The Scottish Government has announced the creation of four new benefits designed to help support families in crisis, which are to be unveiled by Social Security Scotland within the year.
The new benefits agency has been handed powers to administer a range of exisiting social security benefits, but those powers also include the ability to create entirely new benefits wherever the need arises.
The announcement follows the successful introduction of higher benefit payments for Scotland’s unpaid family carers and mitigation of the so-called ‘bedroom tax’.
Scottish Housing News reports that the new benefits and payments are as follows:
- Best Start Grant nursery age payment – a £250 payment awarded to low income families when a child starts nursery.
- Best Start Grant school payment – a £250 payment awarded to low income families when a child starts school.
- Funeral Expense Assistance – providing eligible low income families with a contribution towards the cost of a funeral.
- Young Carer Grant – awarded to young carers aged 16 to 18 who do at least 16 hours of caring a week, but don’t qualify for Carer’s Allowance.
Commenting, Scotland’s Social security secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “This is a new public service for the people of Scotland.
“Since Social Security Scotland started making payments just three months ago it has been able to provide significant extra help to carers and low income families with young children.
“These are just the first steps in the delivery of our new social security system and in 2019 Social Security Scotland will start delivery of even more benefits to support people in our society.
“This government is determined to make further progress on tackling inequality and reducing poverty. Delivering our new social security system is a key part of that.
“We are establishing a system that is different to what people have known under the DWP.
“A service that is compassionate and is putting people at its heart. And we will continue the job of delivering that service based on dignity, fairness and respect in 2019.”