Financial redress for survivors of historical child abuse in care: review of the Advance Payment Scheme

This review of the Advance Payment Scheme considered a range of issues over the first five months of the scheme’s operation.

4. Review of the application form and guidance

4.1 The application form and guidance have been reviewed based on the experience of the scheme Advisers and feedback from applicants to date. Updated versions of both have been uploaded to the Scottish Government's website. Any applications received using the earlier version will still be processed as the changes are minor rather than substantive.

4.2 An indication of the type of changes which have been made to the application form is provided below.

  • More detail on the personal details section (e.g. inclusion of title) to allow for greater personalisation of the letter to the applicant informing them of the decision.
  • Clarification of the documents required to show any changes of name since time in care and making it clearer that a linking document is required for each change.
  • Clarification of banking detail requirements as documents provided in this section often did not include all the necessary information.
  • New guidance for applicants from overseas in relation to bank requirements and certification of ID documents, including reimbursement of any additional fees incurred.
  • In addition, a checklist for applicants is now available to help them check they have enclosed all the required documentation with their application and to help avoid delays.

4.3 An overview of the main changes to the Frequently Asked Questions guidance is provided below.

  • There is a new section on what to expect when a survivor calls the scheme Advisers. This encourages applicants to make early contact with the Advisers to find out more information and to ask any questions they may have. Feedback suggests that an initial discussion has been very helpful for many applicants.
  • The position in relation to boarding schools eligibility has now been clarified. For the purpose of the Advance Payment Scheme, in relation to boarding schools and any other type of residential school, the general principle is that residential pupils will not be eligible if their parents chose that place for their children's education. Some exceptions may apply, for example if a local authority paid for residential places at a fee paying boarding or residential school. If applicants are unclear whether they may be eligible, given their own particular circumstances, they are encouraged to contact the Advance Payments Team. It should be noted that the eligibility criteria for the statutory redress scheme will be informed by the findings from the public consultation and will be subject to scrutiny by the Scottish Parliament as part of the legislative process.
  • Based on further discussions with DWP, HMRC and others we have provided further clarification on how a payment affects benefits, means tested social care, legal aid and tax. These are set out below.
    • Benefits: The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have advised that, for benefits purposes, Advance Payments will be treated in the same way as payments for a personal injury. This means the money will not be taken into account in assessing entitlement to means-tested benefits. However, applicants must let DWP know that they have received an Advance Payment so that they know not to take it into account. For many benefits this exemption lasts for one year only.
    • Tax: An Advance Payment will not be taken into account by Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for the purpose of calculating income tax or capital gains tax, and there is no need to declare the receipt of an Advance Payment in a Self-Assessment tax return. However, if the Advance Payment is invested, resulting in additional income such as interest or dividends, then normal income tax rules will apply to that income. If a recipient of an Advance Payment dies after they have received the payment, the payment will be included in their estate for the purpose of inheritance tax. However, with the various inheritance tax reliefs and thresholds available, the majority of estates are unlikely to be subject to inheritance tax.
    • Social care: The Scottish Government has amended legislation to ensure that from 28 June 2019, a payment under the Advance Payment Scheme to a resident within a care home will be disregarded in the financial assessment of the resident's resources.
    • Legal Aid: The Advance Payment will be disregarded by the Scottish Legal Aid Board in any calculations when assessing financial eligibility for Legal Aid. This means that an Advance Payment would have no impact on the financial test for Legal Aid applications. Any application for Legal Aid will still be subject to the statutory tests around merit and reasonableness.
  • We have provided clarification of the position we have agreed with Police Scotland if someone names an abuser in the application form, and the position has been reflected in the revised Privacy Notice.
    • Where an applicant provides information in their application form regarding a perpetrator of abuse, we will pass this information and the applicant's details to Police Scotland in order that an assessment can be made of any current risk posed by the perpetrator. Where an applicant provides information which indicates that a child or vulnerable person may be at significant risk of harm, we will pass this information and the applicant's details to Police Scotland in order that an assessment can be made of any current risk to that child or vulnerable person.
    • Where an applicant wishes to make a new report of abuse to Police Scotland, we will provide them with information on the methods by which they can make a report directly to Police Scotland.



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