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Benefits & Finance (test)

Benefits change when someone turns 16.

For more information on benefits and financial support, check the useful links on the right or call the Contact helpline on 0808 808 3555. Say that you are calling from Scotland and an adviser will arrange a time to call you back.

Most benefits and entitlements come from one of three sources:

  • The Scottish Government’s Social Security Scotland for example Adult Disability Payment, Child Disability Payment and Carer Support Payment.
  • The UK government’s Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), for example child benefits or tax credits through HMRC.
  • Local government, your council.

How things change at age 16

From their 16th birthday, the benefit system views a young person as an adult.

Young people can claim and manage benefits themselves and have these paid into a bank account in their name. If your young person needs help to do this, you can apply to be their appointee and act on the young person’s behalf. 

Find out more about your rights and responsibilities as an appointee.

Child Benefit

This will usually be paid up to age 16. It may continue up to age 19 if the young person is still in full time non-advanced education, but will stop if they enter a work placement programme or higher education. It is best to seek advice because each individuals circumstances will be different.

Child Disability Payment

Child Disability Payment (CDP) has replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in Scotland.

The Child Disability Payment has similar rules as DLA. When a young person turns 16, and they are claiming Child Disability Payment, Social Security Scotland will write to the young person to tell them that they can claim Adult Disability Payment. However young people in Scotland can stay on Child Disability Payment until they are 18 and do not have to claim Adult Disability Payment at 16.

Find out more about Child Disability Payment and special rules.

Adult Disability Payment and Personal Independence Payment

The Adult Disability Payment (ADP) is the new benefit in Scotland for adults, and will replace the Personal Independence Payment (PIP). This process started in summer 2022, but it will take until 2025 to move everyone’s benefit from PIP to ADP. If your young person is already claiming PIP the DWP and Social Security Scotland will move the benefit for you. Please visit Personal Independent Payment is moving – for more information.

If your child is receiving Child Disability Payment, you or your child will have to make a claim for Adult Disability Payment between their 16th and 18th birthday. More information about this can be found on the Child Disability Payment section on the Contact website. 

You can apply online by registering and setting up an account with Social Security Scotland. Visit How to apply for Adult Disability Payment – or phone on 0800 182 2222

If you’re a British Sign Language user, you can use the Contact Scotland service to get in touch with Social Security Scotland. 

If your young person is unable to apply themselves they can get someone to help them apply for ADP. You can apply to be their appointee and act on their behalf. You can also get help via Social Security Scotland from an independent advocate or free local delivery service for person to person support.

Find out more If you need help from Social Security Scotland –

For further information on Adult Disability Payment and rules, visit Adult Disability Payment & disability benefits at 16 (

If your young person is already claiming Personal Independent Payment (PIP) and you would like more information about transferring from PIP to ADP, the transition period and what happens if you are applying as an appointee, visit the Contact website: Existing PIP Claimants ANCHOR HERE

Adult Disability Payment and Motability

For more information on the eligibility of the Motability Scheme when moving to ADP, visit the Contact website: ADP and Motability ANCHOR HERE

Carers Allowance and Carers Support Payment 

Carers Allowance is the main benefit for carers. You might get it if you provide a certain amount of care to a child receiving particular disability benefits. Find out more about Carers Allowance. LINK TO CONTACT WEBSITE CARRS ALLOWANCE PAGE

In Scotland a new benefit called the Carers Support Payment will replace Carers Allowance. This process will start spring 2024. You do not have to apply for the new benefit – you will be moved to Carer Support Payment automatically. This will be happening between Spring 2024 and spring 2025.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a benefit for people of working age to help with living costs. You might be able to claim Universal Credit to top up your earnings, or if you’re out of or unable to work.

Your young person may be able to claim this in their own right as a disabled adult from the age of 16, but you should check with a benefits adviser to see if this is the best option for your family as it may affect other benefits you receive.

Claiming Universal Credit in education

It is also important to seek advice on the rules around claiming Universal Credit if your young person is in education. For more information on eligibility and the different scenarios to consider, please see the Contact website pages on universal credit in education. ANCHOR LINK TO CONTACT PAGE

Finance and education

Self-directed Support and ADP should continue when young people move into further or higher education. Young people receiving ADP can claim universal credit while in education, and again it is best to seek advice because each young person’s circumstances will be different and it  may be affected for example by student grants or loans. Most will have to wait several months to complete the medical assessment to establish fitness for work, and are unlikely to be paid during this time. The Contact helpline or another benefits advice service can tell you more about this.

Find out more about financing education and living away from home


This will usually be paid up to age 16. It may continue up to age 19 if the young person is still in full time non-advanced education, but will stop if they enter a work placement programme or higher education. The rules can be complicated, so it’s best to seek advice.

Appealing a decision

If you’re unhappy with a decision about benefits you can ask for a “mandatory reconsideration” within a month of the decision date. If you’re still unhappy after the revision you can appeal to an independent tribunal in writing, again within a month. Late appeals may be accepted, but this isn’t guaranteed. It’s useful to involve a support worker, benefit adviser or voluntary organisation to get help with preparing an appeal.