Social Security assistance - effects of inflation: report 2020-2021

A report on the impact of inflation on devolved social security assistance as required under section 77 of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018.

5. Social Security Payments in 2020-21

5.1 The social security payments which Social Security Scotland were responsible for during the financial year 2020-21 were:

5.2 Carer's Allowance Supplement: Carer's Allowance Supplement is a payment which 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 which would raise Carer's Allowance to the equivalent of the rate of Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) for those 25 and over. Since 2018-19 the Scottish Government has uprated Carer's Allowance Supplement annually, in accordance with section 81 of the Act. This involves the supplement being calculated using an inflation-adjusted rate of Jobseeker's Allowance, and taking into account any change to the weekly rate of Jobseeker's Allowance paid by the DWP. As a result of uprating, Carer's Allowance and Carer's Allowance Supplement combined now exceed the equivalent weekly rate of Jobseeker's Allowance. In addition, through provisions in the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act, in June 2020 an extra payment of Coronavirus Carer's Allowance Supplement was made to Carer's Allowance recipients, on top of the normal Carer's Allowance Supplement.

5.3 Young Carer Grant: The Young Carer Grant is the first of its kind in the UK and provides eligible young carers aged 16, 17 and 18 with a payment of £305.10, which can be applied for annually. There is a statutory requirement to uprate the grant annually and the Scottish Government has been uprating the grant since 2020-21.

5.4 Funeral Support Payment: 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. Eligibility has been widened by 40% and in April 2020 the higher flat rate payment was increased from £700 to £1000. On average £1,593 is provided towards the costs of a funeral. There is a statutory requirement to uprate Funeral Support Payment annually and the Scottish Government has been uprating the payment since 2020-21.

5.5 Best Start Grant: The Scottish Government has replaced the DWP's Sure Start Maternity Grant with the Best Start Grant in Scotland. Split into 3 payments, the Best Start Grant provides support during key transition points in a child's early years. The Pregnancy and Baby Payment provides £600 for a first child and £300 for second and subsequent children. The Early Learning Payment provides £250 per child to support child development and School Age Payment provides £250 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 uprate Best Start Grant.

5.6 Best Start Foods: Best Start Foods is a new Scottish payment available to low income pregnant women and families who have 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 from £3.10 to £4.25 per week for each eligible person in the family or £8.50 per week for a child under 1 year old. Best Start Foods is not delivered under the Act and so there is no statutory requirement to uprate or to provide the inflation-adjusted figures in the report.

5.7 Job Start Payment: Job Start Payment was launched on 17 August 2020 and provides a one-off payment to eligible young people to help them with costs they may incur when starting a job. It is available to young people who reside in Scotland aged 16 to 24 and to 25 for care leavers. The payment is £250. A higher award of £400 is made to those who have responsibility for a child. Job Start Payment is not delivered under the Act and so there is no statutory requirement to uprate or to provide the inflation-adjusted figures on Job Start Payment in the report.

5.8 Child Winter Heating Assistance: This entirely new form of assistance provides a payment of £200 to disabled children and young people in receipt of the highest rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance, to support households with the additional costs associated with winter fuel bills. Social Security Scotland began paying Child Winter Heating Assistance from 27 November 2020. There is no statutory requirement to uprate Child Winter Heating Assistance.



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