SCOTLAND's new social security agency is to begin making its first payments next month.

A new benefit for carers will be the first to be administered by Social Security Scotland from mid-September, backdated to April.

The carer's allowance supplement will give those eligible the equivalent of an extra £8.50 per week, up 13% on the previous benefit under the Department of Work and Pensions.

The supplement, worth more than £30 million a year, will benefit more than 75,000 carers.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: "Making these payments will represent a historic moment, launching a new public service that will deliver a social security system that treats people with dignity, fairness and respect.

"We recognise the important contribution carers make, and we believe the current total paid out to them is not enough.

"This supplementary payment allows us to get more money in the pockets of carers in Scotland as quickly as possible.

"We have always made clear we believe that we think Carer's Allowance should be the same rate as Jobseeker's Allowance.

"Having new powers over social security means we can make this a reality and this additional payment is in recognition of the important contribution carers make to society."