The Scottish Government has eased eligibility for some benefits to help people through Covid19.
Coronavirus (Scotland) Act is emergency legislation to help businesses, public services and people through the ongoing pandemic.
This includes some changes to the way Social Security Scotland administer some benefits.
These changes ensure people can still access support should Covid19 impact on their ability to get their application in within the set timescales.
- Pregnancy and Baby Payment– applications could potentially be made up to the day a child turns one, or one year and six months for an application from a kinship carer. Parents or carers under the age of 18 are automatically entitled to this payment – even if they are not on benefits. People could still be eligible after their 18th birthday if Covid19 meant that they couldn’t get their application in on time.
- Early Learning Payment – eligibility could increase up to a child’s 4th birthday. Parents or carers under the age of 18 are automatically entitled to this payment – even if they are not on benefits. People could still be eligible after their 18th birthday if Covid19 meant that they couldn’t get their application in on time.
- School Age Payment– as with Pregnancy and Baby Payment and Early Learning Payment, parents or carers under the age of 18 are automatically entitled to this payment – even if they are not on benefits. People could still be eligible after their 18th birthday if Covid19 meant that they couldn’t get their application in on time.
- Young Carer Grant– clients could remain eligible after they turn 19.
- Funeral Support Payment– Applications can be made up to six months following a funeral. The six month rule can be ignored for clients applying late, if the reason for delay is in relation to Covid19.
There are no changes for Best Start Foods or Carer’s Allowance Supplement. There are some changes for wider carers support provided through the Scottish Government.
Redeterminations and Appeals
In addition to the changes for new applicants, this Act has also allowed more time for Social Security Scotland’s redeterminations and appeals process.
Clients can normally submit re-determination requests up to one year from the date of receiving their original decision, as long as they have a good reason. The impact of Covid19 will now be considered as a potential good reason.
If somebody is coming up to the end of their year-long period for a redetermination or appeal, and missed this deadline due to a Covid19 reason, Social Security Scotland and the Tribunal will have discretion to allow late requests.
The deadline for processing re-determinations has also been extended. On top of the current 16 working day deadline, there is now an additional nine weeks, although Social Security Scotland are still required to make all redeterminations as soon as reasonably possible.
How to access
Social Security Scotland and the Scottish Government are working hard to put these changes in place. In the meantime clients are urged to continue with their online applications by visiting mygov.scot/benefits.
You may receive automatic prompts advising that you are not eligible but you should continue with their applications and given they have a reasonable delay relating to Covid19 their application will still be considered.
Social Security Scotland are urging people to apply online in the first instance but those who are not able can request a call back by calling 0800 182 2222 Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm.
Epilepsy Scotland is offering free benefit checks to people with epilepsy who think they might be eligible for these benefits. Get in touch with us by calling on 0141 427 4911 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.