part-time education.

Now, the new payment will see 16 to 19-year-old carers who are engaged in full-time "non-advanced" education, such as school, also eligible for Carer Support Payment.

Keira Carruthers, 18, from Blantyre, has been looking after her dad since she was 13 and is due to start an HNC in August.

The young carer plans to apply for the payment.

She said: “People really underestimate how hard it is to be a young carer. Caring for my dad can be difficult if he’s down with an illness or having a bad day.

“Sometimes it’s full-blown medical issues but other days it’s keeping him company and keeping him occupied. Being a young carer while balancing my studies is a full-time job.

“It’s really important that young people, who look after someone, get support while they’re studying. I’ll definitely be applying for Carer Support Payment.”

The new benefit also allows some carers, predominantly full-time students, to have their payments backdated to when the Carer Support Payment was first introduced in November 2023 in the pilot areas of Perth & Kinross, Dundee City, and the Western Isles.

Rollout to more local authorities is planned in the coming months and it will be available throughout Scotland from November 4.

Meanwhile, carers residing in regions where Carer Support Payment is not yet available are urged to apply for Carer's Allowance.

Shirley-Anne Somerville, cabinet secretary for Social Justice, said: “I’m delighted that more carers in Scotland can now get Carer Support Payment and I urge every carer who is eligible for the benefit to apply as soon as possible.

“I also encourage anyone who thinks they might be eligible to check if they can apply. This includes students studying full-time who are not eligible for Carer's Allowance.

“The work unpaid carers do is invaluable and I want every carer to get the money they are entitled to.”

Carers can use the postcode checker at postcodecheck.socialsecurity.gov.scot to see if Carer Support Payment is available in their area.

Find out more and apply at https://www.mygov.scot/carer-support-payment.