Frequently Asked Questions
What benefits have the Scottish Government delivered so far?
- On 4 October 2017, the Scottish Government introduced the Universal Credit Scottish Choices giving people in Scotland a choice of being paid Universal Credit twice a month rather than monthly, and having their Universal Credit housing element being paid directly to their landlords. By the end of August 2018, 66,700 people had been offered one or both Scottish choices since October 2017, with around 32,000 – almost 50% - taking up the offer.
- In 2018 the Scottish Government opened Social Security Scotland to deliver devolved benefits. It began by delivering the Carer's Allowance Supplement which brings Carers Allowance to the same level as Jobseeker's Allowance – an increase of 13% and investment of £33 million in 2018/19 and £37 million in 2019/20.
- The Scottish Government then introduced the new Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment for low income parents and carers, offering £600 on the birth of their first child, £300 for any subsequent children and an additional £300 for a multiple birth.
What benefits are you delivering in 2019?
- Best Start Grant early learning payment is now available – a new £250 payment that will be made to low income families around the time a child can start nursery.
- Best Start Grant school age payment, starting on 3 June – a new £250 payment that will be made to low income families around the time a child can start school.
- Funeral Expense Assistance, starting in the summer – replacing the UK Government's Funeral Expenses Payment and providing eligible low income families with a contribution towards the cost of a funeral with improvements that widen eligibility by around 40%.
- Young Carer Grant, starting in autumn 2019 – the grant will be awarded to young carers aged 16 to 18 who do at least 16 hours of caring a week, but don't qualify for Carer's Allowance.
- The Scottish Government is also currently consulting on its new Job Grant, to provide support for young people moving back into employment (consultation ended on 9 April 2019).
What benefits will be delivered from 2020 onwards?
- From April 2020 the Scottish Government take full responsibility for the remaining devolved benefits, which means benefits will start to be fully funded by the Scottish Government.
- This means that both the UK and Scottish Governments will, for the first time, share clients and people will get payments from DWP and Social Security Scotland. Those payments need to interact with one another, so both agencies systems need to work together seamlessly, to ensure people get the right money at the right time.
- Following the benefit transfer in April 2020, the Scottish Government will then start to roll out new claims for devolved benefits starting with disability benefits, then move to carers assistance and other devolved benefits.
- Following that, the case transfer of clients from the DWP to Social Security Scotland will take place.
- By the end of 2021 the Scottish Government be delivering new claims for all Disability and Carer's Assistance, and supporting families with their winter fuel bills.
Factsheets on each of the benefits is available at pages 11 to 22 andthe timetable for the delivery of new claims for devolved assistance is on page 6.
How will cases be transferred from the UK Government to Social Security Scotland?
- Over half a million cases will be transferred from the DWP to Social Security Scotland. This equates to approximately 10% of the population of Scotland.
- The Scottish Government will do this in a way which causes minimal stress, and keep people updated through the transfer. At the point of transfer the Scottish Government will not require anyone to make a new claim; payments will be protected; and people will not be reassessed.
- The Scottish Government will start this transfer next year (2020). If the DWP is able to match the Scottish Government's pace, the majority of cases will be transferred by 2023, and completed by 2024.
How did the Scottish Government choose what to deliver first?
- The Scottish Government asked their Experience Panels - people with lived experience of the current benefits system – what they thought.
- The Scottish Government is aiming to strike a balance between moving at pace and ensuring that it takes over the devolved benefits safely, with minimal disruption to people who rely on them.
Who decides policy on these benefits?
- As of 1 April 2020 the Scottish Government will have policy and payment responsibility for all the remaining devolved benefits.
- From next year (2020) when the Scottish Government takes on responsibility for these benefits, the Scottish Government will progressively take over administering them, while taking the time to ensure that it safeguards people's regular payments.
- The Scottish Government will work with the DWP to develop agency agreements to partially administer the devolving benefits until Social Security Scotland is delivering them in full. Agency agreements are necessary to ensure there are no gaps in service for people who rely on these benefits as they are transferred.
What will happen to a person's current claim with the DWP?
- The Scottish Government will start transferring people's existing claims from next year (2020). If a person has an existing award with DWP for one of the devolved benefits then they don't need to do anything.
- They will not need to make a new claim in order to move onto the Scottish benefits, and he/she won't be reassessed at the point when the case transfers.
- The Scottish Government will work with the DWP to arrange for the transfer to happen automatically, and the Scottish Government will keep people informed of what will happen and when – before and during the process.
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