Home Help for families Information & Advice Benefits & money Benefits & tax credits Welfare benefits in Scotland
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Most of the benefits that families in Scotland can claim are UK-wide and claimed from either the Department for Works and Pensions or HMRC.
However some benefits are different in Scotland, and these are run by a new agency called Social Security Scotland. Here we explain what these Scottish benefits are and who can apply for them.
Over the next few years Social Security Scotland will take on responsibility for an increasing number of new Scottish benefits. And in late 2020 and early 2021 it will introduce two new benefits: Child Winter Heating Assistance and the Scottish Child Payment.
During the winter of 2020, the Scottish government has announced additional financial support in response to the impact of the coronavirus.
This includes a Covid spring hardship payment of £100 for each child in Scotland who qualifies for free school meals on the basis of low income.
To qualify, you must normally be on one of certain means-tested benefits and your child must also attend a council school. Contact your local council regarding this payment.
Best Start provides grants to low-income families with young children. You can only claim if you are on certain low-income benefits. Because it is a grant, it does not need to be repaid. There are three different types of grant:
This is £600 if you have no other children living with you or £300 if you have other children aged under 16 living with you. If you have twins you’ll get an additional £300. You can claim a grant from the 25th week of your pregnancy up until your baby is 6 months old. This can be extended if you miss the deadline due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
If you adopt a baby or start to care for a baby as a kinship carer, you can make a claim at any point before the baby’s first birthday. You can still get the grant for a baby who was stillborn or who died after they were born.
This is a payment of £250. You can get it for a child you are responsible for who is aged two or three. You can claim at any point from their 2nd birthday up until they turn three and a half. If you are late in applying because of the coronavirus outbreak this should be extended. To claim, you must be treated as responsible for that child e.g. you get child benefit for them.
This is a payment of £250 if you are responsible for a child who was born between 1 March 2015 and 29 February 2016. You can apply at any point between 1 June 2020 up to 28 February 2021.
No, you can qualify for a Best Start Grant whether or not you are working. However, you normally need to be getting a ‘qualifying benefit’. This means you must be getting one of the following benefits:
If you are aged under 18 you can get a Best Start Grant even if you are not on a qualifying benefit and no matter what income you have. If you are aged 18 or 19 and either pregnant or a parent, but someone else still gets benefits for looking after you as a dependent, you can get a grant so long as the person who cares for you gets Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit or Pension Credit for you as part of their family.
To claim a Best Start Grant you can apply online or download an application form at mygov.scot or phone Social Security Scotland on 0800 182 2222 (8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. If you’re a British Sign Language user, you can use the contactSCOTLAND app to contact Social Security Scotland by video relay.
Best Start Foods is a prepaid card that you can use to buy healthy foods for children under three. This includes milk, first infant formula, fresh fruit and vegetable, pulses and fresh eggs. You can use the card in shops and online. You can apply for Best Start Foods when you’re pregnant, or at any time up to your child turning three years old.
How much are the payments of Best Start Foods?
This depends on your child’s age. You will get:
No, you can qualify for Best Start Foods whether or not you are working. However, you or your partner normally need to be getting a ‘qualifying benefit’. This means you must be getting one of the following benefits:
If you are aged under 18 you can get a grant even if you are not on a qualifying benefit and no matter what income you have. If you are a parent aged 18 or 19 and someone else still gets benefits for looking after you as a dependent, you can get a grant so long as the person who cares for you is receiving Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit or Pension Credit for you as part of their family.
To claim you can apply online, download a paper claim form from mygov.scot or phone Social Security Scotland on 0800 182 2222 (8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday). If you’re a British Sign Language user, you can use the contactSCOTLAND app to contact Social Security Scotland by video relay.
If you are entitled to Best Start foods, you can also receive free healthy start vitamins, which are distributed by regional health boards in Scotland – ask your health visitor, midwife or GP for more information.
The Carer’s Allowance Supplement is a lump sum payment made twice a year to carers in Scotland who receive Carer’s Allowance. You need to be receiving actual payments of Carer’s Allowance – it’s not enough merely to have an underlying entitlement to the benefit.
If you live in Scotland and were getting Carer’s Allowance on 13 April 2020, you should have received a lump sum payment at some point from late June 2020.
Normally each payment is £230.10. However, in late June an additional supplementary payment was made to recognise the extra pressures placed on carers as a result of the coronavirus. As a result the amount paid to carers in late June was £460.20.
A payment of £230.10 was made from the 18th December to anyone who was getting Carer’s Allowance on 12 October. These payments are ignored as income when calculating entitlement to other benefits or tax credits.
You do not need to apply for a Carer’s Allowance Supplement. Instead you should receive a payment automatically. If you think you should qualify but don’t receive a grant, contact Social Security Scotland on 0800 182 2222 (8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday).
If you’re a British Sign Language user, you can use the contactSCOTLAND app to contact Social Security Scotland by video relay. Alternatively, you can write to: Carer’s Allowance Supplement, PO Box 10302, Dundee, DD1 9FX.
The Young Carer Grant is a lump sum payment of £305.10, which can be made to 16, 17 and 18 year olds who are providing at least 16 hours a week care to a severely disabled person.
The severely disabled person must be getting a qualifying disability benefit, for example the care component of Disability Living Allowance at the middle or highest rate, the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment or Attendance Allowance. The young carer must not be getting Carer’s Allowance. He or she can get a grant even if they work or study full-time and it is not means-tested.
To be eligible a young carer must be providing 16 hours or more care a week. This is averaged out. He or she must have provided at least 208 hours care over 10 of the 13 weeks before the date they claimed.
The care provided must promote the “physical, mental or emotional wellbeing of an individual,” so supervision and emotional support should count as well as physical care. If the young carer looks after more than one severely disabled person, they can add together the care they provide to up to three different people. However, all of the disabled people who are counted must be on a qualifying disability benefits.
Yes, if a young carer meets the qualifying rules they can get a grant, even if someone else is already claiming Carer’s Allowance for the person that they are helping look after.
So for example, a young carer who helps their parent to look after a disabled brother or sister can get a Young Carer Grant, even though their parent is already getting Carer’s Allowance as their sibling’s main carer.
Only one person can receive a Young Carer Grant for the same disabled person. Making a claim for a Young Carer Grant will not affect any benefits the young carer gets or the benefits of the person they look after.
Apply online by downloading a paper form at mygov.scot or by phoning Social Security Scotland for free on 0800 182 2222 (8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday). British Sign Language users can use the contactSCOTLAND app to contact Social Security Scotland by video relay. Young carers can apply once a year while they are 16, 17 or 18.
A Funeral Support Payment is a one-off grant to help meet the costs of a funeral if you are on a low income. Because it is a grant, you do not have to repay it. The funeral can be for a partner, close friend or a family member, including a stillborn child.
You will only be considered for a payment if it is reasonable for you to have accepted responsibility for the costs of the funeral. You may be refused a grant if there are others who had a closer family relationship, unless there are other factors such as estrangement that mean it was reasonable for you to accept responsibility for funeral costs. Only one person can get Funeral Support Payment for the same funeral.
In addition, you can only apply for a Funeral Support Payment if you are on are getting a qualifying benefit. This means you or your partner must be getting one of the following benefits:
You must also normally live in Scotland, and the deceased must have lived somewhere in the UK. You also cannot be a person who is subject to immigration control.
Normally the funeral must take place in the UK. Seek further advice if it is taking place elsewhere in the European Economic Area or in Switzerland.
You can apply at any point in the six months after your loved one has died. If you missed this six month deadline due to disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, your application should still be accepted.
Usually a Funeral Support Payment won’t cover the full costs of the funeral. However, it should be enough to cover the following:
If the burial or cremation takes place in an area in which the person who has died wasn’t living, and as the result the cost of the burial or cremation, including transport costs, are higher than they would otherwise have been, the extra cost won’t be met.
Some assets belonging to the person who has died can be deducted from Funeral Support Payment. For example, any financial assets of the deceased that are available without confirmation having been granted, or without probate or letters of administration or certain insurance policy payments or funeral plan payments.
To apply for a Funeral Support Payment claim online, download a paper claim form from mygov.scot (there are different forms for funerals for adults and funerals for children under 18) or phone Social Security Scotland on 0800 182 2222 (8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday). If you’re a British Sign Language user, you can use the contactSCOTLAND app to contact Social Security Scotland by video relay.
If you are unhappy with a decision about a funeral support payment or young carer grant, you can ask for the decision to be looked at again. This is called a ‘redetermination’. You should ask for this within 31 days of the date of the decision you are unhappy with. This time limit can be extended up to one year from the date of the decision if you have a good reason for missing the 31-day limit.
At the moment, the one year time limit can be extended if your request is late due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Social Security Scotland has to deal with your request within 16 working days
Some benefits and financial supports in Scotland are administered by local councils, rather than Social Security Scotland. This includes help with council tax and the Scottish Welfare Fund. Find out more about financial support from councils in Scotland.
The Scottish government also have negotiated certain changes to the way Universal Credit is paid in Scotland. In particular:
Over the next few years Social Security Scotland will take on responsibility for an increasing number of new Scottish benefits. This includes a new benefit called the Child Disability Payment, which will replace Disability Living Allowance in Scotland. A new benefit called the Adult Disability Payment will replace Personal Independence Payment, while a new Carer’s Assistance will replace Carer’s Allowance in Scotland.
The introduction of these new Scottish disability and carers benefits has been delayed by the coronavirus outbreak. The new Child Disability Payment will be introduced with a pilot scheme expected to start on 26 July 2021 in the local authority areas of Dundee City, Perth and Kinross and the Western Isles. In these three areas it will not be possible to make a new claim for DLA after 26 July 2021, with a claim for the Child Disability Payment being required instead. This will be followed by its rollout of the new benefit across the whole of Scotland in Autumn 2021 to replace new claims for DLA.
Initially the Child Disability Payment will only replace new claims for DLA. Children who are already on DLA won’t be moved onto the new benefit until later and this will happen in stages.
The new adult disability payment will be piloted in spring 2022 and rolled out across Scotland in summer 2022 to replace new claims for PIP. Initially the adult disability payment will have very similiar rules to PIP but the Scottish Government intends to carry out a full review of the benefit in the Summer of 2023
In the mean-time new rules mean that 16 year olds on Disability Living Allowance in Scotland are no longer be asked to move onto Personal Independence Payment. Instead DLA continues until age 18.
New rules were introduced in September 2020 that see young people in Scotland continue to receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA) until they turn 18. Previously DLA claimants were invited to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) shortly after they turn 16.
If a young person living in Scotland turns 16 on or after the 1st September 2020 and they are getting DLA immediately before their 16th birthday, they will not be expected to claim PIP. Instead their DLA award should be extended until they are 18 at which point they will be asked to claim PIP.
A young person who turns 16 after the 1st September can still opt to move onto PIP before age 18 if they want. However, to do this they will have to make an application for PIP. Any 16 year old who considering this should first seek detailed advice from a benefits adviser as many disabled people are worse off under PIP. Claiming PIP will end the DLA award – even if you later try and withdraw the PIP claim.
No. These new rules extending DLA only apply to young people in Scotland who turn 16 on or after 1 September 2020. Unless your daughter is terminally ill or a hospital in-patient she (or you acting as her appointee) will be invited to claim PIP shortly after her 16th birthday. She will need to do this if she wants to continue receiving a disability benefit. Once a decision has been made on her PIP claim it replaces her DLA award.
These rules extending DLA to the age of 18 only apply to young people who were getting DLA immediately before their 16th birthday. If someone isn’t already getting DLA by their 16th birthday they can’t make a new claim after that date and will need to claim PIP instead. This is the case even if they turn 16 after the 1st September 2020.
The Scottish Government is introducing a new payment to help families with severely disabled children pay their winter heating costs.
This will be an annual payment of £200 made to each family in Scotland who has a child under 18 who qualifies for the care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at the highest rate. You will get this new winter payment for each child in your family on the highest rate of the DLA care component, regardless of what other income you have.
To qualify your child have been receiving the highest rate care component for at least one day between 21 September 2020 and 27 September 2020. This includes where payment of their higher rate DLA care award had been suspended in that week because they were in residential accommodation.
If your child wasn’t awarded the higher rate care component until some point after 27th September, but that award was backdated to cover that week, you should still qualify.
Normally a payment is only awarded where a child lives in Scotland. However special rules sometimes mean a grant can be paid where a child on higher rate DLA care lives in an EEA country or Switzerland but has a genuine and sufficient link to Scotland.
The new payment will be made automatically using DLA records, so you do not need to apply. The first payments are due to be made from 27 November, with every eligible family having received a payment by 11 December. If you think you should qualify for a payment but have not received a letter about this by the 8th of December, please contact Social Security Scotland on 0800 182 2222.
From 15 February 2021, the Scottish government will start to pay low-income families a payment of £10 per week for each eligible child in their family. Initially payments will only be made for children aged under six, but by late 2022 it is planned that this will be extended to children aged under 16.
There is no limit to the number of children that you can be paid for, so a Scottish child payment will still be made for children who are affected by the two child limit in Universal Credit or tax credits.
To qualify for a Scottish child payment a family must be receiving ‘a qualifying benefit’. This means you must be getting one of the following:
You also need to show that you are the person responsible for the child in question. You are treated as responsible for them if:
Special rules apply if more than one household applies for the same child.
The Scottish child payment scheme opened for applications on 9 November 2020, with the scheme starting on 15 February 2021. Payments are likely to be made every four weeks. To apply, call Social Security Scotland on 0800 182 2222 or visit mygov.scot/benefits
If you claim before 15 February 2021, your award will start from that date, although payments aren’t expected to be made until after the week beginning 22 February. If you don’t claim until after 15 February, your award will start from the date you apply.
Getting the Scottish Child Payment will not effect any other benefits or tax credits you receive.
If you are unhappy with a decision that has been made by Social Security Scotland, you can ask for it to be looked at again. This is called a redetermination. If you are still unhappy with the outcome of that you can appeal to an Independent Tribunal.
The time limit for asking for a redetermination oe appeal is normally 31 days (42 days for winter heating assistance) from the date of the decision you are challenging. The timelimit for an appeal is also normally 31 days.
This timelimit can be extended to 1 year but only if you have good reason for a late request. Currently this absolute time limit of 1 year can be extended if the reason your redermination or appeal is late is beacuse of the Coronavirus outbreak.
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