Benefit take up

Cost of living crisis: find out what help is available

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.

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 second Benefit Take-up Strategy (October 2021) under the provision of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018. At the heart of this strategy is the recognition that benefit take-up is part of a bigger picture, supporting a holistic approach to maximising incomes, which itself underpins the key commitments of tackling poverty, leading recovery from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and supporting people to navigate the cost of living crisis.

As well as highlighting progress since the 2019 strategy, this second strategy is also built around a number of take-up initiatives. 

These include:

  • investing £10 million over the current Parliament to increase access to advice in accessible settings to maximise incomes and tackle poverty. This includes expanding Welfare Advice and Health Partnerships through the funding of £3.52 million over three years from 2021 to place welfare rights advisors in up to 180 GP surgeries in Scotland’s most deprived areas, as well as remote, rural, and island communities
  • rollout of Social Security Scotland’s local delivery network – up to 400 staff in 32 local authorities
  • working with stakeholders to co-design interactive and helpful resources to support the mainstreaming of existing good practices around benefit take-up
  • a multi-channel financial wellbeing marketing campaign, covering free debt advice, affordable credit, and beginning with a focus on benefit take-up

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.

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