When will the Scottish Government begin delivering benefits being devolved in the Scotland Act 2016?

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 four new benefits in 2019 to help low income families and carers:

  • Best Start Grant nursery age payment – a £250 payment to be made to low income families around the time a child can start nursery
  • Best Start Grant school payment – a £250 payment to be made to low income families around the time a child can start school
  • Funeral Expense Assistance – providing eligible low income families with a contribution towards the cost of a funeral
  • Carer’s Allowance Supplement – a grant to be 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.

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 a new Scottish Child Payment for low-income families with children under six with the first payments made by Christmas 2020. The payment will be set at £10 per week and is expected to lift 30,000 children out of poverty.