Talking about tomorrow


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.


Read more about: Other entitlements

Getting your finances checked

Speak to a disability benefits specialist

It’s important to find an adviser who has specialist knowledge of disability benefits, as the best options for you can vary depending on your circumstances.

You can call the Contact helpline on 0808 808 3555 and they will arrange a time for an expert adviser to call you back. For information on finance and education in Scotland, call Lead Scotland’s helpline on 0800 999 2568. Other organisations also offer advice.

Talk to an Independent Financial Adviser

Anyone can visit a Financial Adviser to review their general finances and ask for advice on financial planning, particularly around big decisions like mortgages, investments, pensions, insurance and tax. However they don’t usually have detailed knowledge on benefits and entitlements, so you should still speak to a specialist.

Independent Financial Advisers must by law give up to date and appropriate advice tailored to your situation and goals in life. They can recommend financial products, but only if these clearly meet your needs, and you can still ask their advice even if you don’t accept their recommendations.

A Restricted Financial Adviser can only recommend a particular type of product or products from a particular company.

Usually advice is free, but always ask about fees to avoid any misunderstanding.

The Financial Conduct Authority has useful tips on how to find a Financial Adviser, and questions you should ask to help you make up your mind who to choose

Prepare yourself

There are two main reasons to seek financial advice. You could be looking for answers to a question or a situation you need help with. Or you might be wondering how to get the best deal for you and your family.

An adviser will need to know as much as possible about you. Make sure you know:

  • The total annual income for your household
  • How this is broken down into earnings, benefits, or other sources of income such as investments
  • How much you have in savings
  • How much you pay monthly for your house or flat. Include mortgage or rent payments, council tax, electricity and gas bills
  • How much you spend monthly on food
  • How much you spend on other necessities such as clothes, transport and so on
  • What you spend on leisure activities – social life, subscriptions, memberships, etc
  • How much you pay in insurance – home and contents, pet insurance, car insurance, life insurance
  • Do you pay into a pension?

If you have any specific questions, write them down to make sure you cover everything you want to talk about.

If you don’t understand something, say so. The adviser needs to know if the advice they’re giving you is useful.



Read more about: Getting your finances checked

Benefits and entitlements

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, please visit the Contact website: Existing PIP Claimants 

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

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 on the Contact website.

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. Find out more about Carers Support Payment on the Contact website.

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.

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

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.

Read more about: Benefits and entitlements

Benefits & Finance

Things change at age 16. Find out what you should know – and where to get information and support.


Things to think about

Benefits and entitlements

The law assumes that all 16-year-olds can manage their own finances unless they don’t have capacity. If you feel your young person will struggle, you should ask about becoming an appointee so you can do this on their behalf. You should also consider getting Guardianship or Power of Attorney in place, particularly if your child might have income, savings or capital aside from benefits – for example, property inherited from a family member.

If the Department of Work and Pensions has already appointed you to act for a young person, Social Security Scotland will need to review your appointment to make sure it works for the young person. Scottish law on appointees is different to UK law. It aims to give greater protection to clients. The Scottish government website has more information on this  – Rights and responsibilities as an appointee.

Get a finance health check

Knowing what someone’s entitled to is a start.

You also need to know how a claim by them might affect benefits you receive, as their parent. Sometimes there’s a choice, so it’s important to speak to a benefits adviser to understand what’s best for your family as a whole.

It’s a good idea to get a benefit check every few years to make sure you aren’t missing anything, especially if there’s been a change in circumstances – for example a family member turning 16, or moving into paid employment.

Find out how to get the right advice.

Other sources of funding

Many charities, trusts and government schemes provide money for a range of things, from equipment to helping with transport to paying for holidays. Find out more about other sources of funding.

Finance and education

Young disabled adults going to college or university may qualify for help with accommodation costs, travel expenses and the cost of certain types of support.

Get more information on what’s available for young people going on to further education.

Managing finance

Lots of people worry about managing money or find it difficult. If that’s you, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Check our tips on

  • Financial planning
  • Managing a personal budget
  • Dealing with debt
  • Building your young person’s financial awareness.

Find out more about managing finance.

Read more about: Benefits & Finance