The Scotland Act 2016 gave us new powers relating to social security, including responsibility over certain benefits.

We are using these powers to create a Scottish social security system based on dignity, fairness and respect.

We have published a series of policy papers setting out our position on the development of the devolved benefits in Scotland.

Read the Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People's update on devolved benefits during the Covid-19 pandemic.


We are:

We have also:

  • developed a communications toolkit to help our partners inform their staff, clients and stakeholders about the new social security benefits


See which benefits have been devolved to the Scottish Government, and which remain reserved to the UK Government: responsibility for benefits: overview.

All benefits paid in Scotland were managed by the UK Government until April 2013, when Council Tax Reduction and the Scottish Welfare Fund were devolved.

Following the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, the Smith Commission recommended that the Scottish Parliament be given autonomy to determine the structure and value of a range of powers over disability, as well as the power to make administrative changes to Universal Credit and to vary the housing cost element. It also recommended that Scottish Parliament be given powers to create new benefits in areas of devolved responsibility, and top-up reserved ones.

These recommendations were made law by the Scotland Act 2016, whose bill received royal assent in March 2016. In that same month we published our vision for social security in Scotland.

We set up the Joint Ministerial Working Group on Welfare in February 2015 to provide a forum for discussion and to ensure that the welfare and employment-related aspects of the Act are implemented.

The Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 received royal assent in June 2018.

Stakeholder groups

List of stakeholder groups set up to advise Ministers on the social security system. 

Bills and legislation

The Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 established a framework for the new system and devolves 11 existing social security benefits to Scotland. 

The Scotland Act (2016) transferred new social security powers to the Scottish Parliament allowing Scottish Ministers to develop new policies on benefits that will help tackle inequality and poverty in Scotland.



Telephone: 0300 244 4000

Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road