Benefit take up

A key principle enshrined in the Social Security Act is that social security is an investment in the people of Scotland. Scottish benefits will support over half a million people and we want all who are eligible to take-up the financial support available to them.

Throughout this parliamentary term, we are delivering a programme of activity intended to raise awareness of Scottish benefits, and to ensure that people are receiving what they're entitled to.

We are working with local authorities, NHS boards, third sector organisations and a range of advice and support services to:

  • better understand the barriers preventing people from claiming benefits
  • ensure we take every reasonable step to encourage people to receive their full entitlement

Benefit take-up strategy

We published the first Benefit Take-up Strategy (October 2019) under the provision of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018. The strategy sets out Scottish Ministers’ work supporting benefit take-up to date. It also introduces a series of new activities and initiatives aimed at increasing awareness of and access to Scottish benefits and supporting those who are eligible to apply. These include:

  • funding of £600,000 to 26 third sector organisation across 2 funds to prepare staff  to support hard to reach groups who will be applying for Scottish benefits to ensure people are aware of the financial support available to them. Since the successful projects were announced on 27th February, officials have worked with the organisations to ensure projects remain viable in the face of the pandemic.
  • a stakeholder take-up reference group to provide advice and support in the implementation of this strategy, as well as feeding into the development of the next strategy
  • developing a Take-up Stakeholder Toolkit to help existing services to support their clients with Scottish benefits, and – in particular – with issues related to non-take- up
  • mainstreaming best practice guidance to support third sector organisations and Local Authorities to borrow from the examples practice in promoting/supporting benefit take-up within and across those sectors

Benefit Take-up and Income Maximisation Funds

The Benefit Take-Up Strategy introduced 2 funds open to applications from voluntary organisations:

  • a new £500,000 Benefit Take-up Fund to assist organisations who are preparing their services and staff to support people who will be applying for Scottish benefits.
  • a new £100,000 Income Maximisation Fund to assist organisations who support people to increase their household incomes, with an emphasis on ensuring people are aware of the financial support available to them.

Through the Benefit Take-Up and Income Maximisation Funds a total of 26 bodies from across the country will receive allocations to support hard to reach groups, single parents and people with particular barriers such as mental or physical disabilities to apply for Scottish social security benefits.

This funding of £600,000 will be vital to support those who face barriers to access the financial support they are entitled to and increase their incomes. 

Benefit take up campaign resources

We have produced the following resources during previous benefit-take up campaigns:

Policy position papers

We have published a series of social security policy papers setting out our position on the development of the devolved benefits in Scotland.