Although the primary income-related benefit, Universal Credit, is paid by the UK Government, we fund a number of additional benefits to give low-income households extra support.
Scottish Welfare Fund
The Scottish Welfare Fund provides a safety net for vulnerable people on low incomes through the provision of Community Care Grants and Crisis Grants. The Fund is a national scheme that continues to help Scottish households in need. From 1 April 2013 to 30 June 2017 265,000 individual households in Scotland have been helped with awards totalling £140 million. Of the 265,000 households, almost 144,000 were single person households and more than 87,000 were families with children.
Community Care Grants made under the scheme aim to help vulnerable people set up home, or continue to live independently within their community, specifically:
- helping families under exceptional pressure
- helping people following a period of care or homelessness
- helping people continue to live independently where there's a risk of care or homelessness
- helping people meet additional costs associated with looking after someone on temporary release from prison or a young offenders' institution Crisis Grants made under the scheme aim to help people facing a disaster or emergency.
- A disaster might mean a fire or a flood
- An emergency, for example, running out of food, might be caused by a sudden loss of income
Discretionary Housing Payments and the Bedroom Tax
From 2018, our new social security powers will enable us to cancel out the 'bedroom tax' for more than 70,000 households.
We are taking full responsibility for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs), which are sums paid to Housing Benefit recipients who need additional help to meet their rent payments. These are paid at the discretion of the claimant's local authority.
This enables us to raise DHP funding by £7.7 million in 2018, making a total of £57.9 million available to local authorities to be split as follows:
- £47 million to cancel out the Bedroom Tax for more than 70,000 households, up from £45.2 million in 2017
- £10.9 million to help mitigate other UK Government policies, such as the Benefit Cap and Local Housing Allowance rates, up from £4.8 million in 2017