Welfare rights adviser, Early Warning System
By Kirsty McKechnie
18 October 2021
A new Early Warning System report has been published about difficulties experienced by refugees and their families claiming universal credit. It contains an overview of the issues and a number of recommendations for DWP policy and practice.
This report highlights findings from the Early Warning System and meetings with organisations supporting refugees about experiences of claiming universal credit and some of the difficulties encountered.
06 October 2021
The £20 cut to universal credit represents the biggest single cut to social security since World War II and is happening at the same time as food and heating costs are rising. This blog provides practical tips on how to support families struggling to stretch their shrinking budgets. You do not have to be a benefits expert to do this.
06 October 2021
In a short new report, 'After the universal credit cut – what now?', published as part of Challenge Poverty Week, the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland says too many families don’t claim council tax reduction or other benefits that they have a right to, including additional support for disabilities or long term illness. With a £1040 a year cut to their universal credit now a harsh reality they say it is vital these families are supported to get the benefits they are still entitled to.
A broad coalition of national organisations, community groups, academics, trade unions and faith groups have written to the First Minister to urge her to use the upcoming Programme for Government to commit to doubling the Scottish Child Payment in this year’s budget
25 June 2021
CPAG in Scotland’s Kirsty McKechnie responds to the Scottish Affairs Committee’s report on welfare policy in Scotland
An update to the report we published at the beginning of 2021 highlighting that delays carrying out assessments for disability benefits meant that many disabled people were not receiving or were losing support intended to help them meet the additional costs of their disability.
09 March 2021
Campaigners today welcomed further budget commitments agreed between the Scottish government and Scottish Greens. The deal, announced today Monday 8th March, includes two further £100 payments for children in receipt of free school meals, following on from winter and spring payments this year, as well as a new Pandemic Support Payment of £130 to households receiving Council Tax Reduction. Resources are also committed to rolling out free school meals to all primary school pupils.
This report highlights that delays carrying out assessments for benefits mean that many disabled people are not receiving, or are losing support, intended to help them meet the additional costs of ill health or disability.
Our submission highlights that children who already faced a higher risk of poverty have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and will be particularly vulnerable during economic recession. Rising child poverty places high costs on society as a whole. It should therefore be of the utmost priority that families with children are able to easily access adequate financial support.
This briefing includes issues with UC calculations, tax credit claimants migrating to UC prematurely, disabled people financially disadvantaged by the lack of work capability assessments being carried out and migrants experiencing hardship due to restrictions on benefit entitlement.
This report focuses on social security issues during lock down, highlighting problems making and maintaining claims without support, difficulties participating telephone assessments and appeals, some PIP awards stopping and uncertainty about whether others would be extended, a number of severely disabled and terminally ill people not receiving additional amounts they were entitled to and a gap in support for some carers.
This report concentrates on the impact of COVID 19 on families living in Scotland and highlights that many families are struggling financially due to inadequate support from the social security system and/or being unable to work while schools and childcare providers are closed.
This report concentrates on the impact of COVID 19 on migrants living in Scotland and highlights social security policy and administration has left some migrants with little or no income during the pandemic.
Latest issues include: overpayment recovery, accidental migration to UC and difficulties for EU nationals in establishing a right to reside.
Latest include: lone parents with no childcare being told to take unpaid leave, families claiming UC not realising their tax credits would stop and EU nationals with little or no access to benefits just now
Latest issues emerging from the Early Warning System include: claimants subject to the benefit cap not benefiting from the increase in UC, EU nationals with no entitlement to means-tested benefits; disabled people struggling to claim PIP or partake in assessments, and the impact of bereavement on social security entitlement
Latest findings emerging from the Early Warning System include: difficulty accessing PIP claim forms, people accruing rent arrears because they are unable to move and confusion about which benefit to claim
The Early Warning System was set up by CPAG in Scotland to collect and analyse case evidence about how social security changes are affecting the wellbeing of children, their families and the communities that support them. We will be producing a regular summary of emerging issues during the Covid 19 pandemic. This summary includes case studies from the week 13th – 17th April
This briefing provides an overview of Early Warning System evidence in relation to universal credit gathered between October and December 2019
25 September 2019
It is one year since Social Security Scotland became operational and CPAG in Scotland's Early Warning System has been monitoring its progress as it started to deliver new benefits.
CPAG in Scotland responded to the Scottish Government's consultation on improving temporary accommodation standards to highlight the need to incorporate the impact of social security changes into guidance on the standards.
20 August 2019
As the school year starts again, parents will be sending their wee ones off to school or nursery and will perhaps be thinking about moving into work themselves. For lots of people this will also involve turning to universal credit for help to pay with childcare costs. A new report from CPAG in Scotland’s Early Warning System suggests for some parents and childcare providers claiming universal credit childcare costs may be not be entirely straightforward.
Financial support to low income families to pay for childcare through working tax credits is being replaced by the childcare element of universal credit. This Early Warning System report examines the impact of this change on parents and childcare providers.
18 July 2017
The Scottish Government has published its fourth and final annual report on the impacts of welfare reform in Scotland, looking back to reforms introduced since 2010 and looking ahead to 2020.
25 January 2017
24 November 2015