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Other entitlements

These are managed regionally by local councils. There can be differences in how systems work depending on where you live, but all councils are required to take note of national guidelines and directives in making decisions.

Self Directed Support

This is how your young person will receive support and financial help from social services, if your local authority (council) agrees they qualify. Every council sets its own criteria for assessing if someone qualifies.

The local authority agrees a “support package”, which includes how much they will contribute towards the help someone needs.

Parents can receive self directed support for a disabled young person up to 18 years old, or young people aged 16 or over can receive payments in their own right.

With self directed support you can choose how the budget is managed. There are four options:

  • Direct payments – an individual has full control of the budget, including choosing and managing service providers. This is the most flexible, but it can be complicated as you become responsible for everything in much the same way as an employer. If you decide to employ an individual rather than an organisation, for example to provide personal care, charities can help you with tasks like payroll services and accounting. Direct payments can only be used to buy support the council has agreed is needed.
  • Individual service fund – the individual chooses the service, and the local authority arranges it and pays.
  • Local authority arranged – the local authority selects, manages and pays for the service from the allocated budget.
  • Mix and match – this option gives individuals the chance to manage some services themselves, while allowing the local authority to choose and manage others.

How to claim Self Directed Support

The first step is to ask for an assessment of needs. No one tells you when to do this – you make your own referral by calling social services. Charities and community organisations can help if necessary. The number to call will be on the social services section of your council website.

There isn’t a deadline for having someone’s needs assessed, but it will be handled by children’s services or adult services, depending on the age of the person.

If someone is under 16, ask for a Section 23 Assessment. If they are over 16, ask for a Community Care Assessment. You should also ask for your own needs to be assessed as a parent – this is a Section 24 Assessment, and it’s important to make sure you get the right help and support too. In particular, a full assessment of needs is essential for adult respite services.

You have the right to request an assessment, and any support package will be based on the findings. However you aren’t automatically entitled to have identified needs met.

If the council decides someone doesn’t meet the criteria for social care services, it still has a duty to provide information and advice about community support that might help.

Challenging a decision

If you disagree with a decision, you can challenge it through your local authority’s appeals process. You can find out about this on their website, or over the phone.

Ask for an explanation of the decision in writing. If you feel it’s inaccurate or unfair, you can ask for your case to be reassessed.

If this doesn’t help and you want to complain, it’s worth asking local disability or support groups to help you put your case forward. You are entitled to request an independent review and, as a last resort, you could consider taking your complaint to the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman.

Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)

This is a weekly payment for 16 – 18 year olds (and some 19 year olds) who stay on at school/college or in certain types of unwaged training. It’s means tested on parental income.

You apply through school or college. You will need to complete a new EMA application form and a learning agreement every academic year for as long as you claim the allowance.

Visit to apply for or renew an Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and get a link to your local authority’s information page.

Council tax discounts

A ADP award may mean you can claim a discount on your council tax. If a young person is 18 or over and receives the enhanced rate for the daily living component of ADP, you may qualify for a discount as their carer.

Whether you qualify, and by how much, depends on how many adults live in your property and their circumstances. Speak to your local authority.

Find out more from Contact: Help with Council Tax & rates. 

Scottish Welfare Fund (SWF)

This fund offers a safety net for people on low incomes. You apply through your local authority.

There are two kinds of grants: crisis grants, to cover disasters (such as fire or flood) or emergencies, and community care grants to help vulnerable people set up home or continue to live independently.

Find out more about the Scottish Welfare Fund.

Blue Badge scheme

This allows parking concessions for people with disabilities. The badge is issued to an individual, and can be used in any car where they are a driver or a passenger. You apply through your local authority, which may charge a processing fee.

The Blue Badge scheme is recognised throughout the UK, but there may be local differences in how and where the badge can be used – if in doubt, check. Transport Scotland have recommended extending the scheme to people with mental health or cognitive impairments that may affect their safety in traffic.

Check if the Blue Badge scheme could help you.