Benefits checklist: Are you claiming all the money you’re entitled to in Scotland?

More than eight million low-income households across the UK will receive a one-time cost of living payment of £650 this year.

The tax-free grant will be paid directly to households on means-tested benefits as part of a £37billion package to help vulnerable families.

It will be paid in two lump sums, including an amount of £326 paid from July 14 and another from £324 released in the fall.

Pensioners will also receive a supplement £300 in winter alongside fuel allowance.

Every household in the country, regardless of income, will receive a £400 reduction on energy bills.

Disabled people will receive a supplement £150 at the top.

But what other benefits and cost-cutting programs might the Scots miss out on? Here are some ways you could potentially pocket more money.

pensions

Low-income pensioners are urged to check whether they qualify for a top-up as thousands of households are cut off from essential support.

The UK government estimates around £1.7 billion in Pension credit is unclaimed, with families potentially missing out £1,900.

The report estimates that 850,000 families did not apply for a pension credit in 2019/2020, around three in ten.

It could also entitle you to help with NHS costs like glasses and a free tv license if you are over 75.

Retiree households that receive the Winter Fuel Payment will receive a top-up of £200 and £300 in November and December.

Payment of the cost of living in the event of disability

People will get £150 in September if they already claim one of the following:

  • Disabled allowance
  • Payment for personal independence
  • Attendance allowance
  • Scottish invalidity benefits
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Constant attendance allowance
  • War pension mobility supplement

Help with housing costs

In Scotland, if you rent your home and receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, but still cannot afford your housing costs, you may be eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

You may be eligible if you:

  • Apply for housing assistance but it does not cover all your rent
  • Apply for universal credit but you still can’t afford your housing costs
  • Need help with moving expenses
  • Need help with rent deposit

Your local council is responsible for deciding whether you will receive a discretionary housing payment.

Energy bills

In October, each household will receive a £400 premium energy. This does not have to be refunded.

If you are having difficulty with your invoices, you should contact your supplier first.

The Home Heating Support Fund works with the Scottish Government to help people facing financial hardship.

The program has been extended until March 31, 2023 or until funds are exhausted.

Grants are available to help retirees with their energy bills.iStock
Grants are available to help retirees with their energy bills.

Help with heating in winter

Winter Heating Assistance for Low-Income People is a new government benefit designed to replace the cold weather payment.

If the seven-day average temperature in your area falls below freezing between November and March, those eligible will be entitled to a cold weather payment of £25 per week to cover fuel costs.

Child winter heating aid

Child Winter Heating Assistance is a Scottish Government benefit.

It was first paid in 2020 and is designed to help children and young people with disabilities and their families cope with rising heating costs during the winter.

Paid once a year, usually from the end of November, it’s worth £214.10 in 2022-23.

School uniforms

Parents and guardians can get a school clothing grant from their local council.

This is normally a cash grant paid directly into your bank account. The right may vary depending on the rules of the authority.

Anyone who receives a school clothing scholarship will receive at least:

  • £120 per child of primary school age
  • £150 per child of secondary school age

You may be able to apply for free school meals at the same time you apply for the clothing subsidy.

Other payments for parents and guardians

The Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods are payments that help cover costs related to pregnancy or child care.

The Best Start Grant is made up of three installments:

  • Pregnancy and Baby Payment
  • Early learning payment
  • School age payment

Best Start Foods is a prepaid card that can be used in stores or online to buy healthy foods like milk or fruit.

The payouts you can get now will depend on:

  • What stage of your pregnancy are you at?
  • How old is your child

How can I check what I can claim?

Colin Mathieson, spokesperson for Advice Direct Scotland, said: “The cost of living has risen for everyone in recent months, with budgets stretched to breaking point for many.

“There are practical things we can do to try to improve our situation in the face of rising costs.

“Many Scottish citizens are not claiming the full benefits to which they are entitled.

“You can check your entitlement to help, including Scottish Devolved Benefits, using the benefit calculator available at www.advice.scot.

“We also have a range of services available, including help for people struggling with debt and energy bills, as well as sources of financial support.”