The Scottish Government has launched their new social security system, the first new Scottish public service since devolution.
Social Security Scotland made its first payments in September 2018, delivering the Carer’s Allowance Supplement. This increases the Carer’s Allowance by 13 per cent and is an investment of more than £30 million a year to support carers in Scotland.
This was followed by the Best Start Grant – delivered 6 months earlier than planned – helping parents on low incomes with £600 on the birth of their first child and £300 on the birth of later children, to buy the pram or other big essentials they need.
Since then, we have also launched the Best Start nursery age payment and the school age payment – a £250 payment that will be made to low income families around the time of starting nursery and school.
These first payments mark the beginning of a service that sees social security as an investment in our people. After the successful launch of these benefits, Social Security Scotland will deliver two further benefits this year:
• Funeral Expense Assistance – providing eligible low income families with a contribution towards the cost of a funeral.
• Young Carer Grant – awarded to young carers aged 16 to 18 who do at least 16 hours of caring a week, but don’t qualify for Carer’s Allowance. It will help to improve young carers’ quality of life, helping them take part in employment, social or leisure opportunities
These are just the first steps in the delivery of our new social security system. On 1 April 2020, the Scottish Government will take full responsibility for the remaining devolved payments – this means both payment and policy – and by the end of 2021 we’ll be delivering new claims for all disability and carers assistance, supporting families with a severely disabled child with their winter fuel bills, delivering an additional payment to carers who look after more than one disabled child, will have made the first payments for Winter Heating Assistance and Cold Spell Heating Assistance.
After the roll out of new claims, we will begin the transfer of over half a million clients from DWP to Social Security Scotland – 10 per cent of our population. With DWP cooperation we expect the majority of people to be transferred by 2023, with all cases fully transferred in 2024.
In addition, we will introduce the Scottish Child Payment by 2022 for all eligible families with children under 16. The Payment will begin for children under six by early 2021, with the payment set at £10 per week. This new benefit will provide support for families on low incomes, reduce child poverty and mitigate some of the damaging impact of UK Government austerity and welfare cuts.