Benefits in Scotland are changing. Broadly, some benefits will now be assessed and distributed by an executive agency of the Scottish Government known as Social Security Scotland, rather than by the Department of Work and Pensions ("DWP").

Social Security Scotland

Social Security Scotland is one the most significant public services introduced in the country since devolution. 12 new Scottish benefits have been introduced. 11 of these will replace benefits already administered by the DWP. The Young Carer's Grant (an annual payment of around £300 available to adults between the ages of 16-18 who have caring responsibilities) is a new benefit unique to Scotland.

One of the most important changes to existing benefits in Scotland is to financial assistance for those living with a disability or long-term health condition. Personal Independence Payment ("PIP") and Disability Living Allowance for Children ("DLA") are being replaced with Adult Disability Payment ("ADP") and Child Disability Payment ("CDP") respectively.

Means tested income support like Universal Credit will continue to be administered by the DWP though Social Security Scotland is working with the DWP to introduce flexibilities in terms of the way in which this is paid.

Disability payments to adults and children in Scotland

The move from DWP to Social Security Scotland

ADP and CDP will be managed by Social Security Scotland. Practically, this means that those living in Scotland and currently receiving PIP or DLA will receive correspondence from the DWP and Social Security Scotland telling them that their case is being transferred to Social Security Scotland. Social Security Scotland have made clear that the move will be automatic and those currently in receipt of disability benefits administered by the DWP will continue to receive the same amount on the same day after the transfer to Social Security Scotland.

New applications for disability benefits in Scotland

Social Security Scotland have drafted a Charter in partnership with service users and stakeholders to outline what you can expect from the Scottish Government and Social Security Scotland. The Scottish Government has committed to campaigning for benefits take up to ensure that those who are eligible are receiving their full entitlement.

Scottish benefits and personal injury trusts

Beneficiaries of personal injury trusts currently receiving benefits administered through the DWP will be unaffected by the transfer to Social Security Scotland.

Any means tested benefits (like Universal Credit) will be unaffected. Funds in a personal injury trust will continue to be disregarded in an assessment for means tested assistance from Social Security Scotland.

Crucially, those in receipt of either of:

(1) the daily living component at the standard or enhanced rate; or 

(2) the mobility component of ADP will qualify as a "disabled person" within the meaning of inheritance tax legislation. This is important because disabled persons' trusts qualify for special and preferential inheritance tax treatment. You can read more about this here.

If you think you or someone you know would benefit from a discussion on personal injury trusts and how these interact with benefits please contact Jessica Flowerdew on 0131 656 0285 or at