There have been £290,000 in benefit payments to Western Isles residents in the 18 months of the work of Social Security Scotland.

That's from the launch by the Scottish Government in September 2018 up to 31 March 2020, according to the Social Security Scotland’s annual report published yesterday (Tuesday December 1).

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

The support paid to people across Scotland over the course of this financial year (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.

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.”

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.  Read Social Security Scotland’s latest Annual Report at https://www.socialsecurity.gov.scot/reporting/publications/annual-report-and-accounts