The Scotland Act 2016 gave us new powers relating to social security, including responsibility over certain benefits.
We are using these powers to create a Scottish social security system based on dignity, fairness and respect.
We have published a series of policy papers setting out our position on the development of the devolved benefits in Scotland.
Read the Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People's update on devolved benefits during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- designing a social security system with a strong local presence via the Social Security Scotland agency
- engaging with people with experience of receiving benefits, to build a social security system that works for them
- improving benefits for carers by increasing the Carer’s Allowance and introducing a Young Carer Grant and a payment for carers of more than one disabled child
- improving benefits for disabled people and people with ill health, and confirming that no assessments will be carried out by the private sector
- campaigning to maximise benefit take-up
- delivering the Best Start Grant to increase support for low-income families with young children
- delivering the Funeral Expense Assistance to provide critical financial support to people at a difficult time
- providing help with heating costs and extending the Winter Fuel Payment to families with severely disabled children
- supporting young people make the transition into work through the Job Start Payment
- introducing a Scottish Child Payment for low income families, for children under six we hope to start taking applications by the end of 2020 with payments being made from 2021
- allocating budget to local authorities to provide grants under the Scottish Welfare Fund
- advising on and helping to fund support with housing costs
- working to establish a guidance for definition of terminal illness for the purpose of disability assistance
- working with the Department for Work and Pensions to introduce flexibilities to the way Universal Credit is paid
We have also:
- developed a communications toolkit to help our partners inform their staff, clients and stakeholders about the new social security benefits
See which benefits have been devolved to the Scottish Government, and which remain reserved to the UK Government: responsibility for benefits: overview.
All benefits paid in Scotland were managed by the UK Government until April 2013, when Council Tax Reduction and the Scottish Welfare Fund were devolved.
Following the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, the Smith Commission recommended that the Scottish Parliament be given autonomy to determine the structure and value of a range of powers over disability, as well as the power to make administrative changes to Universal Credit and to vary the housing cost element. It also recommended that Scottish Parliament be given powers to create new benefits in areas of devolved responsibility, and top-up reserved ones.
These recommendations were made law by the Scotland Act 2016, whose bill received royal assent in March 2016. In that same month we published our vision for social security in Scotland.
We set up the Joint Ministerial Working Group on Welfare in February 2015 to provide a forum for discussion and to ensure that the welfare and employment-related aspects of the Act are implemented.
The Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 received royal assent in June 2018.
List of stakeholder groups set up to advise Ministers on the social security system.
Bills and legislation
The Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 established a framework for the new system and devolves 11 existing social security benefits to Scotland.
The Scotland Act (2016) transferred new social security powers to the Scottish Parliament allowing Scottish Ministers to develop new policies on benefits that will help tackle inequality and poverty in Scotland.
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