Benefits and debt advice - coronavirus update

Scottish government benefits

Since 2019 the Scottish Government has been developing a range of new benefits to either replace or add to those provided by the DWP. These are summarised below.

Emergency measures have been put in place to support access throughout the Covid-19 crisis – read on to the end for details.

Best start grant and best start foods

Small grants to support families with young children. Up to 3 payments per child from pregnancy to when a child starts school. Also a prepaid card that enables the purchase of specific healthy food items for children under 3 years old. More details on best start grants and best start foods.

Carers allowance supplement

An additional payment to those who are caring for someone and living on a low income. £230 paid to carers twice a year. More details about carers allowance supplement.

Young carer grant

An annual payment of £305 for young carers aged 16-18 years old who are caring for someone an average 16 hours per week. More details about young carer grants.

Funeral support payment

There is now a grant worth up to £1500 to assist with the cost of a funeral if the person organising the funeral is the nearest relative and in receipt of certain benefits. More details about funeral support payments.

Other benefits in development include:

Child Disability Payment – this replaces Disability Living Allowance for children. The introduction has been delayed due to the Covid-19 crisis. Existing recipients of DLA will be contacted ahead of the benefit being transferred to Scottish Government.

Scottish child payment – a £10 per week per child supplement for parents on a low income. This will be rolled out for children under the ae of 6 first then expanded. More details about scottish child payments.

Clients who make a late application after 7 April may still be treated as eligible even when the delay means they are out with our normal eligibility ages, provided they have explained that the reason for their application being late is due to Covid-19.

These changes are:

  • Pregnancy and Baby Payment – applications could potentially be made up to the day a child turns one, or one year and six months for an application from a kinship carer. Parents or carers under the age of 18 are automatically entitled to this payment – even if they are not on benefits. People could still be eligible after their 18th birthday if Covid-19 meant that they couldn’t get their application in on time.
  • Early Learning Payment – eligibility could increase up to a child’s 4th birthday

    Parents or carers under the age of 18 are automatically entitled to this payment – even if they are not on benefits. People could still be eligible after their 18th birthday if Covid-19 meant that they couldn’t get their application in on time.
     
  • School Age Payment – as with Pregnancy and Baby Payment and Early Learning Payment, parents or carers under the age of 18 are automatically entitled to this payment – even if they are not on benefits. People could still be eligible after their 18th birthday if Covid-19 meant that they couldn’t get their application in on time.
     
  • Young Carer Grant – clients could remain eligible after they turn 19
     
  • Funeral Support Payment – Applications can be made up to six months following a funeral. The six month rule can be ignored for clients applying late, if the reason for delay is in relation to Covid-19.

There are no changes for Best Start Foods or Carer’s Allowance Supplement. There are some changes for wider carers support provided through the Scottish Government.

Re-determination requests

Clients can normally submit re-determination requests up to one year from the date of receiving their original decision, as long as they have a good reason. The impact of Covid-19 will now be considered as a potential good reason.

If somebody is coming up to the end of their year-long period for a redetermination or appeal and missed this deadline due to a Covid-19 reason, Social Security Scotland and the Tribunal will have discretion to allow late requests.

The deadline for processing re-determinations has also been extended so there can be up to an additional 9 weeks on top of the current 16 working day deadline.

Clients are urged to apply online in the first instance but a call back can be requested on

0800 182 2222

Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm.