Social Security Scotland has published its Annual Report and Accounts, which show that it made £641 million in direct payments in the year to March 31, 2023.
The Scottish Government said a combination of direct payments made by Social Security Scotland and those paid through “Agency Agreements” with the UK’s Department for Work and Pensions saw the Scottish Government “invest £4.04 billion in benefits across Scotland.”
The Social Security Scotland payments were made via 13 Scottish benefits, seven of which are new forms of support not available anywhere else in the UK.
“This includes the Scottish Child Payment which has been extended to eligible children under the age of 16,” said the Scottish Government.
“More than 300,000 young people are now receiving this payment.
“The payments also include the new Winter Heating Payment, which has helped almost 400,000 people on low incomes with their heating costs.
“The results of an annual survey of clients have also been published, showing that 93% of people who had been in contact with Social Security Scotland felt they had been treated with kindness …
“In total, the combination of direct payments made by Social Security Scotland and those paid through Agency Agreements with the Department for Work and Pensions saw the Scottish Government invest £4.04 billion in benefits across Scotland.”
Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “We are supporting families across the country at a time where they are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis and higher energy bills.
“We now deliver 13 benefits, seven of which are only available in Scotland and are delivering these payments while treating people with dignity, fairness and respect.
“Our decision to expand the Scottish Child Payment to all eligible young people under the age of 16 and increase the payment to £25 per week means we are supporting more than 300,000 children and making a significant contribution to tackling child poverty.
“As we prepare to launch Carer Support Payment, our 14th benefit, we are committed to making sure that people get the money they are entitled to and that people who are eligible know how to apply for our payments.”
Social Security Scotland CEO David Wallace, said: “This last year has been the busiest in our five-year history.
“We have significantly expanded our service, including the national rollout of Adult Disability Payment, the extension of the Scottish Child Payment and paid Winter Heating Payment for the first time.
“We are continuing to develop and improve our service.
“Despite some challenges with processing times, which we are actively working to improve, we still maintained high client satisfaction rates.
“In our annual Client Survey, 93% of people who participated told us they were treated with kindness.”