Categories
Social Security

Young People Helped with Costs of New Job

695 helped in first four months of new scheme

The Scottish Government has paid out more than £190,000 to eligible young people to help with the costs of starting a new job.

A total of 695 successful applications were made for the new Job Start Payment from its launch on 17 August 2020 to 31 December 2020.

The one-off payment of £250, or the higher rate of £400 if the recipient is the main carer of any children, is available to 16 to 24-year-olds who have been offered a job after being out of work for at least six months and are in receipt of a qualifying benefit.

Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“From travel costs to buying new work clothes, or childcare, we know there can often be expenses involved with starting a job. Our new Job Start Payment is designed to support young people with those costs as they move into work.

“At a time when we know young people are disproportionately impacted by the economic impact of the pandemic, this support will be more important than ever for those who are starting a new job after a period of unemployment. I want to encourage anyone eligible to apply for this extra financial support.”

Background

  • Job Start Payment is paid to 16 to 24-year-olds who have been on certain benefits for six months or more to help with the costs of starting a job
  • applicants need to have been out of paid work for at least six months running up to the day they were offered the job
  • to be eligible, people need to have been getting either Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) on the date of their job offer
  • young people who are care leavers will be eligible until their 26th birthday and do not have to meet the six months requirement for unemployment or receipt of a qualifying benefit
  • clients need to have been offered a job and expect to work at least 12 hours a week, averaged over a four-week period. They can apply for Job Start Payment up to three months after the date they were offered their job
  • clients can find pre-application advice which includes eligibility and award amounts, and apply at mygov.scot/job-start-payment/who-can-apply/
  • clients can choose to apply online, via a paper application form or by requesting a call back from one a specially trained advisors working within the dedicated Job Start Payment support team by calling 0800 182 2222
Categories
Children Coronavirus Social Security

Dundee Benefits from £100 COVID Winter Payments

£542,200 PAID TO FAMILIES IN DUNDEE CITY FROM SCOTTISH WINTER HARDSHIP FUND

5,422 FAMILIES RECEIVE £100 WINTER PAYMENT

5,422 families in Dundee City have received a £100 COVID winter hardship payment to support them through one of the most difficult winters in living memory.

New figures show that the SNP Government provided support to thousands in each of Scotland’s local authorities – with more than £14million paid out to families in December.

In Dundee City £542,200 was paid out to 5,422 families.

The payment, announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, was made available to families who were in receipt of free school meals and was paid from 30th November to the start of the winter school holidays.

Commenting, SNP MSP Joe FitzPatrick said:

“With the Scottish Government rolling out the Scottish Child Payment and supporting hundreds of thousands of families across Scotland with the £100 COVID winter hardship payment, the SNP is making a real difference to people’s lives and lifting children out of poverty.

“This has been an incredibly difficult time for families in Dundee City who may have faced lost earnings, increased food bills and cold weather. The £100 winter payment will hopefully have eased the financial strain many have been facing.

“In contrast to the Tories at Westminster, the SNP Scottish Government is doing all it can to ensure kids who receive free school meals do not go hungry.

“Alongside introducing the Scottish Child Payment, Best Start Grant and Best Food Grants, this SNP Government is committed to supporting children, whereas the Tories are planning to slash Universal Credit and get rid of the £20 uplift when families need it most.

“The only way Scotland can escape Westminster austerity and build a social security system based on dignity, fairness and respect is by becoming an independent country.”

Categories
Children Coronavirus Social Security

New Scottish Child Payment

Payments to start from late February.

More than 77,000 Scottish Child Payment applications have been received since Social Security Scotland started taking applications on 9 November.

The new benefit, which is unique to Scotland, will give qualifying parents and carers £40 every four weeks for each child under six.

The benefit starts today, meaning that Social Security Scotland is now able to do final eligibility checks and start issuing decisions.

The first decisions and payments will arrive from later this month.

Parents and carers who have not yet applied and have a child under six are encouraged to apply as soon as possible to get the maximum amount of money they are entitled to.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“This is a fantastic response to our new payment. Today marks the day that parents and carers will become eligible for Scottish Child Payment. We’ve had a great response and this is a very large number of applications. It will take time to work through these applications and I’d like to ask families for their patience while we work as quickly as we can to process these.

“The Scottish Child Payment is the most ambitious anti-poverty measure currently being undertaken anywhere in the UK. Announced in late June 2019 the new payment has been achieved at great speed.

“In 2021-22 we will invest £3.6 billion in social security payments supporting carers, young people, and low income families including £68 million for this new payment. Significantly more families are now relying on benefits due to the pandemic – some perhaps for the first time. Scottish Child Payment will help lift children in Scotland out of poverty.

“We are proactively promoting this payment and we have written to everyone on the Universal Credit and HMRC tax credit databases who may be eligible to invite them to apply. .

“Covid-19 restrictions continue to put additional pressure on parents and carers and I recognise how busy families are. But I’d like to take this opportunity to encourage anyone who hasn’t yet applied, to take ten minutes to get their application in – it’s vital that people get the money they are entitled to.”

Scottish Child Payment has been introduced ahead of schedule for children under six by building on the existing infrastructure for Best Start Grant payments. The payment is planned to be fully rolled out to children under the age of 16 by the end of 2022. This is subject to data on qualifying benefits being received from the DWP to enable Social Security Scotland to make top-up payments.

Background

  • Application numbers are the latest figures available and correct as of Sunday 7 February.
  • People, who supplied their mobile number, will be kept up to date on the progress of their application by text.
  • People who apply from Tuesday 16 February will have their payment calculated from the day that they apply.
  • Scottish Fiscal Commission reviewed their forecasts in January 2021 to reflect how many families were taking up qualifying benefits from the DWP. The total figure of children forecast to be eligible for Scottish Child Payment in 2020-21 was revised slightly down to 173,000. The total number of households changed to 138,000.
  • Social Security Scotland delivers a number of benefits for families. This includes Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment, Early Learning Payment, School Age Payment and Best Start Foods. Applications can be made for Scottish Child Payment and all of these using a single straightforward form.
  • Scottish Child Payment together with the three Best Start Grant payments and Best Start Foods could give families on low incomes up to £5,200 by the time their first child turns six.
  • People can apply by visiting mygov.scot/benefits or calling 0800 182 2222.
  • Scottish Child Payment is a new benefit and it is in addition to the UK wide Child Benefit.
  • To get advice on what benefits may be available parents and carers can access free, confidential advice through Money Talk Team. Visit Parentclub.scot to find out more.
Categories
Carers Coronavirus Mental Health Social Security

Helping Vulnerable Young People Through COVID-19

Almost £1 million to support people into work.

Funding to help more vulnerable young people across Scotland into work has been announced by Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop.

Part of the Scottish Government’s Young Person’s Guarantee, the £986,702 investment will provide specialist pre-employment support for an additional 1,300 16 and 17-year-olds.

Two existing programmes delivered in partnership with the third sector – Our Future Now and Discovering Your Potential – will provide the support.

Ms Hyslop said:

“This pandemic continues to hit us hard – especially our young people who are facing fewer opportunities, and even more so for those who are vulnerable and have recently left school.

“As part of our national mission to create jobs, and through our Young Person’s Guarantee, we must all work together to help this generation who have been caught so cruelly in the eye of the coronavirus (COVID-19) storm.

“These two dedicated programmes, delivered in partnership with the third sector, will allow us to help even more young people access the support they need to build their confidence and develop valuable skills that employers require.”

Background:

Vulnerable young people are defined as those with multiple barriers to employment. This includes:

  • young people at risk of not being in education, employment, or training
  • young carers
  • young care-experienced people
  • young people with disabilities
  • young people with previous convictions
  • young homeless people
  • young people mental health issues
  • young refugees

Further information regarding the Young Person’s Guarantee can be found here.

Inspiring Scotland (who deliver Our Future Now) will receive funding of £500,702.

For further information please contact enquiries@inspiringscotland.org.uk.

The Young Person’s Consortium, which includes Barnardo’s, Action for Children, and The Princes Trust, deliver Discovering Your Potential. They will receive funding of £486,000.

For further information please contact tommy.mcdade@barnardos.org.uk.

Categories
Community Health Social Security

More Help With Free Personal and Nursing Care

Savings for people with dementia and other care needs.

Adults who pay for their residential care in Scotland will be better off from April as a result of a change to the rates of allowances they receive for personal and nursing care.

Those who ‘self-fund’ their residential care receive an allowance in recognition of their personal and nursing care costs.

Regulations laid in Parliament will raise these allowances by 7.5 per cent, well above the normal annual increase, in recognition of the increasing cost of providing care, particularly for people with dementia.

The change is backed by an additional £10.1m in Local Authority funding to cover the increases.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“I am pleased to confirm that we will increase the allowances paid to people who are paying self-funder rates for their residential care by 7.5%.

“Care home costs have been rising above inflation for a number of years and this is an important step towards to bringing the rates closer to the actual cost of personal and nursing care.

“The Independent Review of Adult Social Care will be published later this week and in responding to its recommendations there will be opportunities to consider wider reforms to the way residential care is funded and delivered, to ensure the highest standards of care and wellbeing for people who use adult social care, and support for their families, carers and the workforce.”

Background

The Scottish Government has legislated to ensure that adults of any age, no matter their condition, capital or income, who are assessed by their local authority as needing personal care, are entitled to receive this without charge.

Free nursing care is similar and has been available to all who are assessed as requiring nursing care services, without charge.

People resident in care homes who have capital above the higher Capital Limit (currently £28,500) are known as self-funders. Local Authorities make payments to cover the personal care (currently at £180 per week) and nursing care (currently at £81 per week) part of self-funder care home fees. These are paid directly to the residential care provider on a weekly basis.

Under the normal inflationary measure used to calculate allowances, these payments would have increased by 1.94% this year. This year’s increases are shown in the table below.

Year Personal Care Nursing Care Annual Increase

1 April 2019 £177 £80 1.57%

1 April 2020 £180 £81 1.84%

1 April 2021 £193.50 £87.10 7.5%

Categories
Children Community Coronavirus Social Security

Tackling Poverty and Inequality

Increased Budget investment for a Fairer Scotland.

Tackling deep-seated poverty and inequality will be supported by increased funding from the 2021-22 Scottish Budget.

To ensure all children have the best start in life, £68 million will be invested in the Scottish Child Payment, and £53 million will fund universal Free School Meals to all children in primary one, two and three.

Communities impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will continue to be supported through funds aimed at helping them recover and rebuild.

The 2021-22 Scottish Budget includes:

  • a near doubling of spending through the Tackling Child Poverty fund with £23.3 million of investment, and providing £6 million to local authorities to continue providing a school clothing grant worth at least £100 to every eligible child
  • £3.6 billion for social security to carers and those on low incomes
  • £150 million for fuel poverty and energy efficiency measures
  • £711.6 million for affordable housing and a new £55 million programme to support town centres
  • £32 million to promote equality and human rights, including actions to ensure this approach is embedded across government and the wider public sector
  • £15 million to further support children and young people with Additional Support Needs
  • more than £26 million of investment in the vital Third Sector
  • £81.6 million for projects to support community regeneration, town centres and 20 minute neighbourhoods – where people can meet their needs within a 20 minute walk from their home
  • over £12 million to support the Ending Homelessness Together action plan, including specific actions to scale up Housing First, end the use of communal night shelters, advance legislative protections for people experiencing domestic abuse and explore alternative routes to reduce migrant homelessness


Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“We are putting tackling poverty at the heart of the Budget. In two weeks we introduce our new game-changing Scottish Child Payment, backed by investment of £68 million.

“As well as mitigating the impact of UK Government welfare cuts, we are supporting carers, young people, and low income families through our range of new benefits. This year also sees the start of the introduction of the first disability benefits as we continue to establish a social security system that is based on dignity and respect and investing in our people.”

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said:

“In addition to responding to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, this budget is investing in actions designed to tackle deep-seated poverty and inequality including almost doubling our child poverty budget to £23.3 million. This means we will deliver our £50 million Tackling Child Poverty Fund commitment in full, continuing with investment in actions including our Parental Employability Support Fund, Access to Childcare Fund and innovative Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland programme.

“Funding for more affordable, greener housing is at the heart of the Scottish Budget, contributing to our net-zero ambitions while helping to ensure everyone has a home that meets their needs.

“We will also invest over £26 million in the local and national Third Sector infrastructure, support the capacity and growth of social enterprises, and ensure the Third Sector can help people and communities recover from the impact of the pandemic.”

Background

Scottish Budget

Equality and Fairer Scotland Budget Statement

Communities and Local Government 

Categories
Coronavirus Education Social Security Universities

Support for Students in Hardship

£30 million of additional funding.

Students experiencing hardship as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19) will be supported by £20 million of Scottish Government funding.

A further £10 million has also been allocated to universities and colleges for income lost in providing rent rebates.

To complement the additional £30 million, the Scottish Funding Council is also repurposing £5 million of student support funding towards discretionary funding for FE students in the college sector.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“The impact of the pandemic on students has been significant. Not only has there been disruption to their education, we know that many students face financial difficulties with accommodation, associated costs or challenges in getting jobs. This additional £20 million will help to alleviate the financial pressure and stress facing many of our students.

“We are also supporting institutions, many of which have lost revenue by giving students rent refunds or rebates, with an additional £10 million.

“This announcement builds on the £37 million package of support the Scottish Government has already provided to support students during the pandemic.”

Matt Crilly, President of NUS Scotland, said:

“NUS Scotland welcomes this crucial support from the Scottish Government at a time when students are struggling. We know many of the traditional sources of student income have been decimated during the pandemic, so it is a relief to know there will be additional funding for those experiencing hardship.

“This support is essential in helping Scotland uphold its commitment to fair access to education. While Scotland has made important advances in recent years towards widening access to further and higher education, the pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities and threatens to erode this progress. This funding helps ensure we are not only supporting students from all backgrounds into education, but also helping them stay in education.”

Shona Struthers, chief executive officer of Colleges Scotland, said:

“We welcome any additional funding to support college students across Scotland at this incredibly difficult time. Many of our students are learning from home and with additional financial hardship caused by the pandemic – we are sure that the much-needed additional funds from Scottish Government will prove beneficial to students during this lockdown period. Colleges Scotland will work on behalf of the sector to highlight ongoing challenges.”

Background

Details on how this £20 million assistance for students will be distributed will be confirmed shortly.

More information on the support available for students is available online.

Categories
Social Security

New Scottish Benefits Help Families

Report shows positive impact of Best Start Grant payments.

Scotland’s least well-off families have seen a marked increase in their income from three Scottish Government benefits, according to an evaluation published today.

The evaluation of the three Best Start Grant payments shows that families on the lowest incomes were able to buy essential items for their children as a result of these new benefits.

Best Start Grant is available to families on low incomes as their children reach certain key stages. They are able to access this whether in or out of work as long as they get one of eight qualifying benefits or tax credits available through the Department for Work and Pensions or HMRC.

People receiving the payments said that the money helped them stop getting into debt or having to cut down on other essential household spending, such food and bills. People were able to use the money to help buy essential items for their children like cots and prams, as well as to arrange days out for their family or to buy books and clothing.

The most common qualifying benefit among recipients was Child Tax Credit (57,055), followed by Universal Credit (44,810), Working Tax Credit (23,560), and Income Support (18,030). Other qualifying benefits include Housing Benefit, Jobseeker’s allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and Pension Credit.

Parents and carers in and out of work who get benefits or tax credits are being encouraged to check if they are eligible and apply.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“Our full Best Start Grant package has been in place since June 2019. I’m delighted that just a year and a half later that we are already getting feedback that this money is making a real difference to people’s lives.

“We continue to work hard to make sure that everyone accesses the support they are entitled to. I often hear families say that they don’t think that they can access this support because they are working. I’m glad to see so many families who are in work and on low incomes getting this extra boost. And I know that more families than ever are accessing benefits and this is important additional help for you too.

“I would urge anyone who gets a benefit or tax credits to check if you are eligible for these payments and to apply. And those eligible for Best Start Grant are now able to apply for the £10 per week Scottish Child Payment that will start in February 2021. Parents and carers can make sure they are getting everything they are entitled to by talking to the Money Talk team. This service and the Best Start Grant payments are there to help families maximise their income and to support efforts to tackle child poverty.”

Paula, from Forfar who received the Best Start Grant Early Years Payment for her daughter, Arwen 3 said:

“I work 12 hours a week as a treasurer for our local church but because I also receive Universal Credit due to being on my own with two children, I qualified for the Best Start Grant Early Years Payment.“It was easy and straightforward to apply online and money was paid direct into my bank account once the application was completed.

“I am very good at planning ahead and budgeting for uniforms or school shoes or normal shoes or just clothes and jackets, that kind of thing, so to receive that extra money was just a nice thing for the family and for us to spend time together.

“We received the payment during the summer holidays which was a great bonus, it let us have the opportunity to go away for a couple of family day trips to places like the safari park.”

During the course of the evaluation research, a recipient of Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment said:

“I didn’t apply until after she was born because I just thought I’ll not get it. Because you do kind of think ‘och no I’m not going to, I’ll never get that’ and luckily when the baby was born I spoke to my friends a wee bit more and I was like ‘do you know what. I will’. What’s the harm. You pay your taxes all your life and work really hard so why shouldn’t you get something back?” *

Background

  • read the full interim evaluation report:  Interim Evaluation of Best Start Grant
  • Interim Evaluation of Best Start Grant: Annex B: Qualitative Research
  • parents and carers aged 18/19 do not need to be in receipt of a qualifying benefit if they are dependent on someone else, i.e. they are named on their parent or carer’s benefit claim. Parents and carers under the age of 18 do not need to be on any payments or benefits to qualify for Best Start Grant
  • Best start Grant is three payments to help families at key stages in a child’s life
  • Pregnancy and Baby Payment was launched Dec 2018
  • Early Learning Payment launched in April 2019
  • School Age Payment was launched in June 2019
  • *quote sourced from p. 42 of the Qualitative Research supporting the evaluation (link above)
  • people can find eligibility criteria and apply online at mygov.scot or by calling 0800 182 2222
  • families can get financial advice from the Money Talk Teams at moneytalkteam.org.uk or by calling 0800 085 7145
Categories
Coronavirus Energy Social Security

Help for households facing fuel poverty

HELP FOR households facing fuel poverty as a result of the pandemic has been launched in the city.

The Fuel Well Dundee Programme will support people on a low income whether they are in or out of work, on reduced incomes as a result of Covid-19, or are already experiencing fuel poverty.

People may have heating systems or home insulation that is inadequate and causing high energy bills or are struggling with other financial or coronavirus related issues.

John Alexander leader of Dundee City Council said:

“Winter is a difficult time for many people as they have some really tough financial choices to make as the temperature drops.

“This has been made so much worse this year by the effects on households of the pandemic, including reduced incomes or increased costs as a result of working from home.

“That’s why the council and its partners have created Fuel Well Dundee to discuss with people what types of support are available to help them with their specific fuel poverty needs.”

The scheme can help with top up payments of between £40 and £100 if certain criteria are met, as well as short, medium and longer-term support from fuel advisers and welfare rights advisers.

This can include other areas of financial inclusion including energy advice, a benefits check and debt advice; where appropriate, consideration of referral for Discretionary Hardship Payments or to the council’s Hardship fund; and crisis grants and community care grants advice.

Gabriel Calvert from local charity Making Dundee Home said

“The service is fast and the staff are very supportive. The money provided allows people to stay warm, cook and take care of themselves.“Hopefully the additional support provided will make a real difference in people’s lives.”

Run by Dundee City Council and SCARF (Part of the Home Energy Scotland network) the Fuel Well Dundee Programme can either be accessed directly at https://dundeecity-self.achieveservice.com/service/Fuel_Well_Dundee(link is external) or through referral by a partner organisation

Categories
Children Social Security

Child Disability Payment Pilot Areas Announced

Initial applications to be taken in three local authority areas.

Families of children with a disability or long term health condition living in Dundee City, Perth and Kinross and the Western Isles will be able to apply for Child Disability Payment from summer 2021. This new benefit will be available across Scotland from autumn 2021.

Child Disability Payment will replace Disability Living Allowance for Children, which is currently delivered through the Department for Work and Pensions.

This new support is there for families applying for disability assistance for the first time. Families currently getting Disability Living Allowance for Children from the Department for Work and Pensions will start to be transferred to the new Scottish system from 2021.

This is the second form of disability assistance to be delivered under the new Scottish social security system following the introduction of Child Winter Heating Assistance in November 2020.

Child Disability Payment is the first disability benefit to be introduced that will require people to submit an application. People will be able to apply for this payment by post, phone, online and face to face. This is the first time in Scotland that people will be able to apply for a disability benefit online.

To coincide with the introduction of Child Disability Payment, we will also launch our local delivery service. This means that from autumn 2021, when Child Disability payment is available for new applications across the country, people will be able to get advice and support on 11 Social Security Scotland administered benefits face-to-face at a location in their local community.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“Next year will be an important one for social security in Scotland as we start to deliver the more complex disability benefits and we see the introduction of face-to-face services.

“We’ve worked with people who will use this service to make sure it will meet their needs. This is what has led to make improvements like the introduction of an online application option and the availability of advice and support in local communities. This influence isn’t only evident in these big decisions, we’ve worked with people right down to details like how we word questions on our applications forms.

“Through building this system with the people who will use it, we hope to have a service that is as straightforward as possible for families to use. Parents and carers of a child who has a disability or long term health condition already experience a number of challenges and accessing the support that they are entitled to shouldn’t be another one.

“This initial pilot is a further chance to get people’s feedback and we look forward to hearing what our first disability benefit applicants have to say. We will continually invite input and adapt accordingly – this is key to making sure that we deliver the best possible service and that we have a system that treats everyone with dignity, fairness and respect.”

Background

  • Child Disability Payment will provide money to help with the extra care and mobility costs children and young people with a disability may have, up to the age of 18.
  • People who currently get UK Government disability benefits will be transferred to the new Scottish system in stages after the new benefits are introduced. This work is expected to be completed to the previously announced timeline of 2025.
  • Young people and children in Scotland who are currently getting Disability Living Allowance for children from the DWP will no longer need to apply for PIP when they turn 16. They will stay on Disability Living Allowance to age 18. 
  • Child Winter Heating Assistance  was the first disability assistance to be introduced by the Scottish Government. This is an annual £200 payment for children and young people who receive the highest rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance will help families meet day and night-time winter fuel costs.
  • From autumn 2021, Social Security Scotland will administer 11 benefits.
  • Carer’s Allowance Supplement
  • Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment
  • Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment
  • Best Start Grant School Age Payment
  • Best Start Foods
  • Funeral Support Payment
  • Young Carer Grant
  • Job Start Payment
  • Scottish Child Payment (for children under 6 years old)
  • Child Winter Heating Assistance
  • Child Disability Payment.
Categories
Coronavirus Housing Social Security

Increased Support for Tenants from Scot Gov

New scheme to help those impacted by pandemic.

A £10 million fund which offers interest-free loans to tenants who are struggling with rent arrears opens for applications today.

The Tenant Hardship Loan Fund is designed to help people who have had their finances or employment impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and do not have other means of housing support.

The new fund is part of a range of support and interventions in response to the pandemic. By giving tenants access to loans to cover a maximum of nine months worth of rent arrears and long repayment terms, it provides another option for people who have lost out financially due to the pandemic, but who can’t claim support from other means, such as welfare benefits.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said:

“There is no single solution to the difficulties being experienced as a result of the impacts of the pandemic in Scotland, and the Tenant Hardship Loan Fund is a part of a broader effort to support those who are affected.

“We want people to access the most appropriate form of financial support. For the majority of tenants facing financial difficulties and arrears the best means of support is regular non-repayable support, for example through Universal Credit and Discretionary Housing Payments.

“However, for those who may fall through the gap and are unable to claim such support, or who might be thinking of borrowing, this new Fund will be a helping hand to manage any rent issues that have arisen in the last few months as a result of the impact of COVID-19.”

Background

Applications for the Tenant Hardship Loan Fund can be completed online

Learn more about renting and your rights during coronavirus if you have a private landlord or a social landlord.

Loans will be available for social and private tenants up to a maximum of nine months’ rent costs covering rent arrears and future rent, where those arrears have arisen since 1 January 2020 (the loan will not be available where a tenant had rent arrears before this date). The loan can include up to a maximum of three months of future rent payments as part of the nine-month total.

The loan provides an additional short-term offer that supports tenants to manage rent arrears and helps them to come back into paying their rent. Loan repayments will be deferred for six months as standard and repaid over a five-year period. This recognises the continuing uncertainty around the impacts of the pandemic.

The Tenant Hardship Loan Fund offers will be subject to an affordability assessment as part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to responsible lending. The affordability assessment looks at the applicant’s incomings and outgoings to check whether the applicant has enough surplus income, after other costs, to make the loan payments.

The application process for the loan highlights that there may be other more appropriate financial support options available to them and will signpost people to sources of further advice and support before making an application.

The Fund is part of the range of support and interventions in response to the pandemic, including the extended notice periods within the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act, introduction of private landlord pre-action requirements and the increases to Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs), along with interest free loans for landlords.

Categories
Children Coronavirus Public Health Social Security

Winter Support Fund for Families and Children

£100 million package will help communities at risk.

Funding to help people pay for food, heating, warm clothing and shelter during the winter is part of a new £100m support package.

The fund will help those on low incomes, children and people at risk of homelessness or social isolation cope with winter weather and the economic impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) and Brexit.

The Winter Plan for Social Protection, announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, will also address domestic abuse and digital exclusion.

COVID-19 has had a significant negative effect on Scotland’s economy hitting jobs and living standards hard – and Brexit will exacerbate the situation.

With winter approaching, some of Scotland’s most at-risk communities are facing rising costs for food, fuel and other essentials.

Key elements of the plan include:

  • £22m for low income families including £16m to give the low income families of an estimated 156,000 children in receipt of free school meals a one-off £100 payment by Christmas
  • £23.5m to help vulnerable children through additional support for residential and care homes, social work, and the Children’s Hearing system
  • £15m for the Communities and Third Sector Recovery Programme to support the work of local organisations
  • £5.9m to promote digital inclusion for older people, support social isolation and loneliness and to promote equality
  • £7m to help people who are struggling to pay fuel bills
  • £5m to help those at risk of homelessness find a settled home

The Winter Plan for Social Protection also includes £15m of flexible funding for local authorities entering COVID-19 protection level 4 – announced by the First Minister earlier this month – which can be used to pay for food and essentials.

The First Minister said:

“We will shortly become the only part of the UK to give low income families an extra £10 per week for every child – initially for children up to age 6 and then for every child up to age 16.

“This has been described as a game changer in the fight to end child poverty. The first payments will be made in February, but I know that for families struggling now, February is still a long way off.

“So I am announcing today a £100 million package to bridge that gap, and help others struggling most with the impact of COVID over the winter months.

“It will include money to help people pay their fuel bills and make sure children don’t go hungry. It will offer additional help for the homeless, and fund an initiative to get older people online and connected. And it will provide a cash grant of £100 for every family with children in receipt of free school meals.

“The money will be paid before Christmas and families can use it for whatever will help them through the winter.

“That could be food, new shoes or a winter coat for the kids. Families will know best what they need – that’s not for government to decide.

“Initiatives like this are not just about providing practical help to those who need it most – they are an expression of our values and of the kind of country we are seeking to build.”

Background

The £100m Winter Plan for Social Protection has been developed to mitigate social harms posed by the concurrent risks of COVID-19, winter cost of living increases and EU exit, as well as to promote equality and human rights.

The full breakdown of the £100m fund is:

Support for families on low incomes (£22m)

Supporting services for children and young people (£23.5m)

Enhancing capacity within the third sector and communities (£15m)

Funds for local authorities moving into level 4 (£15m)

Further help with fuel costs (£7m)

Further investment in strategic national food activity (£2m)

Further investment to support people affected by homelessness (£5.14m)

Increased digital inclusion through Connecting Scotland for older people, support for social isolation and loneliness and strategic investment to promote equality (£5.91m)

A campaign on benefit uptake and income maximisation (£0.25m)

Reserve fund to meet potential pressures (£4.2m)

Categories
Social Security

£540 Million in Scottish Benefit Payments Since Launch of New System

Social Security Scotland reports on its first full financial year.

The Scottish Government has provided people who need it with over £540 million in payments since launch in September 2018 up to 31 March 2020, according to the Social Security Scotland’s annual report published today.

From 1 September 2018 to 31 March 2020, benefits were delivered that support low income families during key stages in a child’s life, people struggling to pay for funerals and unpaid carer

The support paid over the course of the financial year reporting period 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 totalled £346.7 million.

A further three benefits have been introduced since March 2020. Job Start Payment, Child Winter Heating Assistance and the Scottish Child Payment which is estimated could pay an extra £142 million to people in Scotland every year.

Joe FitzPatrick MSP (right) with David Wallace (left), Chief Executive of Social Security Scotland, on a tour of their Dundee offices.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“Social security is the most significant new public service to be created in Scotland since devolution.

“Social Security Scotland’s latest annual report shows that our new service is already supporting thousands of low income people including families with young children, carers and those who have lost loved ones. It paid out £346.7 million in the last financial year and we expect this to be much higher when we report again next year given the introduction of three more benefits – including the game changing Scottish Child Payment.

“What’s also encouraging is that over 80% of clients who rated their experience of applying for Scotland’s benefits said it was good. Making sure we get money to those who need it is our priority but to truly do things differently we want to make sure that people have a good experience – that they are treated with dignity, fairness and respect.

“Of the ten benefits we currently offer, seven are completely new forms of assistance and the others are more generous than the UK benefits they replace. And despite the impact of Covid-19, we have introduced three new benefits in the last four months and our new Scottish Child Payment that will provide eligible parents and carers with an additional £10 per child per week is open to applications and will be paid from the end of February 2021.

“Over the course of this year, the service has continued to grow and take on new responsibilities. And next year will bring even greater challenges with the introducing of the more complex disability benefits. People can be reassured that we will continue to ensure that our social security system is there for people when they need it, and is something they can be proud of.”

Chief Executive of Social Security Scotland, David Wallace said:

“I’m very proud of what we have achieved during the 2019/20 reporting period and since launching our brand new public service. And I’m pleased we have been able to effectively get money to so many people in Scotland who need it.

“There is still a lot more to do as we prepare to start to deliver the more complex disability payments and our service will continue to grow.

“The annual report demonstrates all that we have accomplished. Looking forward, our new Corporate Plan sets out what we will do to deliver on our responsibilities in the future.

“And our Charter Measurement Framework co-designed by people with lived experience of benefits – will help us measure our success.”

Background

  • Payments made during the reporting period of 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 include Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment, Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment, Best Start Grant School Age Payment, Best Start Foods, Carer’s Allowance Supplement, Young Carer Grant and Funeral Support Payment.
  • Social Security Scotland also reports on Carer’s Allowance payments that are made on its behalf through the Department for Work and Pensions.
  • Over £537 million in benefit expenditure was recorded in the Social Security Scotland annual report (£346.7 million in 2019/20 and £190.9 million in the seven months of 2018/19) with an additional £6.9 million in 2019/20 Best Start Foods payments coming from the Scottish Government’s health budget. Best Start Foods spend is accounted for in the Scottish Government’s annual accounts.
  • As of 23 November 2020, Social Security Scotland now directly administers ten benefits. Benefits introduced in 2020/21 include Job Start Payment (introduced August 2020), Scottish Child Payment (applications accepted from November 2020 with payments to start end February 2021) and Child Winter Heating Assistance (introduced November 2020)
  • Read Social Security Scotland’s latest Annual Report
  • Read Social Security Scotland’s Charter Measurement Framework 
  • Read Social Security Scotland’s Corporate Plan
  • People can find out more and apply for Social Security Scotland benefits by visiting mygov.scot/benefits
Categories
Coronavirus Health Public Health Social Security

More People Can Claim Self-Isolation Support Grant

Help extended to parents of children self-isolating.

The £500 Self-Isolation Support Grant is being extended to include parents on low incomes whose children are asked to self-isolate, Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville announced today.

The grant will also become available to those who may be eligible for Universal Credit, but have not yet applied.

Both changes will be introduced from 7 December.

Ms Somerville said:

“We introduced this grant at unprecedented speed, and I am grateful for the work of COSLA and councils to ensure it is up and running.

“While self-isolation can be difficult for everyone, we know there are particular financial barriers to complying faced by some people.

“We always said we would review this grant to make sure it worked for people who face hardship as a result of self-isolation. That is why we are making changes for some people who are not currently eligible.

“We are extending it to parents of children aged under 16 who need to take time off work because their child is told to self-isolate, and also to people who are eligible for Universal Credit, but have not claimed it – providing they fulfil all of the other criteria for the grant.

“Supporting people to self-isolate is critical to controlling the spread of the virus. These are important changes, and I am grateful to councils for their continued work to support those who can claim this grant.”

COSLA Community Wellbeing Spokesperson Councillor Kelly Parry said:

“COSLA welcomes the Self-Isolation Support Grant being extended to parents and carers of children who have been asked to stay home from school because of the virus and that it will also include those with an underlying eligibility for benefits.

“Council staff across the country have been working really hard to ensure the grant is accessible to people who have experienced a loss in income after being asked to self-isolate.

“By extending the eligibility for the grants, more people will be helped to stop the spread of the virus over the winter period.”

Background

The Self-Isolation Support Grant provides £500 for low income workers who are in receipt of Universal Credit or other benefits and will lose earnings as a result of having to self-isolate.

Parents or carers of children under 16 who are asked to self-isolate, but who are not required to self-isolate themselves, are not currently eligible for the grant.

This is why the grant will be extended to those parents and carers, where they fulfil the other eligibility criteria:

  • employed or self-employed and unable to work from home
  • in receipt of Universal Credit or one of those which will be replaced by UC (legacy benefits)
  • facing a loss of income from looking after the child during the period of self-isolation

Only one claim per household can be made, where a parent or primary carer is required to look after a child who must isolate.

Eligibility will also be extended to people with a low level of income which means they would be entitled to Universal Credit.

Categories
Social Security

£8.7 Million Funeral Support from Scottish Government

Thousands get help to cover funeral costs.

Almost 6,000 people received a Funeral Support Payment in its first full year, according to statistics published today.

Since it started making payments last September, Social Security Scotland has paid out £8.7 million to people who have lost a loved one.

Eligible applicants currently receive an average of £1,761 to help with the costs of a burial or cremation and expenses such as travel and flowers.

Funeral Support Payment replaced the UK Government’s Funeral Expense Payment in Scotland.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“Coping with the death of a loved one is one of the most difficult events any of us can face – it’s even harder when there’s extra stress trying to find the money to pay for a funeral.

“It’s important that we support people at key times like this. We want to do what we can to stop those who are dealing with grief having to get into debt too.

“The economic impact of COVID-19 means many more people are receiving Universal Credit or other qualifying benefits than previously, which means they could also be eligible for the Funeral Support Payment.

“I’d encourage anyone who thinks they might qualify for this important financial support to find out more and apply. People can apply for the payment up to 6 months after a funeral has taken place, although if you could not apply within this timescale because of COVID-19, we’ll accept your application as on time.

“Making sure that everyone gets the financial support they are entitled to is a basic step in putting dignity and respect at the heart of social security in Scotland.”

Background:

  • Read  the full report.
  • Funeral Support Payment can help cover burial or cremation costs (these costs vary throughout the country – see the published reasonable local costs.
  • The payment includes a flat rate for any other expenses – £1,000 for the majority of applications and £122.05 if the person who died had made provision for their funeral through a funeral plan. It can also cover some travel, document, and medical costs
  • Clients can find pre-application advice which includes eligibility and award amounts and apply at  mygov.scot/funeral-support-payment
  • Clients can choose to apply online, via a paper application form or by calling our specially trained Funeral Support Payment team on 0800 182 2222.
Categories
Social Security

Child Disability Payment To Be Introduced Next Summer

Update on delivery timeline for devolved benefits.

Child Disability Payment will be the next new benefit to be introduced by the Scottish Government.

In an update to the Scottish Parliament today, Cabinet Secretary for Social Security Shirley-Anne Somerville said Social Security Scotland will start taking applications from summer 2021 as part of a pilot, ahead of a full roll-out across the country from autumn 2021.

This will be followed by the introduction of Adult Disability Payment, which will be piloted from spring 2022 and available across the country by summer 2022.

Child Disability Payment will replace the DWP’s Disability Living Allowance for Children and Adult Disability Payment will replace Personal Independence Payment.

People who currently get UK Government disability benefits will be transferred to the new Scottish system in stages after the new benefits are introduced. This work is expected to be completed to the previously announced timeline of 2025.

Once Adult Disability Payment has been rolled out, anyone on Personal Independence Payment or Working Age Disability Living Allowance who reports a change in condition, has an upcoming review date, or is about to reach the end of their DWP award period, will transfer to Social Security Scotland so that they do not have to undergo a DWP face-to-face assessment.

The Cabinet Secretary also confirmed the ambition to roll out Scottish Child Payment to under-16s by the end of 2022, subject to getting the data for 6-16 year olds from the DWP.

Ms Somerville said:

“I am pleased we have been able to make progress this year with our work to establish a new social security system for Scotland, despite the impacts of COVID-19. Our progress includes the introduction of three new benefits. Our Job Start Payment helps young people starting a new job after a period of unemployment. Child Winter Heating Assistance will help families of the most seriously disabled children and young people heat their homes. And through our prioritising of the game-changing Scottish Child Payment, we were able to start taking applications for children under 6 last week.

“Ahead of COVID-19 we were on track with our other new benefits too. However, the pandemic halted that. There was a limit to what we could do given the changes to our own operations and without the valuable input from delivery partners. We were forced to review our timeline for the introduction of these more complex benefits. Given how close we were to introducing the first of our major disability assistance payments, this is of course hugely disappointing to me. I know that feeling will be shared by others.

“It is clear that while the fight against this virus continues, work needs to be re-prioritised by both the Scottish Government and our partners to focus on the response and recovery. Health and social care professionals – whose expertise we need to deliver disability benefits – are rightly working on the frontline to both fight this virus and restart health services. Councils are concentrating on maintaining services, while providing the additional support people need right now. The Department for Work and Pensions, who are essential partners in the work on the transfer of benefits, face similar challenges.

“Working with these partners we have developed as ambitious a timeline as possible, while remaining cognisant that COVID-19 is still here – indeed we remain in the grip of it. The new timeline I have set out today is reasonable and realistic.

“I am glad that I am now able to provide people with more clarity. Being transparent about our plans and what is achievable is part of ensuring our social security system continues to treat people with dignity, fairness and respect.”

Background:

  • Read the  Cabinet Secretary’s statement in full
  • This update follows an  announcement in April 2020 that outlined the impact of COVID-19 on the introduction of further devolved benefits
  • Position papers  setting out what disability benefits under the Scottish Government will look like were published last month
  • From week commencing 23 November 2020, Social Security Scotland will administer a total of ten benefits of behalf of the Scottish Government. More information on these can be found at mygov.scot/benefits or by calling 0800 182 2222
  • Work is continuing to with the UK Government to establish timelines for Scottish Carer’s Assistance, the other disability related benefits and winter benefits. People will continue to get their payments in the meantime under agency agreements with DWP
Categories
Social Security

New Benefit System to Offer Short Term Assistance During Appeals

Payment introduced to protect people when challenging benefit decisions.

People challenging disability benefit decisions will be able to claim a new Short Term Assistance payment under Scotland’s new social security system.

Short Term Assistance will mean people continue to receive the amount of money they were getting before the decision was made to lower or stop their payment.

To ensure people are not put off seeking an appeal or re-determination, they will not have to repay Short Term Assistance if the re-determination or appeal upholds the decision to lower or stop their social security payment.

This is a first for benefit delivery in the UK and it will be introduced alongside Child Disability Payment, the Scottish Government’s replacement for Disability Living Allowance for Children.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“People’s lives are complex and making benefit decisions, which take into consideration a whole range of unique circumstances, is difficult. Social Security Scotland will gather as much information as we can, working with the applicant, the wider public sector and health and social care professionals to make the right decision first time. However, we know that we won’t always get it right and where we don’t, we want people to feel able to challenge us to look again.

“This is why we are introducing Short Term Assistance. We know that it can be difficult for people who rely on disability assistance when their payment has been reduced or stopped. The decision to ask for a re-determination or appeal can be daunting. This new payment will give people the confidence to ask us to look again and to go to appeal if they feel they need to, ensuring they get everything they may be entitled while working through this process.

“We hope to drastically reduce the need for people to go through the re-determination and appeal process under our new system by getting the decisions right first time. Where we don’t get it right though, we will give people who rely on this service the opportunity to right this wrong, without being penalised.”

Background

  • While the pandemic continues to have an impact on our operations and our delivery partners – including health and social care and the Department for Work and Pensions – we are doing what we can to progress policy, design and development work. We are still working through what the impacts of COVID-19 mean for our delivery timeline and holding conversations with partners to establish what we can introduce and when.
Categories
Social Security

Applications to Open Early for Scottish Child Payment

“GAME-CHANGER” SCOTTISH CHILD PAYMENT OPENS EARLY FOR APPLICATIONS

SNP TACKLING CHILD POVERTY WHILE TORIES DUCK RESPONSIBILITIES

The new Scottish Child Payment – which has been described as a “game-changer” in the fight to tackle child poverty – will open early for applications this month.

MSP Joe FitzPatrick has encouraged parents and carers in Dundee who are eligible to apply now so that the Scottish Government can process and start making payments as quickly as possible once the benefit starts in February next year.

The SNP Government has prioritised the early introduction of the new benefit, which will provide eligible families on low incomes with a child under 6, an extra £10 per week for each child.

Latest figures estimate that 194,000 children aged under-6 in Scotland will be eligible for the new Scottish Child Payment – with over 5,200 children set to benefit in Dundee.

MSP for Dundee City West constituency, Joe FitzPatrick said:

“The Scottish Child Payment is an ambitious, game-changing new benefit which will directly tackle child poverty in Dundee and across Scotland.

“This support is needed more than ever, and it’s early introduction for under 6s – almost two years ahead of the original commitment for a new payment – will be a lifeline for so many families in Dundee.

“While the SNP does everything it can to tackle poverty, the Tories at Westminster are still helplessly trying to defend their shameless decision to deprive children of free school meals over the holidays.

“Children and families simply shouldn’t have to depend on the whim of Boris Johnson’s callous Tory government to get through this Covid-19 crisis.

“This benefit will be a lifeline for many children, young people and their families in Dundee. I’d encourage anyone who is eligible to apply as soon as possible.”

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“The Scottish Child Payment is the most ambitious anti-poverty measure currently being undertaken anywhere in the UK. Almost 60% of all children in poverty live in a family where a child is under six so I am proud we are able to introduce it early for families with young children – almost two years ahead of the original commitment for this new benefit to be introduced.”

Paul Carberry, Action for Children Director for Scotland, said:

“Action for Children staff see the effects of child poverty every day and the impact it has on many of the children and families whom we support, care for and work with. We recognise that the impact of child poverty is not only felt in purely financial means but is also measured by children having an increase in poverty of opportunity. One simple act to help reduce child poverty is by putting money in the pockets of parents.

“The Scottish Child Payment can ease the struggle some families face in providing the basics and necessities of life. The impacts of poverty are profound for Scotland’s children, from poor mental and physical health and wellbeing to poor performance at school. The Scottish Child Payment will offer vital financial support for children, young people, and their families. It can give back choice and dignity. We urge all eligible families to apply for this.”

Categories
Coronavirus Education Social Security

Funding For Those Who Need It Most

Over £30 million to tackle financial insecurity.

A £30 million package of funding is being made available to local authorities to support people facing financial hardship as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19), including money to provide free school meals over the school holidays.

Local authorities will be given flexibility to use £20 million, previously held in reserve for the Scottish Welfare Fund, to support people in their communities.

A further £10 million has been made available so councils can continue providing free school meals through the winter breaks with future funding confirmed to extend support over Easter.

Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“No one should be struggling to put food on the table, keep the lights on, or stay warm at home in the midst of this pandemic. With continuing uncertainty around Brexit and the furlough scheme being scaled back we are doing all we can to ensure the right support gets to people at the right time in the right way.

“We know a healthy meal during the school day helps children to learn – but right now it’s an essential to support families at such a difficult time. This money will offer nutritious free meals for children or allow families to get food they desperately need.

“Those experiencing financial hardship can currently apply to the Scottish Welfare Fund and seek advice on which benefits they can receive. However, this will not be suitable for everyone: some people are not eligible for crisis grants or already receive the full benefits they are entitled to, while others may need immediate support with food and essentials.

“We are giving local authorities greater flexibility over funding held in reserve for the Scottish Welfare Fund, to support local action and address people’s needs. This may include supplementing local budgets for the Scottish Welfare Fund to meet demand, providing financial support to tackle food insecurity or to meet fuel costs, or boosting local funding for Discretionary Housing Payments.

“Additionally we are making further resource available to continue the provision of Free School Meals over forthcoming holidays, including Easter.”

Chair of the Poverty and Inequality Commission Bill Scott, said:

“We welcome this much needed additional help for low income families and individuals. The funding for Free School Meals during the Christmas, February and Easter breaks will come as a great relief for many hard pressed parents.

“We would urge local authorities to use the flexibility given to them by Scottish Government to ensure that every penny of extra help available gets to those who need it most.”

COSLA’s spokesperson for Resources Councillor Gail Macgregor, and spokesperson for Community Wellbeing Councillor Kelly Parry said:

“The impacts of the virus have not been felt equally across society and we welcome this funding which can be used flexibly by councils, enabling them to provide more support for those who need it most in our communities.

“Local authorities will deploy it in ways that best meets local circumstance, to provide the most effective support to those experiencing financial hardship, for example through grants, addressing food insecurity, or support for fuel costs. We know that as winter arrives and the furlough scheme draws to a close unfortunately more adults and children are likely to need assistance to ensure they are fed and warm. Local Government is the anchor in our communities and is able to provide advice, support and assistance to those that need it.”

Background

On 18 March the Communities Secretary announced £350 million of funding to support communities at risk as a result of the pandemic.

This included a £45 million boost to the Scottish Welfare Fund, of which £22 million was allocated immediately to local authorities, increasing the available budget for awards in 2020-21 to £57.5 million. A further £3 million has been committed as an increase to the budget available for Discretionary Housing Payments.

By enabling local authorities to be more flexible in the way they use this remaining £20 million we are ensuring that they can support those with No Recourse to Public Funds who are destitute and do not have access to mainstream benefits.

The Scottish Government provided local authorities with additional resource to provide Free School Meals over the Easter and the summer holidays. By the end of the summer period 156,000 children were benefitting from this support, having peaked at around 175,000 prior to summer, providing vital support to protect the health and wellbeing of children.

Local authorities who continued Free School Meal provision over October holidays will be reimbursed through this funding package.

Categories
Coronavirus Social Security

Self-Isolation Support Grant Now Open

People to receive phone calls offering support.

Applications for the Self-Isolation Support Grant have opened for low income workers who are asked to self-isolate and would lose income if they needed to isolate.

The £500 grant will help those who have been asked by Test and Protect to isolate, following testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or having been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.

Applications can be made to Dundee City Council at https://www.dundeecity.gov.uk/coronavirus/support-and-testing#

These payments are designed to help people self-isolate for the required period to stop the spread of the virus, but who would face financial hardship due to being asked to self-isolate and will be targeted at those in receipt of Universal Credit or legacy benefits who are employed or self-employed.

The Local Self-Isolation Assistance Service is also being introduced to support people needing to isolate. As well as being able to self-refer for support through the existing National Assistance Helpline, local authorities will now proactively contact those being asked to self-isolate to offer help, advice and assistance including help to access essential food and medication or local support services.

The service will deliver an initial 30 minute call, followed up by two 10 minute calls during the period of self-isolation and will initially prioritise the most vulnerable individuals. This will ensure people are referred to the relevant services for support while maximising uptake of the Self-Isolation Support Grant for those who are eligible.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“Self-isolation is essential to protect people and reduce the spread of COVID-19 but we do not want people to experience financial hardship, particularly those with no access to public funds, due to a loss of income as a result of doing the right thing. Whilst employers should do everything they can to allow people to work from home we know this isn’t always possible so this £500 grant is there to help.

“We know self-isolating can be tough, and want to do everything we can to support people throughout this challenging time. Our new assistance phone service will proactively contact people who have been asked to self-isolate and direct them to support that they may need, for example access to food or medicines, the Self-Isolation Grant or other financial support they may be eligible for, as well as other local services including community volunteering, emotional support and social work.

“This service will initially focus on those who are on the shielding list, people aged 70+, disabled people, and people in low income households. We are considering how we roll this service out to further groups to reach even more people and provide support for them to isolate.”

COSLA Community Wellbeing Spokesperson Councillor Kelly Parry said:

“We are pleased that the Scottish Government, working in partnership with Scottish local government, have made available this grant to provide financial assistance to those on low incomes who need to self-isolate. Local councils are well placed to provide advice, support and assistance which will help reduce the social and economic impacts of the pandemic.

“Staying home to stop the spread of COVID-19 is the right thing to do to ensure that members of our communities who are most at risk and vulnerable to the effects of the virus are kept safe. This grant will assist those who will lose income as a result and are at most risk of financial hardship, including those with no recourse to public funds, stay home and reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

Background

People will be informed on how to apply for the Self-Isolation Support Grant after they have been contacted by Test and Protect and asked to self-isolate through a follow up call from their local authority. People may make an application of their own accord prior to the follow-up call from their local authority.

Payments are available to eligible people who were told to self-isolate from 28 September onwards.

The Self-Isolation Support Grant does not cover people who are quarantining after returning to the UK from abroad, unless they have tested positive for coronavirus or have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by the Test and Protect Service.

Grants can be received more than once if people are asked to self-isolate on more than one occasion, as long as these do not overlap.

The Local Self-Isolation Assistance Service will deliver an initial 30 minute triaging call, followed up by two 10 minute calls through the individuals period of self-isolation. People contacted and informed of the need to self-isolate by contact tracers will be asked whether they wish to opt-in to their details being passed to local authorities to receive this new service. For people who are not in priority groups or are self-isolating but have not been contacted by contact tracing teams, the existing National Assistance Helpline is available to support them.

Clients may opt-out at this stage, or on any of the calls from local authorities if they choose to opt-in. If they opt-out, they can still access support by phoning the existing National Assistance Helpline.