Publication - Research and analysis

Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 - benefit take-up strategy - October 2021: measuring take-up of low-income benefits

In this supplementary paper to our second benefit take-up strategy we set out our approach to the measurement of low income benefits.

Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 - benefit take-up strategy - October 2021: measuring take-up of low-income benefits
7. Scottish Child Payment

7. Scottish Child Payment

Background

Scottish Child Payment helps with the cost of raising young children. It is a weekly payment of £10 per child under the age of six in low-income families[13].

Approach to Estimating Take-Up

To calculate take-up of Scottish Child Payment, we need to express the number of benefit recipients as a percentage of the total number of people who are eligible for Scottish Child Payment.

For the number of benefit recipients, we use data published by Social Security Scotland on the estimated number of children in receipt of Scottish Child Payment, as of 30 June 2021. We use this figure because it provides the most up-to-date picture of Scottish Child Payment caseload and, in turn, take-up. To calculate this figure, the total value of payments made in the 28 day period to 30 June 2021 has been divided by £40 – i.e. the value of Scottish Child Payment paid over a four week period for one child. A 28-day period was chosen because payments are made to clients once every four weeks from the day they receive their first Scottish Child Payment. This choice ensures that the total value of payments does not include more than one payment being made to any given client.

We need to estimate the total number of people who are eligible for Scottish Child Payment. This is the number of children under the age of six whose parents or carers receive a qualifying benefit. We use UKMOD to estimate the percentage of children under the age of six who are eligible for Scottish Child Payment (i.e. their parents or carers are predicted to be in receipt of a qualifying benefit) in 2021-22. This is our eligibility rate. As shown in Figure 13, our estimate of the size of the total eligible population is the product of our eligibility rate and the National Records of Scotland (NRS) (2018-based) population projection for the total number of children under the age of six in mid-2021.

Figure 13. Methodology to calculate take-up of Scottish Child Payment

  • Take Social Security Scotland data on the number of children receiving Scottish Child Payment over the 28 day period to 30 June 2021, this gives the number of benefit recipients;
  • Take NRS population projection data on the number of children aged under 6 in mid-2021;
  • Use UKMOD to estimate eligibility rate, with an adjustment to improve alignment with outturn benefit caseload data;
  • Apply eligibility rate to the number of children under 6, this gives the estimated total eligible population;
  • Take-up is calculated by dividing the number of benefit recipients by the estimated total eligible population.

Estimate of Take-Up

As of June 2021, we estimate that the take-up rate of Scottish Child Payment was 77%. We caution that our initial take-up rate of Scottish Child Payment is only an estimate and should not be interpreted as a statistic. There is a considerable degree of uncertainty attached to the calculations, therefore the ‘true’ take-up rate may be higher or lower than our estimate.

Caveats and Limitations

In addition to the limitations set out in Boxes A and B, there are some key caveats attached to this take-up estimate.

The figure for the number of children in receipt of Scottish Child Payment, as of 30 June 2021, is an estimate, and there are a few limitations with the methodology used to calculate it.

First, a true point-in-time measure of the number of children in receipt of Scottish Child Payment on 30 June 2021 may differ to the figure we have used. For example, it is possible that some of the children paid in the 28 days to 30 June 2021 are no longer eligible on 30 June 2021. Equally, it is possible that some children may have recently been approved for Scottish Child Payment but not yet received their first payment by 30 June 2021.

Second, by dividing the total value of payments by £40 it is assumed that all children being paid are eligible for the entire cover period (28 days) of their latest payment, however, it is possible that a child was due to turn six within the payment cover period and was therefore paid less than the full £40.

For these reasons, the estimate of the number of children in receipt of Scottish Child Payment on 30 June 2021 has been rounded to the nearest thousand children.


Contact

Email: ruari.sutherland@gov.scot