Scottish Benefits

The majority of welfare spending remains reserved to the UK Government, but the Scottish Government has announced its commitment to providing support to help mitigate some of the worst cuts. 

In 2020-21 the Scottish Government will take on full responsibility for benefits which support people with disabilities and start delivering the replacement to the current Disability Living Allowance for Children and the Scottish replacement for Personal Independence Payment:

  • A new claims service for the first of three Disability Assistance benefits, Disability Assistance for Children and Young People, which will replace the UK Government’s Disability Living Allowance for Children in Scotland by summer 2020. 
  • Child Winter Heating Assistance to families with severely disabled children from winter 2020 in the form of a lump sum payment of £200 to families with children in receipt of the highest care component of Disability Assistance for Children and Young People to supplement winter heating costs for families
  •  Our Personal Independence Payment (PIP) replacement benefit by early 2021.

Universal Credit

The Universal Credit Scottish choices gives people living in Scotland the option of:

·         being paid Universal Credit twice a month rather than monthly

·         having their Universal Credit housing element being paid directly to their landlords

Local Housing Allowances for Scotland

BRMA Name1 Bedroom Shared1 Bedroom2 Bedrooms3 Bedrooms4 Bedrooms
Ayrshires (including East, North and South Ayrshire )£76.99£80.55£97.81£115.07£159.95
Dundee and Angus£69.04£84.00£115.07£149.59£241.64
Forth Valley (including Clackmannanshire, Falkirk and Stirling)£74.12£90.90£115.07£149.59£218.63
Greater Glasgow£80.55£113.92£149.59£172.60£322.19
Lothian (Including City of Edinburgh, East Lothian and Midlothian)£94.82£158.79£189.86£253.15£390.08
North Lanarkshire£65.59£82.85£103.56£113.92£182.96
Perth and Kinross£65.01£92.05£115.07£149.59£205.97
Renfrewshire/ Inverclyde£67.66£80.55£103.56£126.58£230.14
South Lanarkshire£69.04£86.30£109.32£143.84£218.63
West Lothian£69.04£112.77£138.08£159.95£218.63

Housing benefit and the bedroom tax – The  government website directs those looking up the bedroom tax to discretionary housing payments:

If you have one or more ‘spare’ rooms, your Housing Benefit may be reduced. This is called the bedroom tax.

If you’re affected by the bedroom tax, you may be able to get a Discretionary Housing Payment.

Discretionary Housing Payments

If you rent your home, and you get Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, but still can’t afford your housing costs, you may be eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

A Discretionary Housing Payment can be made if you:

·         claim Housing Benefit but it doesn’t cover all your rent

·         claim Universal Credit but still can’t afford your housing costs

·         need help with removal costs

·         need help with a rent deposit

In the 2020 budget, the Scottish government announced almost £60 million of funding to allow local authorities to fully mitigate the effects of the ‘bedroom tax’ with additional funding of £11 million for other DHPs including support for those affected by Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates and benefit cap.

Carer’s Allowance Supplement

Carer’s Allowance Supplement is an extra payment for people in Scotland who get Carer’s Allowance on a particular date. Carer’s Allowance Supplement is paid 2 times a year.

The next 2 rounds of payments are:

·         £230.10 in June 2020 – you’ll get this payment if you’re getting Carer’s Allowance on 13 April 2020

·         £230.10 in December 2020 – you’ll get this payment if you’re getting Carer’s Allowance on 12 October 2020

The person you care for does not have to live in Scotland.

NB: Carer’s Allowance Supplement is a taxable benefit. 

Young Carer Grant

Young Carer Grant is a yearly payment of £300 for young carers in Scotland.

You can get Young Carer Grant if all of these apply:

  • you live in Scotland
  • you’re 16, 17 or 18 years old
  • you’ve been caring for one or more people for around 16 hours a week, for the last 3 months
  • the person or people you care for are getting certain benefits
  • you’re not being paid to care for someone you will use in your application as part of your job
  • you’re not helping care for the people you apply for as a volunteer, for example as part of a care group or charity
  • you’re not already getting Carer’s Allowance from the Department for Work and Pensions, or Northern Ireland’s Carer’s Allowance

If you care for more than one person, you can combine the hours of the people you care for to average 16 hours a week.

You can get Young Carer Grant once a year, up until you turn 19. You’ll need to fill in a new form or call us each year you want to apply.

You may be able to get Carer’s Allowance. You should apply for this once you’ve been paid Young Carer Grant. You will not be able to get Young Carer Grant if you’re already getting Carer’s Allowance.

Job Start Payment 

 Job Start Payment is a brand new benefit that will be launched in spring 2020. It will help young people aged 16-24 who have been out of paid employment and in receipt of an eligible benefit for 6 months or more. It will be a one-off payment of £250 (£400 if a young person has children) to cover the cost of transport to work, clothes or food. Care leavers can claim until they are 25. It is expected to help around 5,000 young people.

Scottish Child Payment

The Scottish Child Payment is being introduced in 2020, with the first payments to be made by Christmas 2020 for children under 6. Scottish Government analysis suggests that up to 170,000 children could be eligible for this targeted direct financial support to low-income families.


  • payment level: £10 per week, per eligible child
  • eligibility: households with children and in receipt of a qualifying benefit (Universal Credit, Legacy Benefits and/or Pension Credit)
  • timescales: early delivery to eligible families with children under 6 by Christmas 2020. Full rollout to eligible families with children under 16 by the end of 2022

Scottish Welfare Fund

The Scottish Welfare Fund helps families and people in Scotland who are on low incomes through Crisis Grants and Community Care Grants.

You can apply for a:

  • Crisis Grant – if you’re in crisis because of a disaster (like a fire or flood), or an emergency (like losing your money or an unexpected expense)
  • Community Care Grant – to help you or someone you care for to start to live, or to carry on living, a settled life in the community

A Community Care Grant can be given, if you qualify, to help with costs if:

  • you’re leaving care or imprisonment and need help to start a settled home
  • you’ve been homeless, or living an unsettled life, and need help to start a settled home
  • you need support to stay out of care
  • you’re caring for someone who’s been released from prison or a young offender’s institution
  • you’re experiencing great pressure and need help to keep a settled home
  • you’re escaping domestic abuse
  • a child’s health is at risk

Education Maintenance Allowance (in England 16-19 Bursary)

EMA is a weekly payment of £30, paid fortnightly in arrears.
Aged 16 to 19 who have reached school leaving age. To be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:
-ordinary resident in Scotland.
-households with one dependent child must be earning £24,421 per year or less, and households with more than one dependent child must be earning £26,884 or less, before tax.

As well as the above, you can only qualify for EMA if you’re either:

  • attending school full time
  • undertaking a full or part-time non-advanced course, in a college of further education or education centre
  • taking part in an ‘activity agreement’

NB: Not applicable for those studying higher/advanced courses e.g. university

EMA is currently paid in addition to Child Benefit and other benefits. Young people on Job Seekers’ Allowance or on government supported training schemes are not eligible for EMAs.

Council Tax – Council Tax reduction scheme

Means-tested Council Tax Reduction (CTR) scheme reduces or eliminates the council tax liability of around 500,000 lower income households in Scotland, depending on household circumstances and ability to pay.

Care leavers exemption
Mandatory exemption to Council Tax for all care leavers under the age of 26 who were looked after by a local authority on or after their 16th birthday. A property is exempted from council tax where all adult residents of the household are care leavers, students, school leavers or those affected by a severe mental impairment.

Council Tax and Water:

Through the council tax reduction scheme you can apply for a 100% reduction in council tax. However, in Scotland water is charged through your council bill and the maximum reduction is 25%. Therefore, even if you receive 100% reduction on council tax, you will still receive a bill from the council for 75% of your water and sewage charge.
If you are on Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Pension Credit, Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance, the local authority can have deductions taken from your benefits to pay off your water and sewerage arrears. If your council uses the ‘Water Direct’ scheme, they can deduct two payments from your benefit: one to recover water and sewerage arrears, and one to cover current charges so you do not build up further arrears. Local authorities do not need your permission to use Water Direct.

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
NB: currently same as England, but Scottish government recently closed a consultation on this benefit and so could see changes in the future. 

Local signposts for Benefits in Scotland:

·         In Work Support: – also provides list of local hubs for support in Glasgow

·         Help with Universal Credit in Glasgow: 0808 1699901 or visit webpage at

·         Scottish Welfare Fund, which helps people in crisis. Details for Edinburgh team: 0131 529 299  Community Care Grants/ Crisis Grants: 0131 529 5299

·         Falkirk Community Advice Services – Welfare benefits: 01324 506 070

·         Falkirk council have a benefits calculator on their website