Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018: progress report 2021 to 2022

Report published under Sections 20 and 87 of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 to provide an annual update on the delivery of the Scottish social security system.

6. Right to Appeal

Section 87 of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 requires Scottish Ministers to report on the number of people who obtained the right to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal under section 46 of the same Act, and the number who exercised this right.

A person can ask Social Security Scotland to reconsider their decision if their application is denied, or if they think the amount they are going to be paid is wrong. A person has the right to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal against a re-determination of their entitlement to assistance. There may be cases where the re-determination is not completed by Social Security Scotland within the timescales set out in regulations. In these cases, a person has the right to appeal directly to the First-tier Tribunal without waiting for the re-determination to be made.

Job Start Payment and Best Start Foods do not have a re-determination process. Instead, there is an internal review process, which means that applicants can request that their decision be looked at again.

In total, 1,445 re-determinations were received between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022 across all benefits. The table below shows the number of valid re-determination requests received in this time period.

Benefit 2021/2022
Child Disability Payment 150
Child Winter Heating Allowance 15
Scottish Child Payment 450
Best Start Grant 550
Young Carer Grant 75
Funeral Support Payment 200
Total 1,445

Figures presented for re-determinations received exclude any invalid requests.

Figures are rounded and may not sum.

In 2021-22, 20 appeals were received for Scottish Child Payment, 15 appeals were received for Best Start Grant and 10 appeals were received for Funeral Support Payment. Further to this, a small number of appeals (fewer than five) were received for each of Young Carer Grant and Child Disability Payment. These numbers have not been published to prevent the disclosure of small cohorts.

Section 87 of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 also requires Scottish Ministers to indicate whether it is appropriate to amend the process for determining entitlement. Scottish Ministers did consider it to be appropriate to amend the process for determining entitlement in relation to competing claims for Scottish Child Payment and Best Start Grant in light of a number of appeals to the Social Security Chamber of the First-Tier Tribunal for Scotland. Appeals were submitted by applicants who were unable to get Scottish Child Payment because payment was already in place for the child to another client. Although the Tribunal ruled that these cases were being determined in accordance with the relevant regulations, these appeals revealed that the regulations were not always delivering the original policy intent to pay the individual who is looking after the child, where there was a competing claim from another individual. Scottish Ministers identified the same was true in respect of Best Start Grant. Given the ongoing nature of the issue, meaning that there would likely to continue to be new competing claims submitted that couldn't be resolved satisfactorily, Ministers decided it was appropriate to amend the regulations and to do so as quickly as possible. Therefore, we brought forward new regulations, the Best Start Grants and Scottish Child Payment (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2021, which came into force in December 2021 and introduced a discretionary power to allow Scottish Ministers, in certain situations, to have regard to the circumstances of the child in determining who should be awarded Scottish Child Payment and Best Start Grant.

Appeals data is kept under review.



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