What Benefits Can I Claim? in Rights

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.

Some of the Benefits Available in Scotland

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 £62.10 a week, which is paid directly into your account and you can choose when you are paid i.e: weekly, every 4 weeks or every 13 weeks.

Receiving Carer’s Allowance may affect other benefits you or the person(s) you care for already get.

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

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

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, you may be able to claim Disability Living Allowance or your parent(s), carer(s) or guardian(s) may be able to make a claim on your behalf.

The Citizen's Advice Scotland website has plenty more information about making a claim for Disability Living Allowance.

From 10 June 2013, you are unable to make a new claim for Disability Living Allowance if you are over 16, however may still be receiving payments if you had made a claim before then. Disability Living Allowance is being replaced by Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

Find out more about PIP below.

Education Maintenance Allowance

An Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) helps young people by providing financial support for students under 20 who plan to stay on at school or college.

You can find out more about EMA, check out our FAQs and get all of the information on how to apply in our Young Scot Extra section.

Employment and Support Allowance

If you are 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.

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.

Eventually, in Scotland and other parts of the UK, income-related Employment Support Allowance will be replaced by Universal Credit, however those eligible will still be able to claim contribution-based ESA.

Universal Credit is being rolled out in certain areas across the UK so depending on where you live and what circumstances you're in, you may have to make a claim for it instead of income-related ESA.

You can find out more about Employment and Support Allowance from Citizen's Advice Scotland.

To find out more about Universal Credit, you can skip to our section below.

Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit helps people pay their rent.

You may be eligible to claim Housing Benefit if you are claiming other benefits or if you're working, however you cannot make a claim for Housing Benefit to help with the costs of a mortgage or home loan.

As with ESA, Housing Benefit is part of a group of benefits which are gradually being replaced by Universal Credit. In terms of helping with housing costs, this new Universal Credit can help contribute to your rent or mortgage payments.

To find out more about the eligibility criteria, how to apply and whether or not your local area has moved to Universal Credit as a replacement, you can visit Citizen's Advice Scotland.

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. There is no specific amount of income Support any one claimant can expect to be paid as any money you have already is taken into account in deciding how much you should get.

Your weekly income will be assesed to assure it meets a certain level and whether you are making a claim for other benefits, without having to look for work, will be taken into account.

Income Support is important as you can automatically get Housing Benefit and other help, for example, with health costs. You are also likely to get help with your council tax.

Income Support is also eventually being replaced by Universal Credit, along with a variety of other income and welfare based benefits in Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Skip down to our section on Universal Credit to find out more.

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

Jobseeker's Allowance

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.

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

Making a claim for JSA also affects other benefits you may be on. You can check your eligibility and find out how to make a claim via Gov.UK's website.

JSA will also be replaced by Universal Credit eventually in Scotland, along with a variety of other income and welfare based benefits.

Skip down to our section on Universal Credit to find out more.

Personal Independence Payment

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

Now, anyone aged 16 or over who has an illness, disability or mental health condition can apply for PIP in order to get extra money to support themselves. You can receive PIP even if you are already claiming some other benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance.

Your income, savings, and whether you’re working or not don't affect your eligibility.

There is both a standard and an enhanced rate of PIP for both components known as 'Daily Living' and 'Mobility'. The rate you receive will be decided by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) based on your medical history and assessments. 

To find out more about the Personal Independence Payment, including how to apply, visit Citizen's Advice Scotland's website.

Scottish Welfare Fund

The Scottish Welfare Fund provides support to people in crisis. 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, and a community care grant. As they are 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 can learn more about the Scottish Welfare Fund via the Citizen's Advice Scotland website.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new benefit that is being introduced in stages throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK.

You may be able to claim Universal Credit if you’re on a low income or out of work however you cannot apply for UC if you cannot work and/or are disabled.

You don’t need to do anything if you’re already claiming other benefits and you will be notified by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) when a change comes into effect in your area.

If making a fresh claim, you might need to apply for Universal Credit instead of other existing benefits. Depending on where you live, in some areas you are still able to apply for older benefits such as Jobseeker's Allowance or Housing Benefit, however in some areas Universal Credit will have already been introduced.

It’s mainly available to people who are unemployed or earn less than £338 a month - but you can get it in some other circumstances.

To check if Universal Credit has already been introduced in your area or to check if you are eligible to apply, you can contact the Universal Credit helpline on 0345 600 0723. (Calls to this number do carry a charge on landline and mobiles and these prices can vary. You can call and ask an adviser to call you back if you are unable to pay for the call.)

You can also find out more about Universal Credit in Citizen's Advice Scotland's guide.

Working Tax Credit

Working Tax Credit is eligible for those who are on a low-income however are working. You can receive Working Tax Credit to top up your earnings as a sole applicant or as a couple.

You could get Working Tax Credit if:

  • you’re aged from 16 to 24 and have a child or a qualifying disability, or
  • you’re 25 or over, with or without children

You must:

  • work a certain number of hours a week
  • get paid for the work you do (or expect to)
  • have an income below a certain level

The basic amount of Working Tax Credit is up to £1,960 a year - the rate may be less or more, as this is determined by your personal circumstances and income.

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

Working Tax Credit will be replaced by Universal Credit eventually in Scotland, along with a variety of other income and welfare based benefits.

Visit the section on Universal Credit to find out more.

More Help & 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.