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.

See which benefits were devolved to the Scottish Government, and which remain reserved to the UK Government: Responsibility for benefits: overview.


We are:


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.

From 29 July to 30 October 2016, we ran a consultation on social security in Scotland to gather views on developing a Social Security Bill. It received 521 responses.

In February 2017 we published an independent analysis of responses to the social security consultation, as well as our response to the social security consultation.

The Social Security (Scotland) Bill was published on 21 June 2017. View an easy read guide to the Social Security (Scotland) Bill.

Stakeholder groups

List of stakeholder groups set up to advise Ministers on the social security system. 

Bills and legislation

The Social Security (Scotland) Bill establishes 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.

Stage 1 Report on the Social Security (Scotland) Bill: Scottish Government Response

Policy position papers



Telephone: 0300 244 4000

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