Skills Development Scotland staff can help parents/carers and young people to access advice and information on welfare benefits but, as rules about benefits can change frequently, it is always advisable to seek expert advice from those agencies which specialise in this area. We strongly recommend that you go to the official UK Government website and/or talk to a Jobcentre Plus advisor to get the best and most up to date information.

Some useful tips

  • It is very important to check benefit entitlement and to get advice and information before the young person’s 16th birthday.
  • Expert advice is often available via social work departments who have welfare rights advisers; voluntary organisations in the community e.g. Citizens Advice Bureau; specialist and local council advice services and the Department of Work and Pensions who operate a network of Jobcentre Plus offices nationally. The FREE Benefits Enquiry Line is also a source of advice and information on welfare benefit entitlement – 0800 88 22 00. The Princes Royal Trust for Carers also has a website, and a telephone helpline 0800 161 3839.
  • Single parents and those parents in receipt of benefit themselves should seek a welfare benefits check as the family can sometimes be worse off if the young person claims certain benefits in their own right.
  • Some benefits are payable even if the young person attended a ‘mainstream’ school – it depends on the level of learning support which was provided
  • At age 16, under very specific circumstances, a young person is treated as an adult by the Department of Work and Pensions and can claim benefits and be paid them in their own right

Anyone who is already in receipt of disability benefits should obtain advice regarding the effect that any change in circumstances, e.g. becoming a student, may have on continued entitlement to benefits. Contact the local welfare rights office.