Supporting disabled children, young people and their families: guidance

Guidance to help improve the experiences of disabled children, young people, and their families.

Financial support

In this section:


About Scottish social security payments

The passing of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 (“the 2018 Act”) through the Scottish Parliament in April 2018 marked a historic moment, representing a significant milestone in delivering the new Scottish social security system. The 2018 Act established a framework for this new system, and transposed the eleven existing social security benefits that are devolved onto a Scottish legislative platform, allowing the Scottish Parliament to shape a distinctly Scottish social security system with dignity and respect at its heart.

Examples of benefits which remain reserved to the UK Government

Universal Credit which replaces:

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Employment Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credits
  • Child Tax Credits
  • Housing Benefit

See for more information.

Examples of benefits devolved/being devolved to the Scottish Government

Ill Health and Disability Benefits:

  • Child Disability Payment (replaces Disability Living Allowance)
  • Adult Disability Payment (replaces Personal Independence Payment)
  • Pension Age Disability Payment (replaces Attendance Allowance)
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit

Child Disability Payment

replaces Disability Living Allowance for children and young people living in Scotland. It launched nationally in Scotland on 22 November 2021.

Child Disability Payment provides support for the extra costs your child might have. It is tax-free and made up of 2 components:

  • Care
  • Mobility


  • 3 months old or over may qualify for the care component
  • 3 years old or over may qualify for the mobility component

If your child is terminally ill:

  • They qualify for the care component from birth
  • They will also qualify for the mobility component if they are 3 years old or over

The care component has 3 different payment rates:

  • Lowest
  • Middle
  • Highest

The mobility component has 2 different payment rates:

  • Lower
  • Higher

Your child can also receive other types of support such as Child Winter Heating Assistance, a Bus Pass and a Blue Badge if they have a qualifying Child Disability Payment award.

You can apply for Child Disability Payment on behalf of your child if they are under 16 and live in Scotland. Your child cannot receive Disability Living Allowance for children and Child Disability Payment at the same time. If your child is already receiving Disability Living Allowance for children, you do not need to make a new application to Child Disability Payment. You will be contacted by Social Security Scotland ahead of your child’s award being automatically transferred. There will be no gap in your payments.

You can make an application for Child Disability Payment on behalf of your child online, by phone, post or face to face with support from the Local Delivery team. Further details about the benefit and how to apply can be found at the website.

Adult Disability Payment

Adult Disability Payment replaces Personal Independence Payment for adults living in Scotland. It launched nationally in Scotland on 29 August 2022.

Adult Disability Payment provides disabled people with support for extra costs. It is made up of 2 parts:

  • Daily living
  • Mobility

You may qualify for one or both parts and the amount you receive depends on how your condition affects your ability to do everyday activities and get around. Your income and savings are not taken into account.

The daily living and mobility parts have 2 payment rates:

  • Standard
  • Enhanced

If you are terminally ill you will automatically receive the enhanced daily living award.

If you get Adult Disability Payment you can also get extra support.  This includes a range of related benefits and services to help with the cost of care, housing, transport and travel. The rate of the daily living and mobility parts of your Adult Disability Payment will have an effect on what you can apply for.

You can apply for Adult Disability Payment if you have either a disability or long-term physical or mental health condition or terminal illness. You need to be between 16 and State Pension Age. You cannot get Personal Independence Payment and Adult Disability Payment at the same time. If you already receive Personal Independence Payment or Disability Living Allowance from the Department for Work and Pensions, you do not need to make a new application for Adult Disability Payment. You will be transferred to Social Security Scotland without any interruptions in your award.

You can apply for Adult Disability Payment either online, by post, over the phone or face to face.

If you wish to dispute a decision relating to your benefit entitlement, you may wish to consider the advocacy section section of this site.

Remember: Your Health Visitor, Community Children’s Nurse or Social Worker might be able to provide you with further help and information about benefits and how to apply.

Further advice

Financial support for carers

Carer’s Allowance

Carer’s Allowance is financial support for someone who is caring for another person for at least 35 hours a week and who is in receipt of one of:

  • The care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at the middle or highest rate.
  • The daily living component of Personal Independence Payment at either rate.
  • Attendance allowance at any rate.
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the normal maximum rate with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at the basic (full day) rate with a War Disablement Pension.
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment.
  • Child Disability Payment - the middle or highest care rate.
  • Adult Disability Payment - daily living component at the standard or enhanced rate.

If you share the care of a disabled child with someone else and you each provide at least 35 hours a week care, only one of you can get Carer's Allowance for that child. There are also certain restrictions in how much you can earn and continue to receive support.

For further information please read this factsheet about Carer's Allowance.

Carer Support Payment

Carer Support Payment will replace Carer’s Allowance for carers in Scotland. Roll out of Carer Support Payment will begin by the end of 2023, and will be available nationally by Autumn 2024.

We are working with carers and support organisations to design a benefit that better meets their needs as set out in our Carer Support Payment consultation (previously known as Scottish Carer’s Assistance). This outlines a number of proposals to improve the support provided to carers and to extend eligibility to more carers from introduction of the new benefit. Further information on the plans for Carer Support Payment are available in the Scottish Carer's Assistance consultation - Scottish Government Response.

Carers Allowance Supplement

Improving support for carers was one of our first priorities with our new social security powers and our Carer’s Allowance Supplement, launched in September 2018, increases Carer’s Allowance by over 13%.

Eligible carers receive a payment every six months, and payments are made automatically to carers living in Scotland and getting Carer’s Allowance from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on certain qualifying dates, with no need to apply.

By February 2023 over 920,900  Carer’s Allowance Supplement payments totalling over £255 million had been made to over 148,500 carers since the launch of Carer’s Allowance Supplement in 2018.

Young Carer Grant

Our Young Carer Grant, which launched in autumn 2019, is unique to Scotland. It supports young carers with a payment that they can choose how to spend. It is delivered on an entitlement basis to those young carers who meet the eligibility criteria and are 16, 17, or 18 years old. The aim of the grant is to help improve their quality of life and enable them to take part in opportunities that they may otherwise not engage with because of their caring role, for example, undertaking further education, employment or leisure opportunities.

Short Breaks Fund

The Scottish Government also funds the voluntary Short Breaks Fund for carers and their families which is run on our behalf by Shared Care Scotland and Family Fund.  Please visit the websites to find out more about the different options within the Short Breaks Fund.

We would also encourage parent carers to contact their local carer centre, which can offer advice on income maximisation and the wider carer support available in the area. Many also operate the Time To Live fund (part of the short breaks fund mentioned above) which can also support parent carers fund a short break. You can find your local centre using the Care Information Scotland website.

Further information

Families can be eligible for a number of national benefits and tax credits, particularly if they are on low or single incomes. Benefits also exist at local level to help with Council Tax, housing and health costs. Local Councils have Benefits Offices where individuals can visit or call to discuss their specific circumstances. Citizens Advice Scotland is a good place to start and you can find your local bureau for face-to- face advice and information.

Child early years support

Our five family payments - Best Start Foods, the three Best Start Grants and Scottish Child Payment - aim to give children the best start in life. They offer financial support to families, both in and out of work, who receive certain benefits and tax credits.

Best Start Foods

Best Start Foods has replaced the Healthy Start Voucher scheme in Scotland. Best Start Foods helps eligible pregnant women and families with children under the age of three to buy healthy foods. The payments are loaded onto a prepaid card that works like a regular bank card.

You may be able to get Best Start Foods if you or your partner, or someone you are dependent on, are getting certain benefits

If you are under 18, you can be eligible for Best Start Foods during pregnancy and up until your child turns one, without needing these benefits.

You may also be able to get Best Start Foods for your child even if you cannot get certain benefits because of your immigration status.

You can apply from as soon as you know you are pregnant, up until your child turns 3 years old.

More information about Best Start Foods can be found at

Best Start Grant

Best Start Grant has replaced the Sure Start Maternity Grant in Scotland. The three Best Start Grant payments give families on lower incomes some additional money at key early stages in their children’s life, adding to the family budget and reducing the need for borrowing.

You may be able to get Best Start Grant if:

  • you're  under 18;
  • you’re aged 18 or 19 and someone is getting benefits for you; or
  • you or your partner are getting certain benefits

More information about Best Start Grant can be found at

Scottish Child Payment

Scottish Child Payment helps towards the costs of supporting your family. It's a weekly payment of £25 that you can get for every child you look after who's under 16. You may be able to get this payment if you are getting certain benefits.

More information about Scottish Child Payment can be found at

More help with finances

Delivered in partnership with Citizens Advice Scotland, the money talk team offers support to families, including advice on benefit eligibility and managing money. Its main goal is to allow people to claim everything they are entitled to and to access the best deals on financial products and services, as well as energy bills. This service, which is one of the commitments outlined in the Best Start, Bright Futures: Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan 2022-2026 ( is available through a freephone telephone number: 0800 028 1456 or in person at Citizens Advice Bureaux across the country.

You can find more information on the Money Talk Team website.

Further information about financial support available to families can also be found at the links below:

Young Patients Family Fund

The Young Patients Family Fund helps families of young inpatients under 18 to cover some of the costs of hospital visits.

Eligible claimants can claim for:

  • the cost of one return journey to the hospital per day by public transport (standard class only).
  • the cost of one return flight per week per eligible visitor when flying is deemed an appropriate mode of travel e.g. island to mainland visit.
  • the cost of motor mileage for one return journey to the hospital per day;
  • the cost of subsistence while visiting provided as one of the following:
    • a contribution per person, per day for food and non-alcoholic beverages; or
    • up to 3 meals per day provided directly to the eligible visitor; or
    • meal tokens provided to the eligible visitor to be used in the hospital canteen or similar.
  • a contribution to reasonable overnight accommodation costs where the hospital cannot provide their own accommodation.

Independent Living Fund Scotland’s Transition Fund

If you’re aged 16-25 with a disability or impairment you can apply to the Transition Fund for money to help you participate in a new activity or learn a skill that will help you to become independent and continue to spend more time with other people.

ILF also offer a Person Centre Planning Grant to help young people looks at the goals that the person wants to achieve and the support that they will need to achieve them. This service can be provided by professionals who have been trained to help people plan for their future and can help with person centred planning.

To apply for the Transition Fund, you'll need to apply to ILF Scotland.

Who can apply

You can apply to the Transition Fund if you:

  • are between 16-25 years old
  • have lived in Scotland for the last 6 months
  • have an impairment or disability
  • have less than £26,250 in your personal savings

If you apply for the grant at age 15 you will not receive the money until you turn 16.

People who have little or no formal support from Social Work Services or through Self Directed Support will get priority.

What you can use the money for

You can use the money for things like:

  • art or music lessons
  • a device or piece of technology to help you with your impairment
  • joining a class or club
  • travel training
  • driving lessons (vehicles are not usually funded)
  • training courses

Alex's story - Independent Living Fund

You can call me Alex, I was born in Glasgow and have lived here all my life. My current activities include Kung-Fu lessons, driving lessons and athletics. I’m also a student at City of Glasgow College and I am one of the Young Ambassadors for ILF Scotland Transition Fund.

I also have Aspergers, yes, it’s been a constant challenge in my growth as a person and my transition through life. My early years of school were very difficult, the only way I could find solace was playing with Lego in my bedroom. This was only a short-term cure for the anxiety and depression I was trapped in.

However, when I went to primary school I slowly learnt that my Aspergers impacted on my ability to communicate with others, I wasn’t bad or stupid after all. Whilst here, teachers gave me the opportunity to try skiing lessons with Disability Snowsport UK (DSUK). I enjoy skiing due to the freedom that it brings to my mind. This experience  inspired me to never give up on the things I have a passion for.

When I moved on to secondary school, staff encouraged me to join an athletics club. Although it was challenging and scary at first, I slowly began to chat with my fellow athletes, which was a stepping stone for my social skills and fitness too.

Since then, I have competed in regional and national championships for both swimming and athletics. I also made the squads in the Special Olympics in 2013 and 2017. These were all incredibly proud moments for me and my team, providing me with a sense of belonging.

When I left secondary school, all routine was taken from me. Days sank into each other, which was mentally draining for me and I struggled with my anxiety, feeling like a prisoner in my own home. It felt like my voice didn’t matter anymore. I felt I was a nuisance to my family, a burden.

Then things began to change when I met a worker at ARC Scotland. They first introduced me to the concept of the Transition Fund for young people with a disability. For the first time in a long time, people wanted to hear my opinion. I went from feeling like no one cared to thinking maybe I could actually do something to help other young people with disabilities. It was the beginning of a new direction in my life, one which has led me to take more chances.

I believe we have a lot to contribute to society and our voices should be heard. It’s a great feeling as a young disabled person to have your voice heard and for the people listening to really want to make a difference.

I’m now undertaking a Media Studies Course, which I’m really enjoying. I’ve given a presentation at the Scottish Parliament with The Family Fund celebrating the YOYP and was involved in the co-design of the ILF Scotland Transition Fund. I am also now part of a very special community at Kung Fu, growing in confidence and learning new skills.

The Scottish Welfare Fund

The Scottish Welfare Fund provides an essential source of occasional support for those most in need. It is administered by Local Authorities and provides two forms of discretionary award that do not need to be paid back by the applicant:

Crisis Grants: may be provided for eligible individuals to meet immediate short-term needs arising from exceptional circumstances such as a disaster or emergency.

Community Care Grants: may be provided to help eligible people establish or maintain a home. For example, vulnerable individuals leaving care, prison, or following a period of homelessness.

To apply to the Scottish Welfare Fund you must contact your Local Authority. You can find your Local Authority and their contact details here

 The Accessible Vehicles and Equipment (AVE) Scheme (Motability)

The Accessible Vehicles and Equipment (AVE) Scheme gives disabled people in Scotland access to affordable vehicles and mobility equipment including cars, wheelchair adapted vehicles, powered wheelchairs, and scooters. Eligible people who receive one of the following may join the Scheme:

  • higher rate mobility component of Child Disability Payment
  • enhanced rate mobility component of Adult Disability Payment

The Scottish Government has accredited Motability as a supplier under the Scheme and additional providers may join the Scheme in the future. We know how vital access to vehicles and mobility equipment can be to disabled people and the importance of ensuring an equivalent provision.

You can find out further information about the Scheme here: Apply to lease an accessible vehicle -

People whose payments have not yet been transferred from the UK Government to Social Security Scotland and are still in receipt of either the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or the enhanced rate mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) can still access affordable vehicles and mobility equipment through the Motability Scheme.

Motability can be contacted  on:

  • Phone    0300 456 4566
  • Minicom 0300 037 0100

Further details on the scheme and eligibility are available  on the Motability website 

Family Fund

Family Fund is a UK based charity, who receive funding from the Scottish Government for families on low incomes raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people.

Their main role is to provide financial grants to families raising disabled children and young people; however, they also provide information and signpost to other charities and services which families may find useful.

Family Fund’s website has information on how families can apply for grants and access other help and support they provide. It also has a section which signposts to other useful and relevant services.

During the assessment process, Family Fund provides information, advice and support to families, including signposting to other services. Families who have applied for the first time, or who need extra support will often receive a home visit to help better understand the family's situation. This provides an opportunity for families to discuss any issues they face or problems they need extra support with. Based on this, the professional carrying out the visit can provide information on local statutory services and support groups.

Families resident in the UK can apply for a grant for a child or young person aged 17 or under. Family Fund uses a social model of disability, considering the challenges that the child faces in their everyday life. Family Fund prioritises support to families on low incomes. You can find out more about their full eligibility criteria on their website.

Family Fund is a discretionary grant and may be refused if a family has significant savings, income or capital. 

Family Fund offers a variety of services to make it easier for children and families to access computers and the internet. They have gathered a selection of online resources and can also provide a group training session for parents and carers of children and young people with a disability in the community.

The Family Fund also provide "Siblings Matter Too" grants following assessment and a visit from one of their independent assessors.

If you’re a family member or carer of a disabled child or young person, see the Support for the Whole Family section of this site to see what other help might be available.

Elena's story

Elena is two years old, and lives in Dundee with her family. “Elena has got Down’s Syndrome as well as a congenital heart defect, so she is two years old and can’t stand or walk by herself at all,” explains her mum, Leona.

“Her heart condition puts her at risk of infections, if she gets ill it can affect her heart. She gets things like colds really easily and they will last a long time because of her weak immune system.

Family Fund is a really great charity that provides things that families are in great need of. The application process is so much easier than other ones too, which is nice, because I have found some applications to be very stressful.

We found out about Family Fund through a Down’s Syndrome Facebook group, and the first thing we applied for was a washer dryer. My daughter has bad reflux, so she is sick several times a day, and we always have to put on a lot of washing. We don’t have room for both a tumble dryer and a washing machine, so a washer dryer was a good solution to get bed sheets, and other things that we need, cleaned and dried.

Our most recent Family Fund grant was for a swing and a slide. I used to take Elena to the park quite a lot, but I would always have to take cleaning wipes and clean everything in case there was a risk of infection, and taking her to the park was hard because she finds it very uncomfortable being in her pram. Now she has got her own swing and slide, so she can just go outside and be out on that every day.

We definitely wouldn’t have been able to afford a washer dryer or play equipment by ourselves.  It would have been impossible to get the garden equipment, and we would still have to travel to the nearest park and use my cleaning wipes to try and protect her. The washing machine is something that I needed, so I imagine I would have had to try and borrow some money from somewhere”.

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