What to claim

How to claim

How to claim Universal Credit: step by step

How to claim Universal Credit: step by step

How to claim New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA): step by step

How to claim New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA): step by step

How to claim New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA): step by step

How to claim New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA): step by step

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In a Crisis

The Scottish Welfare Fund provides financial support if you are facing a crisis or need help to live in the community. This is normally in the form of a one-off grant to help with living costs. The fund does not cover ongoing expenses. You do not need to pay the money back. There are two kinds of grants.

  • Crisis grants – to help meet immediate needs after an emergency or disaster. For example you can apply for things like food, heating costs, nappies, toiletries and travel.
  • Community care grants – to help people to settle in a new home, when moving from an “unsettled way of life” (for example hospital, prison or a homeless accommodation unit). They can also support families who are facing exceptional pressure. For example you can apply for things like furniture or carpets.

If you live in Aberdeen City

If you live in Aberdeenshire

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DWP Budgeting Loans

  • Check you’re eligible before you apply for a Budgeting Loan.
  • You can apply online or using a paper form. It’s quicker to apply online.
  • Do not apply if you get Universal Credit, ‘new style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance or ‘new style’ Employment and Support Allowance. Apply for a Budgeting Advance instead if you get Universal Credit.

Universal Credit Advance and hardship payments

  • If you do not have enough to live on while you wait for your first payment you can ask for an advance payment after you’ve made a claim.
  • You can also ask for a hardship payment if you cannot pay for rent, heating, food or hygiene needs because you got a sanction.
  • You need to pay it back through your Universal Credit payments – they’ll be lower until you pay it back.

Budgeting Advance

You might be able to get a Budgeting Advance to help with:

  • emergency household costs such as replacing a broken cooker
  • getting a job or staying in work
  • funeral costs

To apply, you can do any of the following:

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Subject to immigration control?

  • a person subject to immigration control can get help via the best start foods scheme where they have British children – this will only apply if one or more of the children are under 3.

Information is here:



Child Disability Payment

If you have no recourse to public funds and therefor subject to immigration control, if you have a British Citizen child they can claim Child Disability Payment.

The child would still need to meet the residence conditions and have been in the common travel area (UK, Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man) for at least 26 weeks, is habitually resident in the common travel area and ordinarily resident in Scotland.

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Disability Benefits

Adult Disability Payment

  • Adult Disability Payment is extra money to help you if you have a disability or long-term health condition that affects your everyday life.
  • Apply online
  • To apply by phone and paper call Social Security Scotland free on 0800 182 2222

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Carers Allowance

  • You can claim if you care for someone at least 35 hours a week and they get certain benefits. You do not have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for. You do not get paid extra if you care for more than one person. If someone else also cares for the same person as you, only one of you can claim Carer’s Allowance. You can backdate your claim by up to 3 months.
  • Apply online
  • Telephone: 0800 731 0297
    • Carers Allowance Unit
      Mail Handling Site A
      WV98 2AB

Carer’s Allowance Supplement

  • Carer’s Allowance Supplement is an extra payment for people in Scotland who get Carer’s Allowance on a particular date.  Carer’s Allowance Supplement is paid 2 times a year.
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Child Disability Payment

  • Child Disability Payment provides support for the extra costs that a disabled child might have. Child Disability Payment replaces Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children and young people living in Scotland. You can apply for Child Disability Payment for a disabled child under 16.
  • Apply online
  • Phone and paper claim. You can call Social Security Scotland by phone to start an application for a child. Freephone: 0800 182 2222
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Independent Living Fund Scotland (ILF Scotland)

The Independent Living Fund (ILF) Scotland give financial support to disabled people so they can live independently. The ILF Scotland currently delivers:

  • the 2015 Fund – providing discretionary payments to disabled people, allowing them to purchase care and support to live independently
  • the Transition Fund – providing up to £4000 to help young disabled people transition into adulthood, and become more engaged and active in their communities
  • the Person Centred Planning Grant – helping young disabled people plan for the future (ahead of an application to the Transition Fund) and
  • The Technology Grant – helping young disabled people to get online.


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Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit claim forms to print and fill in with a pen.

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit claim forms – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

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If you are on a low income and have children at school, you may be entitled to financial support.

Support for Families 2023
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Best Start Grants and Best Start Foods

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Child Benefit

  • You get Child Benefit if you’re responsible for bringing up a child who is under 16 or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training. Only one person can get Child Benefit for a child. There’s no limit to how many children you can claim for.
  • Fill in Child Benefit claim form CH2 and send it to the Child Benefit Office. The address is on the form.
  • Child Benefit helpline: 0300 200 3100
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Child winter heating assistance

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Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)

  • An Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is an allowance of £30 per week, which can be paid to eligible students who stay on in education after the age of 16 years. Your EMA is paid every 2 weeks during school term time and it is not paid during the holidays.
  • You need to complete a new application form and Learning Agreement every academic session.

Aberdeenshire Council Education Maintenance Allowance Application Form

Aberdeen City Council Education Maintenance Allowance Application Form

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Free School Meals

  • Children at local council schools can get free school meals during term-time in primary 1 to 5, your family’s financial circumstances do not matter.
  • Pupils are eligible for free school meals if their parents or carers receive certain benefits.

Free School Meal Vouchers during holidays

  • Vouchers are paid to families in receipt of free school meals during holiday periods. Vouchers will be sent by email or mobile text message for each child in a family in receipt of free school meals due to low-income. Vouchers are issued to the main contact for the child. We use the information held by your child’s school to issue vouchers so please ensure your contact information is correct at your child’s school.
  • Vouchers are only available for children in Primary 1 to Secondary 6 in receipt of free school meals due to low-income.

Free School Meal Vouchers in Aberdeen

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School Clothing Grants

You can apply for a school clothing grant if you or your family receive certain benefits. You can only apply for children attending school or about to enter Primary 1. If you are an eligible student who receives an Education Maintenance Allowance you can apply for a school clothing grant for yourself. You can apply for a school clothing grant online. Before you apply online, you will need to set up an account. This is so you can track the progress of your application.

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Scottish Child Payment

Scottish Child Payment helps towards the costs of supporting your family. It’s a weekly payment of £25 that you can get for every child you look after who’s under 16 years of age. Scottish Child Payment does not affect any other UK or Scottish Government benefits that you, or any person in your household, currently get. 

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Social tariffs: Cheaper broadband and phone packages

  • Social tariffs are cheaper broadband and phone packages for people claiming Universal Credit, Pension Credit and some other benefits. Some providers call them ‘essential’ or ‘basic’ broadband.
  • They’re delivered in the same way as normal packages, just at a lower price. Amid rising living costs, Ofcom is encouraging companies to offer social tariffs to help customers on low incomes.

Full list of broadband and phone social tariffs.

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Young Carer Grant

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Council Tax Reduction

  • Apply to your local council for Council Tax Reduction (sometimes called Council Tax Support). You’ll get a discount on your bill if you’re eligible.
  • You could be eligible if you’re on a low income or claim benefits. Your bill could be reduced by up to 100%. You can apply if you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working.
  • Visit Aberdeen City Council website – www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/services/council-tax
  • Visit Aberdeenshire Council website – www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/council-tax/
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Discretionary Housing Payments

If you rent your home and you get Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, but still can’t afford your housing costs, you may be eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment. A Discretionary Housing Payment can be made if you:

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Housing Benefit

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Universal Credit Housing Costs

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No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF)

The NRPF condition means you will not be able to claim most benefits, tax credits or housing assistance that are paid by the state. There are exceptions for some benefits.
There are exceptions for some benefits. If you are in any doubt, you should contact the department or agency that issues the benefit. This will often be the Department for Work and PensionsHM Revenue & Customs or Social Security Scotland
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Benefits that are not public funds

A person with no recourse to public funds is only excluded from claiming benefits that are classed as ‘public funds’ for immigration purposes. Therefore, a person with no recourse to public funds may be able to claim any other benefit if they meet the qualifying requirements. 

Non means-tested benefits 

Non means-tested benefits are available to a person who has previously worked and/or paid National Insurance contributions. Such benefits are not classed as ‘public funds’ for immigration purposes.    
Non means-tested benefits (that are not ‘public funds’) include:
  • Bereavement Support Payment (this replaced Bereavement Benefit and Widow’s Benefit)
  • New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance and contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance 
  • New Style Employment and Support Allowance and contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Guardian’s Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Retirement Pension
  • Statutory Maternity Pay
  • Statutory Sickness Pay   
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Best Start Foods if you have no access to public funds

You may be able to get Best Start Foods for your child even if you cannot get certain benefits because of your immigration status. This is also called having no access to public funds.
You can get Best Start Foods if you meet all of these conditions:
  • you’re responsible for at least one child under 3 who’s a British citizen (not including pregnancies)
  • your family income is £726 or less a month after tax
  • you’re not able to claim public funds either because of your immigration status or because you do not have an immigration status
When you apply, you need to tell Social Security Scotland that you’re applying under these conditions.
They’ll ask you to provide some supporting information for each of these conditions.
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Children’s Social Care

When a parent cannot access benefits and housing assistance due to having no recourse to public funds, their local council may have a duty to provide accommodation and financial support if their child is assessed as being in need by social services. 
Social services’ support is not classed as a public fund for immigration purposes and can be accessed by a person who is subject to the ‘no recourse to public funds’ (NRPF) condition.
Migrants’ rights and entitlements guidance (Scotland)
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Over State Pension Age

Attendance Allowance

  • Attendance Allowance is a benefit for people over State Pension age who need help with personal care or supervision because of illness or disability.
  • Use the Attendance Allowance claim form to apply by post.
  • Send the completed form to:
    • Freepost DWP Attendance Allowance
  • You do not need a postcode or a stamp.
  • Attendance Allowance helpline 0800 731 012 

AgeUK Factsheet – Attendance Allowance

  • This factsheet gives information about Attendance Allowance, a non-means tested benefit for people over State Pension age (currently 66) who have care needs. It explains what Attendance Allowance is, the eligibility criteria, and how to make a claim. It explains what to do if you have a change of circumstance

CarersUK Factsheet – Attendance Allowance

  • Attendance Allowance is a benefit that helps pay for your care needs if you have a disability or a long-term illness and have reached State Pension age. Attendance Allowance can be paid regardless of your income, savings or National Insurance contribution record and is a tax-free benefit.
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Housing Benefit/Council Tax Reduction

  • Housing Benefit & Council Tax Reduction can help you pay your rent and council tax if you’re unemployed, on a low income or claiming benefits. It’s being replaced by Universal Credit.
  • You can only make a new claim for Housing Benefit & Council Tax Reductio  if you have reached State Pension age or you’re in supported, sheltered or temporary housing
  • For more information see here –
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Pension Credit

  • Pension Credit gives you extra money to help with your living costs if you’re over State Pension age and on a low income. You might get extra help if you’re a carer, severely disabled, or responsible for a child or young person. Pension Credit is separate from your State Pension. You can get Pension Credit even if you have other income, savings or own your own home.
  • You can start your application up to 4 months before you reach State Pension age.
  • Apply online
  • Apply by phone. A friend or family member can call for you if you cannot use the phone. Pension Credit claim line
    Telephone: 0800 99 1234
  • Apply by post. To apply by post, print out and fill in the Pension Credit claim form or call the claim line to request a form. Send the claim form to the Pension Service, or ask someone to do it for you.
    • The Pension Service 8
      Post Handling Site B
      WV99 1AN
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Working Age Benefits

Universal Credit

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New Style Employment & Support Allowance

  • New Style ESA is a contributory benefit. Normally, this means you may be able to get it if you’ve paid or been credited with enough National Insurance contributions in the 2 full tax years before the year you’re claiming in.
  • Apply for New Style ESA online.
  • Jobcentre Plus new claims helpline: 0800 055 6688
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New Style Jobseekers Allowance

  • New Style JSA is a contribution based benefit. Normally, this means you may be able to get it if you’ve paid enough National Insurance (NI) contributions, usually in the 2 full tax years before the year you’re claiming in.
  • Apply for New Style JSA online
  • Jobcentre Plus new claims helpline: 0800 055 668
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Bereavement Benefits

Bereavement Support Payment

  • You may be able to get Bereavement Support Payment if your partner has died. It has replaced the following benefits:

    • Widowed Parent’s Allowance – if you already get this, your payments will continue until you’re no longer eligible
    • Bereavement Allowance (previously Widow’s Pension)
    • Bereavement Payment
  • It’s usually paid as a one-off payment followed by up to 18 monthly payments.
  • Eligibility

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Funeral Support Payment

  • Funeral Support Payment helps pay for funeral costs if you live in Scotland. You can use the payment towards funeral costs for a baby, child or adult. This includes babies who were stillborn. It usually will not cover the full cost of the funeral but it should help pay for some costs. It can be paid either to you or the funeral director who’s helping you plan the funeral.

  • Apply online
  • Apply by phone on 0800 182 2222

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Guardian’s Allowance

You could get Guardian’s Allowance if you’re bringing up a child whose parents have died. You may also be eligible if there’s one surviving parent. You get it on top of Child Benefit and it’s tax-free.


To get Guardian’s Allowance all of the following must apply:

  • you’re bringing up someone else’s child
  • the child’s parents are dead (see conditions for one surviving parent below)
  • you qualify for Child Benefit

One of the parents must also have been either:

  • born in the UK or a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland
  • living in the UK since the age of 16 for at least 52 weeks in any 2-year period

If you adopt a child you may still get Guardian’s Allowance as long as you were getting it before you adopted the child.

If there is one surviving parent

You could get Guardian’s Allowance if one of the following is true:

  • you do not know where the surviving parent is
  • the parents were divorced or their civil partnership had dissolved, the surviving parent does not have custody and is not maintaining the child and there is not a court order in place saying they should
  • the parents were not married, the mother has died and the father is unknown
  • the surviving parent will be in prison for at least 2 years from the date of death of the other parent
  • the surviving parent is in a hospital by court order

How to claim

To avoid losing money, claim Guardian’s Allowance as soon as the child comes to live with you.

  1. Fill in the claim form (BG1). 
  2. Send it to the Guardian’s Allowance Unit with the child’s full birth certificate and the parents’ death certificates (or certificate if one parent has died) – send originals.
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CPAG eBulletins

CPAG quarterly ebulletin keeps you up to date with changes in benefits that may affect students.

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How studying may affect your benefits

Most full-time students cannot claim benefits. You may eligible for benefits if you’re a full-time student and you

  • are a young person studying a further education (FE) course, and estranged (or similar) from your parents
  • are a parent
  • have a disability

If you’re claiming benefits, the income you get from student funding may reduce the amount of money you’re able to receive.

What benefits are affected by student loans, grants or bursaries

The table below shows which benefits can be reduced by student funding, not whether you can get these benefits if you are studying.

Benefits affected

Benefits not affected

Universal Credit

contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

Income Support

contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance

income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

Pension Credit

income-related Employment and Support Allowance

Disability Living Allowance

Housing Benefit

PIP (Personal Independence Payment)

Council Tax Reduction (students are usually exempt)

Attendance Allowance


Carer’s Allowance


Child Benefit


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Boost for Scottish students as they’re to get extra living costs support

Support for Scottish students towards living costs for the 2024/25 academic year

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