Scottish Government (articles)

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The definitive guide to the social security system, and an essential resource for all advisers who are serious about giving the best and most accurate advice to their clients.


The book provides comprehensive information about entitlement to all benefits, together with full details on the rules about work, work-related responsibilities and the work capability assessment, the income and capital rules, benefit sanctions, the ‘bedroom tax’, overpayments, fraud, and how to challenge decisions. The Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook provides comprehensive advice about entitlement in 2019/20.

It has been newly restructured, making it easier to use, and refocused to bring universal credit to the fore.

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Delivery of disability assistance to start in 2020

Published: 28 Feb 2019 12:47

Timetable for remaining devolved benefits outlined.

Responsibility for all devolved benefits, including their funding, will sit with the Scottish Government from 1 April next year, with delivery for disability benefits rolled out shortly after.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville today told Parliament how:

  • New claims for disability assistance for children and young people will start in summer 2020
  • Claims for older people’s disability payments will open by the end of 2020
  • Disability benefits for Working Age People – the Scottish replacement of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – will open early in 2021

The system will have a redesigned application process and significantly fewer face to face assessments, which will be carried out through the agency by qualified assessors and audio-recorded as standard. There will be rolling awards with no set end points and those with fluctuating health conditions will not face additional reviews due to regular changes in needs related to their condition. We will also move the burden of collecting information from the client to Social Security Scotland.

Ms Somerville said:

“Since the Social Security Act was passed by the Scottish Parliament in June last year, progress has been swift.

“Our first priority was to deliver for carers, and we have already – through the Carer’s Allowance Supplement – paid out over £33 million to more than 77,000 carers.

“I have been delighted with the success of Best Start Grant which has put £2.7 million into the pockets of more than 7,000 families in Scotland – more in the first two months of operation than the DWP benefit it replaced paid out in a year.

“Our next priority is delivering payments for disabled people, as this is where we can make the most meaningful difference for the largest number of people. 

“We have a duty to quickly reform the parts of the current system which cause stress, anxiety and pain. And I have been moved by the personal stories I have heard, many of which criticise the penalising assessment process.”

Around half a million cases – the equivalent of around 10% of people in Scotland – will transfer from DWP to Social Security Scotland next year. Ms Somerville emphasised that the safe and secure transition is central to protecting people and their payments.

She said: “This is not simply a case of turning off one switch and turning on another.  For the first time in its history, our agency will be making regular payments, direct to people’s bank accounts and our systems need to work seamlessly with those of the DWP. 

“It is therefore essential we have a system that is fully operational for those making new claims and ensure we protect everyone and their payments as their cases are transferred – that is what those who rely on social security support have told us they want. We must work to a timetable that reflects the importance of moving quickly but not putting people’s payments at risk.”

Ms Somerville made clear that during the transfer no-one will have to reapply for benefits, no claims will be reassessed and payments will be protected.

She added: “The timetable I have set out is ambitious but realistic and at all points protects people and their payments. I have seen the mess the DWP has made when transferring people to PIP and introducing Universal Credit, and we will not make the same mistakes.    

“There is much hard work to be done but the prize is great – a social security system with dignity, fairness and respect at its heart and which works for the people of Scotland.”

Having last year successfully delivered the Carer’s Allowance Supplement and the first Best Start Grant payments, Ms Somerville also confirmed the next two phases of Best Start Grant, a Young Carer Grant and Funeral Expense Assistance were all on track to being delivered this year.


A copy of the Cabinet Secretary’s full statement is available.

The timetable for the delivery of devolved benefits is:

  • In 2019, Best Start Grant, Funeral Expense Assistance, and the Young Carer Grant will be delivered
  • The brand new Job Grant, which we are currently consulting on, will help young people moving back into employment
  • In summer 2020, Social Security Scotland will open to new claims for Disability Assistance for Children and Young People, our replacement for Child Disability Living Allowance
  • By end 2020, children who receive the highest care component of Disability Assistance will also be entitled to Winter Heating Assistance
  • By end 2020, Social Security Scotland will open to new claims for Disability Assistance for Older People, our replacement for Attendance Allowance, for people over the state pension age who need someone to help look after them because of a disability or long-term illness
  • In early 2021, Social Security Scotland will open to new claims for the most complex form of Disability Assistance for Working Age People, our replacement for the UK Government’s Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • By the end of 2021 Social Security Scotland will also open to new claims for Carer’s Assistance, our replacement for Carer’s Allowance, folding together that benefit, Carer’s Allowance Supplement and additional money for carers of more than one disabled child in a way that meets carers’ needs
  • By end of 2021 – Winter Heating Assistance and Cold Spell Heating Assistance delivered to some eligible recipients in their current form and to those in receipt of assistance from Social Security Scotland. An agency agreement will mean the DWP processes payments for the remaining recipients, with Social Security Scotland growing the caseload year on year.

Key stages to date include:

April to June 2018

  • Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 passed by Scottish Parliament
  • First 80 operational jobs advertised and filled
  • Interim Dundee headquarters premises announced
  • Development of local delivery commences

July to September 2018

  • Dates of first payments announced
  • Freephone helpline goes live
  • Early delivery of Best Start Grant announced by the First Minister
  • First payments of Carer’s Allowance Supplement made

October to March 2019

  • Best Start Grant pregnancy and birth payment opens for applications – including option to submit application in hard copy, over the telephone or online
  • First payments of Best Start Grant made before Christmas
  • Publication of Annual Business Plan

full suite of position papers that outlines the work undertaken to determine upon the delivery schedule is available.

Q&A on devolved benefits is available. 

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Disabled adaptations

Guides for private tenants and homeowners about funding adaptations to the home are on the Scottish Government’s website. The guides detail the help available to fund changes to your home to make it easier to get around:

Funding adaptations to the home – A guide for private tenants
Funding Adaptations to the home – A guide for homeowners 

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Looking for support to improve your home?

If you’re looking to find out what grants and loans you could benefit from call Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 for free, impartial, expert advice, or request a call back.

You can also use our Funding Finder tool to find out what grants and loans may be available to you. Continue reading

The consultation which forms part of the review into the Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Act 2014.

Published: 5 Nov 2019
Directorate: Economic Development Directorate
Part of: Economy
ISBN: 9781839603198

Changes introduced by Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Act 2014

The Scottish Government seeks your views on the effectiveness and operational impact of the reforms introduced with effect from 1 April 2015 through the Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Act 2014. Your responses to this consultation should be submitted by 11 February 2020.

To view the consultation

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This report presents a range of indicators selected in order to monitor health inequalities over time.

With the exception of the Healthy Birthweight indicator, significant health inequalities persist for each indicator covered in the report.

Changes in the gap between the most and least deprived areas in Scotland

In a number of indicators, absolute inequalities (the gap between the most and least deprived areas) have narrowed over the longer term: Continue reading

This consultation expired on Wednesday, 31 May 2017 but I noticed that the website is still live 20-11-2019 and I thought it might be of interest to read yet, so I have included it on this website though I don`t know how long it will stay live.

The Scottish Government has opened consultation on the Draft British Sign Language (BSL) National Plan until Wednesday31 May 2017. The draft plan, for the period 2017 to 2023, covers the Scottish Government and more than 50 national public bodies answerable to Scottish Ministers, and it is framed around ten long-term goals. Anyone in Scotland can contribute to the consultation and members of BSL communities can help shape the National Plan. There will be a number of consultation events taking place around Scotland. Do not miss out on this unique opportunity for your views to be heard and spread the word! Should you have any questions, please contact

From Fife Centre for Equalities Weekly catch-up W/C 13 March 2017

Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013


1. What is Self-directed Support?

Self-directed Support is Scotland’s mainstream approach to social care. Self-Directed Support (SDS) puts the person at the centre of the support planning process. It enables people, carers and families to make informed choices about what their social care support is and how it is delivered.

It’s not an add on or a separate way of doing things, since the 2014 Act it is the legal way in which all social care must be delivered. What Self-directed Support does is ensure that people who are eligible for support are given the choice and control over how their individual budget is arranged and delivered to meet their agreed health and social care outcomes.

2. Who can access SDS?

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As reported by the BBC, the members bill…

MSPs unanimously backed the general principles of the Disabled Persons’ Parking Badges Bill, after its Stage 1 debate on 20 May 2014.

“Click Here” to view the video online

The members’ bill, introduced by Dennis Robertson MSP in December, is designed to strengthen enforcement of the blue badge scheme.

The scheme provides parking concessions for people with restricted mobility who have difficulty using public transport.

Disability groups have claimed that misuse of the blue badges was widespread.

The legislation is intended to give local authorities the power to cancel badges which have been reported lost or stolen and confiscate badges that are being misused.

Misuse of a blue badge is already an offence, but enforcement powers currently lie with the police.

Badge misuse may take a range of forms including allowing a friend or family member to use the badge when the disabled person it belongs to is not in the car, tampering with a badge or using a badge that is out of date.

The bill has the backing of the Scottish government, and was unanimously backed across the chamber.

The above article is from the BBC`s website