Children's handbook Scotland
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Children's handbook Scotland
Children’s Handbook Scotland

10th edition

Alison Gillies

Child Poverty Action Group works on behalf of the nearly one in three children in the UK growing up in poverty. It doesn’t have to be like this. We use our understanding of what causes poverty and the impact it has on children’s lives to campaign for policies that will prevent and solve poverty – for good. We provide training, advice and information to make sure hard-up families get the financial support they need. We also carry out high profile legal work to establish and protect families’ rights. If you are not already supporting us, please consider making a donation, or ask for details of our membership schemes, training courses and publications.



Published by Child Poverty Action Group

30 Micawber Street

London N1 7TB

Tel: 020 7837 7979

© Child Poverty Action Group 2017




This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

A CIP record for this book is available from the British Library


ISBN: 978 1 910715 28 4


Child Poverty Action Group is a charity registered in England and Wales (registration number 294841) and in Scotland (registration number SC039339), and is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England (registration number 1993854). VAT number: 690 808117

Cover design by Colorido Studios 

Internal design by Devious Designs

Typeset by David Lewis XML Associates Ltd

Printed and bound in the UK by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon CR0 4YY

The author

Alison Gillies is a welfare rights worker with CPAG in Scotland, working on its Children and Families Project.


Grateful thanks are due to Ed Pybus for his time and expertise in checking this Handbook and to Judith Paterson for her ongoing support, encouragement and assistance. Many thanks also to the parent advisers at Contact a Family for their expertise and advice.

Many thanks go to everyone at CPAG in Scotland for their invaluable support and practical help.

Thanks to Nicola Johnston for editing and managing the production of the book, Anne Ketley for compiling the index and Pauline Phillips for proofreading the text.

CPAG would like to thank the Scottish government for its financial support in the production of this Handbook. 



Online Handbook and further training, information and advice

With the assistance of Scottish government funding, this Handbook is available free online at CPAG in Scotland also provides training, advice and information to frontline advisers on benefits and tax credits for families and children. Please contact Alison Gillies on 0141 548 1056 for details of the support we can offer. For specific advice queries, contact our adviser’s advice line on 0141 552 0552 on Monday to Thursday between 10am to 4pm and on Fridays between 10am and 12 noon.

We would be very grateful if users of this book could send any comments, corrections or suggestions for inclusion in the next edition to CPAG in Scotland, Unit 9, Ladywell, 94 Duke Street, Glasgow G4 0UW; email

The law covered in this book was correct on 31 August 2017 and includes regulations laid up to this date.


How to use this Handbook

This Handbook is intended for those who advise and work with children and families in Scotland. It covers situations where a child is living away from home, or away from her/his parents, for a variety of reasons. The Handbook covers the rules affecting benefits and tax credits in these circumstances.

Up to date

This Handbook is up to date on 31 August 2017. The rates of benefits and tax credits used are those from April 2017.

You can also check the online version of this Handbook at

If you are interested in having a link from your organisation's website to the online Handbook, please contact us on or 0141 552 3303.

Structure of the Handbook

Chapter 1 provides information about the main relevant benefits and tax credits. Chapter 2 provides information about claiming, decision making and challenging decisions. The rest of the Handbook is divided into chapters about the various situations that may apply to you (eg, children living with kinship carers and children at residential school) and how benefits and tax credits are affected in these circumstances.

Chapters are footnoted with references to the legal sources. Where an abbreviation is used in the footnotes or in the text, this is explained in Appendix 2 and on Cross reference. If you are challenging a benefit or tax credit decision, you may want to refer to the law.



AA attendance allowance
CA carer’s allowance
CTC child tax credit
CTR council tax reduction
DLA disability living allowance
DHP  discretionary housing payment 
DWP Department for Work and Pensions
ESA employment and support allowance
HB housing benefit
HMRC HM Revenue and Customs
ICE Independent Case Examiner
IS income support
JSA jobseeker’s allowance
MP Member of Parliament
MSP Member of the Scottish Parliament
NI national insurance

pension credit


personal independence payment

SAAS Student Awards Agency for Scotland
SAP statutory adoption pay
SSPP statutory shared parental pay
SPP statutory paternity pay
SSP statutory sick pay
UC universal credit
WTC working tax credit



Means-tested benefit rates 2017/18


Income support and income-based jobseeker's allowance
Personal allowances £pw
Single Under 25 57.90
25 or over 73.10
Lone parent Under 18 57.90
18 or over 73.10
Couple Both under 18 (maximum) 87.50
  One 18 or over (maximum) 114.85 
Both 18 or over 114.85
Carer 34.95
Pensioner Single (jobseeker's allowance only) 86.25
Couple 128.40
Disability Single 32.55
Couple 46.40
Enhanced disability Single 15.90
Couple 22.85
Severe disability One qualifies 62.45
  Two qualify  124.90 
Children (pre-6 April 2004 claims with no child tax credit)
Child under 20 personal allowance 66.90
Family premium 17.45
Disabled child premium 60.90
Enhanced disability premium 24.78
Pension credit
Standard minimum guarantee Single 159.35
Couple 243.25
Severe disability addition One qualifies 62.45
Two qualify 124.90
Carer addition 34.95
Savings credit threshold Single 137.35
Couple 218.42
 Income-related employment and support allowance
Assessment phase
Main phase
Personal allowances

Under 25 57.90 73.10
25 or over 73.10 73.10
Lone parent
Under 18 57.90 73.10
18 or over 73.10 73.10
Both under 18 (maximum) 87.50 114.85
Both 18 or over 114.85 114.85
Carer 34.95 34.95
Severe disability - one qualifies  62.45 62.45
Severe disability - two qualify  124.90  124.90
Enhanced disability
Single 15.90 15.90
Couple 22.85 22.85
Single, no component 86.25
Couple, no component  128.40   
Single, work-related activity component  57.20 
Couple, work-related activity component  99.35 
Single, support component 49.70
Couple, support component 91.85
Work-related activity 29.05
Support 36.55
Housing benefit and council tax reduction
Personal allowances
Single Under 25 57.90
  Under 25 (on main phase ESA)  73.10 
25 or over 73.10
Lone parent Under 18 57.90
  Under 18 (on main phase ESA)  73.10
18 or over 73.10
Couple Both under 18 87.50
  Both under 18 (claimant on main phase ESA)  114.85 
One or both 18 or over 114.85
Dependent children Under 20 66.90
Person over qualifying age for pension credit  Single under 65 159.35
Single 65 or over 172.55
Couple both under 65 243.25
Couple one or both 65 or over 258.15
Family (pre-1 May 2016 claims only) Ordinary rate 17.45
Some lone parents 22.20
Carer 34.95
Disability Single 32.55
Couple 46.40
Disabled child 60.90
Severe disability One qualifies 62.45
Two qualify 124.90
Enhanced disability Single 15.90
Couple 22.85
  Child  24.78 
Work-related activity   29.05
Support 36.55


Universal credit    
Standard allowance     £pm
Single  Under 25 251.77
  25 or over 317.82
Couple  Both under 25 395.20
  One or both 25 or over 498.89
First child (if born before 6 April 2017)   277.08
Second/subsequent/all children born on or after 6 April 2017, subject to 2 child limit    231.67
Disabled child addition Lower rate 126.11
  Higher rate 372.30
Limited capability for work    126.11
Limited capability for work-related activity    318.76
Carer    151.89
Childcare costs  One child up to 646.35
  Two or more children up to 1108.04
  Percentage of childcare costs covered  85%

Non-means-tested benefit rates 2017/18


Attendance allowance
Higher rate 83.10
Lower rate 55.65
Carer's allowance 62.70
Child benefit
Only/eldest child 20.70
Other child(ren) 13.70
Disability living allowance
Care component
Highest 83.10
Middle 55.65
Lowest 22.00
Mobility component
Higher 58.00
Lower 22.00
Employment and support allowance (contributory)  
Assessment phase 
Basic allowance (under 25) 57.90

Basic allowance (25 or over)

Main phase
Basic allowance (16 or over) 73.10
Work-related activity  component 29.05
Support component 36.55
Guardian's allowance 16.70
Jobseeker's allowance (contribution-based)
Under 25 57.90
25 or over 73.10
Personal independence payment   
Daily living component    
Standard rate   55.65
Enhanced rate   83.10
Mobility component    
Standard rate   22.00
Enhanced rate  58.00
Statutory adoption pay (standard rate) 140.98
Statutory paternity pay (maximum) 140.98
Statutory shared parental pay (maximum) 140.98


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