Scotland spends £100million on new benefit payments – what are you eligible for?

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The new benefits include the Job Start Payment, Child Winter Heating Assistance and Scottish Child Payment, which were all introduced during the pandemic. Other notable benefits include the Carer’s Allowance Supplement which is available for recipients of Carer’s Allowance from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Unlike other UK-wide benefit payments which are administered by the DWP, these country-specific benefits are managed and paid out by Social Security Scotland.

The Job Start Payment is a one-off of either £252.50 or £404, if the claimant is the main carer of any children, to help pay for the additional costs of starting a job.

Carer’s Allowance Supplement is paid twice a year to DWP claimants who receive Carer’s Allowance on a specific date.

It is made up of two payments of £231.40, however the upcoming December payment has been doubled in recognition of the work carried out by unpaid carers during the pandemic.

Child Winter Heating Assistance is another annual payment designed to help disabled children and young people, as well as their families, with the increased heating costs over the winter months.

Scottish Child Payment was created to go towards the costs of supporting a claimant’s family.

The benefit payment is a weekly payment of £10 that can be claimed for every child a recipient looks after who is under six years of age.

If someone’s application for the benefit is successful, they will get the payment every four weeks.

Each benefit payment has different eligibility criteria however all were created to assist low-income households or as “top-up” benefits for those already receiving payments from the DWP.

Due to the expansion of powers to devolved governments in the UK, Scotland has been able to create its own social welfare system adjacent to, but working alongside, the DWP.

Ben Macpherson, the Scottish Government’s Minister for Social Security, outlined why the Scottish Government has decided to pursue such a costly investment.

The Minister said: “Social security is a collective investment in the people of Scotland and building a fairer society for all.

“The investment that the Scottish Government provides through Scottish benefits and the work of Social Security Scotland is important because it tackles poverty and promotes equality.

“These payments go directly to people to help at key times in their lives – like when they’re having a new baby or starting a new job – and they also help to support carers.

“We are now delivering 11 benefits and seven of them are brand new – and the more complex devolved disability and carer benefits have started to be rolled out.

“When all Scottish benefits have been introduced, we will support 1.8 million children and adults – around a third of people in Scotland.”

David Wallance, the Chief Executive of Social Security Scotland, shared what progress has been made by the body over the last two years.

Mr Wallace explained: “I am proud to say that, despite the challenges COVID-19 presented, we continued to pay out benefits throughout the year and deliver high levels of service to our clients.

“We also introduced three brand new benefits – Job Start Payment, Child Winter Heating Assistance and our most significant benefits to date – Scottish Child Payment – all while the majority of our staff worked remotely.”

Further information on new benefit payments can be found on the Social Security Scotland website.

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