Devolved social security benefits: stakeholder engagement toolkit

Overview of the delivery of devolved benefits, delivery timetable, factsheets and information on spreading the word about devolved benefits.

Overview: Delivery of Devolved Benefits

What has happened so far?

The Social Security (Scotland) Act received Royal Assent in June 2018. Since then, the Scottish Government has:

  • Established Social Security Experience Panels - 2,400 people with lived experience of the social security system who provide advice and guidance on the design and delivery of the new social security benefits.
  • Established Social Security Scotland with its Head Office in Dundee, and an office in Glasgow, and have started recruitment for its local presence across the country.
  • Introduced a new Carer's Allowance Supplement, supporting more than 91,000 carers across Scotland with an additional £442 a year in people's pockets in 2018/19, to be up-rated annually in line with inflation, rising up to £452.40 in 2019/20. This means that in 2019/20 annual investment in carers will rise to around £37 million.
  • Launched the Best Start Pregnancy and Baby Payment, which supports low income families at key stages in the life of a child. Successful applicants receive payments of £600 for their first child, £300 for subsequent children and an additional £300 for multiple births.
  • Launched the Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment, a £250 payment that helps low income families around the time a child would normally start nursery.
  • Launched the Best Start Grant School Age Payment, a £250 payment that helps low income families around the time a child starts school.
  • Launched Best Start Foods on 12 August 2019. Paper vouchers have been replaced by a Payment Card giving eligible low income families more choice and flexibility to buy healthy food.
  • In the first ten months, over 61,000 families received £17.8 million in Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods payments.
  • Launched the Social Security Charter - co-produced by those who rely on social security, setting standards for service that will form part of everything the Scottish Government does.
  • Launched the Funeral Support Payment on 16 September 2019, replacing DWP Funeral Payment in Scotland. It provides a one-off payment to support people on low income benefits with a contribution towards funeral costs
  • Launched the Young Carer Grant on 21 October 2019. The grant is a £300 annual payment for carers aged 16-18 caring for someone in receipt of specified disability benefits for 16 or more hours each week on average, who are not currently in receipt of Carers Allowance.
  • Published the first Benefit Take-up Strategy on 21 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 introduced 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 included a Scottish Benefit Take-up Fund, an Income Maximisation Fund, establishing a Take-up Stakeholder Reference Group and developing a Take-up Stakeholder Toolkit.

What's next?

The Scottish Government has committed to introducing a Job Start Payment for young people aged 16-24 (inclusive), who have been out of paid employment for six months or more.

The Job Start Payment will be launched in Spring 2020 and comprise a one-off cash payment of either £250 or £400, the higher amount being payable to young people who have children.

The Job Start Payment will provide additional support to care leavers, as long as they are on a qualifying benefit, without having to meet the requirement to have been out of paid work for 6 months. They will also be eligible for a year longer (until their 26th birthday).

On 1 April 2020, the Scottish Government will take full responsibility - both payment and policy - for the remaining devolved benefits.

This means that both the UK and Scottish Governments will, for the first time, share clients and those eligible for benefits on the grounds of disability and ill health will get payments from both the 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.

Case transfer of clients from the DWP to Social Security Scotland will start in 2020 after Disability Assistance for Children and Young People is delivered.

The Scottish Government delivery plans are based on three principles:

  • Protecting people and their entitlements;
  • Acting quickly to reform aspects of the current system which research shows cause most stress; and
  • Ensuring that it puts in place a dignified, respectful system, from application to appeal, that works for the people of Scotland.

The roll out of devolved benefits will start with the three forms of Disability Assistance, then move to Carer's Assistance and the other devolved benefits.

To protect eligible people's rights and ensure that they are involved in the decisions affecting them. The Scottish Government will ensure that advocacy support is provided to disabled people who require it. This will mean that an independent advocacy worker can help someone make a claim from Social Security Scotland. There are also provisions in the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 for Ministers to set advocacy service standards.

These standards are designed to help ensure high quality, consistent services across Scotland. Our consultation recently closed and the responses are being reviewed. Advocacy is an important additional assistance we can give that's not currently available in the UK system, and The Scottish Government are working to ensure that this support is in place by summer 2020. This is a key part of delivering our system based on dignity, fairness and respect.

The Scottish Government has announced it will introduce a new benefit for low income families to reduce levels of child poverty in Scotland. Early payments of Scottish Child Payment will be made to eligible families with children under the age of 6 by Christmas 2020 and for children aged under 16 by the end of 2022. It will be administered by Social Security Scotland.

By early 2022, the Scottish Government will be delivering new claims for Disability and Carer's Assistance, and supporting families with their winter fuel bills.

The Scottish Government will transfer more than half a million client cases from the DWP to Social Security Scotland (around 10% of the total population). People have been transferred from one benefit to another before, but not transferred from one government agency to another.

The Scottish Government is clear that this must be done in a way which causes minimal stress, while safeguarding the payments people are currently getting.

Therefore at the point when the case transfer begins:

  • Payments will be protected;
  • The Scottish Government will not require anyone to make a new claim - as is the case with migration to Universal Credit; and
  • No-one will be reassessed - as is the case for the majority moved from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment.

With the DWP's co-operation, the Scottish Government expects the majority of people to be transferred by 2024, and all cases fully transferred in 2025.



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