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 the principles of dignity, fairness and respect.


We are:

  • designing and operating a social security system with a strong local presence via Social Security Scotland
  • working with people with experience of receiving benefits, to build a social security system that works for them
  • improving benefits for carers by increasing Carer’s Allowance through our Carer’s Allowance Supplement, delivering our Young Carer Grant, introducing an additional payment for carers of more than one disabled person and delivering our improved Carer Support Payment from Spring 2024
  • delivering Child Disability Payment, which supports disabled children and young people and their families, to mitigate the increased cost they incur as a result of having a disability or long term health condition
  • delivering Adult Disability Payment, which supports disabled adults aged between 16 and State Pension age, to mitigate the increased cost they incur as a result of having a disability or long term health condition
  • campaigning to maximise benefit take-up
  • delivering the Best Start Grant to increase support for low-income families with young children
  • delivering Best Start Foods, supporting pregnant women and families with children under the age of three, who receive certain benefits under a certain amount, to purchase healthy foods
  • delivering Scottish Child Payment to eligible low income families with children under 16 years of age
  • delivering the Funeral Support Payment 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
  • advising on and helping to fund support with housing costs
  • supporting young people make the transition into work through the Job Start Payment
  • allocating budget to local authorities to provide grants under the Scottish Welfare Fund
  • working to establish a guidance for definition of terminal illness for the purpose of disability assistance 
  • working with the Department for Work and Pensions in how Universal Credit is paid

Guidance and resources have been published by Social Security Scotland to help our partners inform their staff, clients and stakeholders about the new social security benefits.


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.

The Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 received royal assent in June 2018.

Stakeholder groups

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.



Telephone: 0300 244 4000

Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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