Devolved Social Security assistance: up-rating for inflation in 2024-2025

A report on the impact of inflation on devolved social security assistance as required under section 86A of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018.

4. Social Security Payments in 2023-24

4.1 The social security payments Social Security Scotland are responsible for during the financial year 2023-24 are:

4.2 Carer's Allowance Supplement: Carer's Allowance Supplement is a payment that provides extra support to people in receipt of Carer's Allowance in Scotland. It is paid every six months and was initially set at a level that would raise Carer's Allowance to match the rate of Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) for those aged 25 and over. Since 2018-19 the Scottish Government has up-rated Carer's Allowance Supplement annually, in accordance with section 81 of the 2018 Act. This calculates the supplement as the difference between Carer's Allowance and JSA, had it been up-rated in line with inflation. As a result of this up-rating and since the UK Government has not routinely up-rated JSA in line with inflation, Carer's Allowance and Carer's Allowance Supplement combined now exceed the equivalent weekly rate of Jobseeker's Allowance. The rate of Carer's Allowance Supplement in 2023-24 is £270.50 in each bi-annual payment.

4.3 Young Carer Grant (YCG): The Young Carer Grant provides eligible young carers aged 16, 17 and 18 with a payment of £359.65, which can be applied for annually. There is a statutory requirement to up-rate the grant annually and the Scottish Government has been up-rating the grant since 2020-21.

4.4 Funeral Support Payment (FSP): Funeral Support Payment is a one-off payment to help meet the costs of a funeral and replaced Funeral Expenses Payment, delivered by DWP, in September 2019. In April 2020 the flat rate payment toward funeral costs was increased from £700 to £1000. As a result of up-rating in April 2023 the flat rate is currently £1,178.75. To date in 2023-24, Funeral Support Payment has provided on average £1,949 towards the total costs of a funeral. The value of Funeral Support Payments paid out in the first six months of the 2023-24 financial year was £7 million. There is a statutory requirement to up-rate Funeral Support Payment annually and the Scottish Government has been up-rating the payment since 2020-21.

4.5 Best Start Grant (BSG): The Scottish Government replaced the DWP's Sure Start Maternity Grant with the Best Start Grant in Scotland. Best Start Grant provides support during three key transition points in a child's early years. The Pregnancy and Baby Payment provides £707.25 for a first child and £353.65 for second and subsequent children (with some exceptions for the higher payment to be made in certain circumstances for subsequent children). The Early Learning Payment provides £294.70 per child to support child development, and School Age Payment provides £294.70 per child to help with the costs of preparing for school. The UK Government makes no equivalent provision to either the Early Learning or School Age Payments. There is no statutory requirement to up-rate Best Start Grant.

4.6 Best Start Foods (BSF): Best Start Foods is a payment available to low-income pregnant women, their partners and children aged up to three years old. It is paid as a credit onto a payment card that can be used to buy healthy foods such as milk, fruit and vegetables. It replaced the UK-wide Healthy Start vouchers in Scotland and was increased in August 2021 from £4.25 to £4.50 per week for each eligible child in the family or £9 per week for a child under 1 year old. The rates were increased in April 2023 to £4.95 per week for each child 1 year or older, and £9.90 per week for every child under 1 year old. Legislation is planned in February 2024 to remove the income thresholds and it is predicted that an additional 20,000 people will then be eligible to receive this payment. The legislation will also seek to confirm that the higher rate of Best Start Foods is double the basic rate. Best Start Foods is not delivered under the 2018 Act so there is no statutory requirement to up-rate or to provide inflation-adjusted figures in this report, but they are included for completeness.

4.7 Job Start Payment (JSP): Job Start Payment provides a one-off payment to eligible young people to help them with costs they may incur when starting a new job. It is available to young people who reside in Scotland aged 16 to 24 and aged up to 25 for care leavers. The payment is £294.70. A higher award of £471.50 is made to those who have responsibility for a child. Job Start Payment is not delivered under the 2018 Act and so there is no statutory requirement to up-rate or to provide inflation-adjusted figures on this payment in the report but these have been included for completeness.

4.8 Child Winter Heating Payment (CWHP): Child Winter Heating Payment provides an annual payment to children and young people with disabilities in receipt of the highest rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance, Child Disability Payment or the enhanced rate of the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment or Adult Disability Payment, to support households with the additional costs associated with winter fuel bills. In 2021 the payment was £200. It was up-rated to £202 in 2021-22, and again to £214.10 in 2022-23. It is currently £235.70 in 2023-24. There is no statutory requirement to up-rate Child Winter Heating Payment.

4.9 Scottish Child Payment (SCP): Scottish Child Payment is paid as a top up of certain qualifying reserved benefits (notably Universal Credit) using powers available under the 2018 Act. It is intended to help towards the costs of supporting a family and forms part of the wider Scottish Government strategy to combat child poverty. It is paid every four weeks in arrears to clients. It was initially set at a rate of £10.00 per week per child under 6 with no limit to the number of eligible children. The Scottish Government increased the rate of this payment in April 2022 to £20.00 and in November 2022 Scottish Child Payment was made available to all children under 16 with the payment increased to £25.00, which is the current weekly rate. There is a statutory requirement to up-rate Scottish Child Payment under the 2018 Act.

4.10 Child Disability Payment (CDP): Child Disability Payment provides support for the extra costs that a child or young person with disabilities may have. It was the first application-based disability benefit to be introduced by the Scottish Government. This payment replaces Disability Living Allowance for children (DLAC) in Scotland and is available to children and young people from the age of 3 months to 18 years old, who have care and/or mobility needs as a result of a disability. CDP consists of a care and a mobility component, and an eligible child may qualify for either of these or both, depending on the nature of their disability. The care component has three different payment rates: lowest (£26.90), middle (£68.10) and highest (£101.75). The mobility component comprises two rates: lower (£26.90 if the child is 5 or over) and higher (£71.00 for children aged 3 or over). Both care and mobility components are paid four-weekly in arrears, except for terminally ill children, whom Social Security Scotland pay weekly. There is a statutory requirement to up-rate Child Disability Payment.

4.11 Adult Disability Payment (ADP): Adult Disability Payment provides financial assistance to help meet the additional costs of living with a disability or health condition. It is the most complex form of assistance delivered by Social Security Scotland. This payment replaces Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in Scotland for individuals aged between 16 and state pension age (subject to some exceptions) who are making an application for disability assistance. Adult Disability Payment consists of two components, the daily living component and the mobility component. The first provides two levels of assistance for individuals who face increased barriers to carrying out daily living activities as a result of physical or mental health condition(s) and/or disability with the standard rate (£68.10) and the enhanced rate (£101.75). The mobility component provides two levels of assistance for individuals who face increased barriers to carrying out mobility activities as a result of physical or mental health condition(s) and/or disability: the standard rate (£26.90) and the enhanced rate (£71.00).

4.12 A transitional rate for Adult Disability Payment was introduced for adults in Scotland who currently receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and were under 65 when PIP was introduced on 8 April 2013. Adult Disability Payment does not have an equivalent of the lowest rate of the care component in DLA so in this situation, people are transferred to a special 'transitional rate' of the daily living component paid at the lowest rate of the care component, currently £26.90. This transitional rate will be paid until the case is reviewed against the eligibility rules for Adult Disability Payment. There is a statutory requirement to up-rate Adult Disability Payment including this transitional rate.

4.13 Short-term assistance: At this time, this assistance is available for only Adult Disability Payment and Child Disability Payment. It is available where Social Security Scotland has made a decision to reduce or stop an ongoing award and that decision is subject to a request for a re-determination or an appeal. The intention is to ensure that an individual is not discouraged from challenging a decision or from accessing administrative justice by having to manage, for a period of time, with a reduced income. The value of the short-term assistance would always reflect any up-rating during the period that it is in payment, ensuring that while a re-determination or appeal remains live, the client is not disadvantaged compared to an individual who remains entitled to the principal form of assistance.

4.14 Winter Heating Payment (WHP): Winter Heating Payment is paid as an annual payment for households in receipt of certain low-income benefits who may have extra heating needs over winter, such as those living with a disability, or have responsibility for a child under 5. This payment was first made in February 2023 at a rate of £50 with the current rate for 2023-24 set at £55.05. There is no statutory requirement to up-rate Winter Heating Payment.

4.15 Carer Support Payment (CSP): Carer Support Payment was first introduced in November 2023 in specific parts of Scotland and will be available across Scotland by Autumn 2024. This payment is designed to provide financial assistance to those people supplying regular and substantial care to someone in receipt of a qualifying disability benefit. To be eligible to receive this payment, earnings must be a specific amount or less a week after tax, National Insurance and expenses. The earnings limit for 2023-24 is £139.00.

4.16 This payment will replace Carer's Allowance for people in Scotland and for those people who already receive this benefit, there will be no requirement to apply for Carer Support Payment, as their benefits will be transferred over. This transfer is planned to happen between February 2024 and Spring 2025. The current rate of this payment for 2023-24 is £76.75. As with other carer related benefits, there is a statutory duty to up-rate Carer Support Payment. There is no statutory duty to up-rate the earnings limits.



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