History was made this week when the Scottish Government launched their new social security system, the first new Scottish public service since devolution.
Our new agency, Social Security Scotland, has begun taking public enquiries.
Letters have started dropping through the doors of carers due to receive the new Carer’s Allowance Supplement.
And the first phase of payments – backdated to April – are due to hit bank accounts by the end of this week.
What are the social security powers being devolved to Scotland?
- Disability Living Allowance / Personal Independence Payments
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Winter Fuel Allowance and the Cold Weather Payment
- Sure Start Maternity Grant
- Industrial Injuries Benefit
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Funeral Payment
Eligible carers will get a supplementary payment of £221 twice per year, an increase of 13 per cent on Carer’s Allowance from the Department for Work and Pensions.
These first payments made by Social Security Scotland mark the beginning of a service that sees social security as an investment in our people.
We are also accelerating the help we can give to new families so every child has the best start in life. We will start making payments of our Best Start Grant by Christmas – more than six months earlier than planned.
This will put more money into the pockets of families on lower incomes by providing £600 on the birth of a first child and £300 on the birth of any later children. Unlike the equivalent UK scheme, there is no cap on the number of children who can benefit.
This is the first step in our delivery of the Best Start Grant. By summer 2019, families will get a further £250 for each of their children at key points in their early years such as starting nursery and school.
Key to ensuring the successful delivery of these benefits is our commitment to designing social security arrangement with people – not for them.
What social security powers are still reserved to Westminster?
- Universal Credit
- Employment Support Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Child Benefit
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Pension Credit
- State Pension
We are listening to people with experience of the UK system through our experience panels and carrying out extensive end-to-end testing to ensure the service meets the needs of the people of Scotland.
For example, the letter we are sending to people this week has gone through rounds of testing with carers to ensure it contains the information they need and is presented in a way that makes sense, is comprehensive and comprehensible and isn’t completely impersonal.
This approach to social security – that puts people first – is key to delivering the kind of country we want to be.
We want to build a society where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. A society where everyone can play they’re full part, and where wealth and resources are more fairly shared.
As our new social security system begins work this week, we take one step closer to achieving those high aspirations for our country.