Scottish Child Payment

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Our Tackling Child Poverty delivery plan set out a commitment to 'work towards introducing an income supplement within the lifetime of the delivery plan'. The Plan runs from 2018 to 2022.

On 15 February 2021 we introduced the Scottish Child Payment for low-income families with children under six.

Scottish Child Payment is administered by Social Security Scotland through an application-based process, and is paid on a four-weekly basis.

Applications can now be submitted through my.gov.scot

If their claim is successful people will have their payment calculated from the date that they apply.

Low-income families with a child under six who are eligible and apply will receive £80 per child, every four weeks - equivalent to £1,040 per year. There are no limits on the number of eligible children  in a household who can be supported by Scottish Child Payment.

A timetable of under 2 years  from announcement to delivery of a benefit is unprecedented in the UK and is a testimony to the priority that the Scottish Government has put on tackling child poverty.

In March 2022 we published our second Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan, outlining that we remain committed to rolling out the payment to families with children under 16, planned by the end of this year, when we will further increase the rate of payment to £25 per week.

Summary

  • payment level: £20* per week, per eligible child
  • eligibility: households with children under 6 and in receipt of a qualifying benefit (Universal Credit, Legacy Benefits and/or Pension Credit) a full list is available.
  • timescales: early delivery to eligible families with children under 6 with first payments made in February 2021.
  • full rollout to eligible families with children under 16 by the end of this year.

*This will increase to £25 when we rollout to older children by the end of 2022.

Background

When the Scottish Child Payment was first announced on 26 June 2019, we published:

  • factsheet which sets out key details of this new benefit
  • policy position paper that sets out the process of development of the Scottish Child Payment including an overview of the initial policy development and expected impacts
  • an analysis of options for the Income Supplement - a detailed analytical paper that shows the consideration given to a wider set of policy options

We then published further updated position papers in October 2019 and January 2020 which set out policy developments undertaken in relation to the Scottish Child Payment alongside continued work on service design and delivery. 

In October 2020 we published an additional position paper on maximising take up of the Scottish Child Payment. This has been superseded by the updated take up strategy for social security, published in October 2021.

Statistics and Forecasts

The Scottish Fiscal Commission published their updated forecasts for the Scottish Child Payment on 9 December 2021, as part of Scotland’s Economic and Fiscal Forecast which accompanies the Scottish Government’s Budget.

Official Statistics for Scottish Child Payment are published quarterly, giving figures for applications and caseload in that period. The most recent statistics were published on 1 April 2022.

Regulations

The continued policy development, service design, and input from the Scottish Commission on Social Security (SCoSS) has supported the development of the Regulations which came into force as Scottish Statutory Instruments on 9 November 2020. This has been followed by subsequent amending regulations for which input has been provided.

The Regulations were accompanied by a suite of Impact Assessments:

In February 2021, Social Security Scotland published the Scottish Child Payment operational guidance which can be found on the Social Security Scotland website.

A copy of the Scottish Government’s response to the initial recommendations from SCoSS was published on 8 September.

The Scottish Child Payment Amendment Regulations 2021

These amendment regulations for Scottish Child Payment came into effect on 15 January 2021.

These changes ensure the regulations allow for processes which meet the policy intent. Firstly they align payment cycles to ensure that a client receives payment for all children named on a claim on the same day. Secondly, they provide that people who have a nil award of a qualifying benefit as a result of sanctions or deductions due to liabilities will be eligible for the Scottish Child Payment

A copy of the Scottish Government’s response to recommendations from SCoSS was published on 26 November.

The Best Start Grants and Scottish Child Payment (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2021

These amendment regulations for Scottish Child Payment came into effect on 23 December 2021. The changes allow a greater degree of discretion in how Social Security Scotland considers competing claims and will help ensure the payment is made to the person with responsibility for the child to whom a claim relates.

A copy of the Scottish Government’s response to recommendations from SCoSS was published.

The Best Start Foods, Best Start Grants and Scottish Child Payment (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2022

These amendment regulations affect the Five Family Payments, which include Scottish Child Payment, Best Start Foods and the three Best Start Grants. They provide for the extension of Scottish Child Payment to children aged 6-15 and make a number of small changes to these benefits.

A draft of the regulations was provided to SCoSS with an accompanying letter and policy note on 1 April 2022.

An updated suite of combined impact assessments for the Five Family Payments will be published alongside the finalised regulations when they are laid later this year.

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