What Benefits Can I Claim in Scotland?

Find out everything you need to know about what benefits are available in Scotland, whether you are eligible to receive them and how to go about making a claim.

Carer's Allowance

If you are aged 16 or over and spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone, you might be entitled to Carer's Allowance.

You don’t have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for and you don't get paid extra if you are a carer for more than one person, however to be eligible the person(s) you care for must currently receive one of the following benefits:

  • Personal Independence Payment - daily living component
  • Disability Living Allowance - the middle or highest care rate
  • Attendance Allowance
  • 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

You could get £66.15 a week, which is paid directly into your account and you can choose between being paid weekly in advance or every 4 weeks.

Receiving Carer’s Allowance may affect other benefits you or the person(s) you care for already get and you must not be in full-time education or in part-time education or work for more than 21 hours a week.

If you're not eligible for Carer's Allowance, you may be eligible for Carer's Credit. Visit Gov.UK for more information on Carer's Credit.

For more information on Carer's Allowance, eligibility criteria and how to apply you can contact the Carer's Allowance Unit.

Find out how to apply for Carer's Allowance using our guide as well as how to apply for Young Scot's Young Carer Package - full of enhanced discounts and opportunities.

Visit our Young Carers campaign page for more information.

Child Benefit

You can get Child Benefit if you’re responsible for a child under 16 years old, or someone under 20 who is in approved education or training.

If you have a partner who is also responsible for the child, only one of you are able to claim Child Benefit.

For your eldest or only child, you will receive £20.70 per week. If you have additional children you will receive £13.70 per child.

From January 7th 2013, changes to Child Benefit were brought in for higher-income families earning over £50,000 a year. If applicable, you would still receive the same Child Benefit amount but you would also have to pay extra tax which will effectively cancel out some or all of your Child Benefit. You can choose not to receive Child Benefit if you want to avoid paying this tax.

For more information on Child Benefit, eligibility criteria and how to apply you can visit the Gov.UK website.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

If you are aged under 16 and you have a health condition or disability that means you have more care or supervision needs than other children your age and/or you have difficulty walking or getting around outdoors in unfamiliar places, your parent(s), carer(s) or guardian(s) may be able to make a claim for DLA on your behalf.

You could get between £23.20 and £148.85 a week of DLA which will depend on the level required.

Disability Living Allowance for those over the age of 16 has been replaced by the Personal Independent Payment (PIP). Scroll down to find out more about PIP.

Find out more about DLA on Gov.UK.

Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)

An Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) helps young people by providing financial support for students aged 16, 17, 18 or 19 who plan to stay on at school or college.

Every year if claiming EMA, you will have to complete:

  • an EMA application form
  • a learning agreement

You can apply for EMA or renew your application on the MyGovScot's website.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

If you're ill, have a health condition, or a disability that means you find it a struggle or impossible to work then you may be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

ESA is usually paid every 2 weeks into your bank account, to help you with living costs, such as rent, bills and food.

You can apply for ESA if you’re:

  • employed
  • self-employed
  • unemployed
  • a student

The amount you are eligible for varies dependent on whether you're working or not and if you have savings.

There are two different types of ESA - ‘contribution-based’ and ‘income-related’. You can be eligible for just one of these types, or both at the same time.

You can find out more about Employment and Support Allowance on Gov.UK's website.

Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit helps people pay their rent if they are unemployed, on a low income or are claiming other benefits.

Housing Benefit is being replaced by Universal Credit, but, you can still apply for Housing Benefit for the first time if;

  • you’re getting the severe disability premium, or are entitled to it
  • you got or were entitled to the severe disability premium within the last month and are still eligible for it
  • you have reached State Pension age
  • you live in temporary accommodation
  • you live in sheltered or supported housing with special facilities such as alarms or wardens

If not, you'll need to claim Universal Credit instead.

To find out more about the Housing Benefit eligibility criteria, how to apply and whether or not your local area has moved to Universal Credit as a replacement, you can visit the Gov.UK website.

Income Support

If you are on a low income, you may be able to make a claim for Income Support.

Income Support is awarded to people who do not have enough money to live on.

Income Support has been replaced by Universal Credit, unless you either:

  • you’re getting the severe disability premium, or are entitled to it
  • you got or were entitled to the severe disability premium within the last month and are still eligible for it

Find out more about Income Support on Gov.UK's website.

Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)

You can apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) to help you when you look for work, it is a benefit for those who are able to work but are currently unemployed and looking for a job.

Once you make a claim, you are required to attend an interview at your local job centre, where they will help you apply for jobs dependent on your interest area and set you weekly goals e.g: how many jobs you have to apply for.

Your JSA payments will be stopped if you don't keep to your agreement to look for work and cannot give a good reason why you haven't if this is the case.

You are usually paid JSA every two weeks directly into your bank account and the amount you get depends on what age you are, what savings or other income you might have and if both you and a partner are applying together.

There is a 'new style' Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) benefit available, which can be claimed with, or instead of, Universal Credit, depending on your National Insurance record, and you may be eligible if:

  • you're already claiming Universal Credit
  • you had a claim to Universal Credit within the last 6 months that ended due to high earnings
  • you're not receiving the severe disability premium, and have not received it in the last month

You can find out more about the new JSA on Gov.UK's website.

Making a claim for JSA also affects other benefits you may be on.

You can check your eligibility for both kinds of Jobseeker's Allowance and find out how to make a claim on Gov.UK's website.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a newer replacement to what you may have heard of as Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

PIP can help you with some of the extra costs if you have a long term illness or disability.

You must be aged 16 or over and have a health condition or disability where you:

  • have had difficulties with daily living or getting around (or both) for 3 months
  • expect these difficulties to continue for at least 9 months (unless you’re terminally ill with less than 6 months to live)

Your income, savings, and whether you’re working or not don't affect your eligibility and you can receive PIP even if you're already claiming some other benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

You could get between £23.20 and £148.85 a week, which will be paid to you every four weeks.

The amount you get depends on how your condition affects you, not the condition itself.

More information about the eligibility criteria and how to apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) can be found on the Gov.UK website.

Scottish Welfare Fund

The Scottish Welfare Fund provides support to people in crisis, who need help with their living costs.

It's a national scheme that is provided by your local authority.

There are two types of grant that can be applied for:

  • a crisis grant
  • a community care grant

As they're grants, you don't have to pay them back.

These are usually one-off payments to help you pay for an immediate financial need, for example if you have had an accident or an emergency where you had to pay money for something which has left you short on paying for food and bills until you are paid your next benefit entitlement - you may be able to get a crisis grant.

There are certain restrictions to the Scottish Welfare Fund, such as that it cannot be used as a means to tide you over whilst you are awaiting a decision on a benefit you have applied for.

You must be 16 or older and on a low income or already be applying for certain benefits, to apply for a Crisis or Community Care Grant.

You can learn more about the Scottish Welfare Fund on the MyGovScot website.

Universal Credit (UC)

Universal Credit (UC) is a benefit which helps with living costs. In Scotland, you can choose whether you are paid once or twice a month.

Universal Credit is replacing a lot of the benefits you may have heard of before, such as:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit

If you're in receipt of any of the benefits above, you cannot claim Universal Credit at the same time.

Universal Credit is being introduced in stages across Scotland and the UK. You don't need to do anything until you hear from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about moving to Universal Credit, unless you have a change in circumstances you would normally notify DWP about.

You may be able to get Universal Credit if:

  • you’re on a low income or out of work
  • you’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)
  • you’re under State Pension age (or your partner is)
  • you and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings
  • between you
  • you live in the UK

How much Universal Credit you get depends on your earnings and your living situation and you will be assessed every month, so the amount may change.

To find out more about Universal Credit, how to apply and the full eligibility criteria, visit Citizens Advice's website.

Working Tax Credit

Working Tax Credit is eligible for those who are on a low-income, however are working. It has been replaced by Universal Credit unless you are in receipt of the severe disability premium or got it in the past month and are still eligible for it.

For information on eligibility and how to apply, visit Gov.UK.

More Information

If you are unsure of what other benefits are available, what benefits you may be eligible to receive, how much you could get and how long the process takes, you can visit the following links:

Remember, regardless of what benefits you may be entitled to at any one time, should your circumstances change, you must notify the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as soon as possible.

The information in this article is accurate as of June 2019.

Head to the Adultgood campaign page for more information on adulting.