Residents in West Dunbartonshire received £12 million in benefits from Social Security Scotland (SSC) during the 2022/23 financial year.

The SSC, which is an executive agency of the Scottish Government and currently delivers 13 benefits in Scotland, shared the statistics in analysis accompanying the publication of its annual report and accounts yesterday.

Payments made in the last financial year by the SSC included Carer’s Allowance Supplement, Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment, Best Start Grant Early Learning payment, Best Start Grant School Age Payment, Best Start Foods, Funeral Support Payment, Young Carer Grant, Job Start Payment, Scottish Child Payment, Child Winter Heating Payment, Winter Heating Payment and Child Disability Payment.

The report also told that the total amount of support paid to people across Scotland this financial year was £4.04 billion, including direct payments by the SSC and those paid through agency agreements with the Department for Work and Pensions.

Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Shirley-Anne Sommerville told The Reporter: “We now deliver 13 benefits, seven of which are only available in Scotland, and are delivering these payments while treating people with dignity, fairness and respect. 

“Our decision to expand the Scottish Child Payment to all eligible young people under the age of 16 and increase the payment to £25 per week means we are supporting more than 300,000 children and making a significant contribution to tackling child poverty.  

“As we prepare to launch our 14th benefit, we are committed to making sure that people get the money they are entitled to and that people who are eligible know how to apply for our payments.”

Next week, SSC's 14th benefit, Carer Support Payment, will begin a phased rollout in Dundee City, Perth and Kinross and Na h-Eileanan an Iar (the Western Isles).

The new payment will be administered nationally next year and will see 80,000 carers who currently receive Carer's Allowance transferred to the Carer Support Payment.

David Wallace, SSC's chief executive, said: “This last year has been the busiest in our five-year history.

"We have significantly expanded our service, including the national rollout of Adult Disability Benefit, the extension of the Scottish Child Payment and paid Winter Heating Payment for the first time. "

The SSC has received criticism in the past year for delays in processing times, particularly regarding Adult Disability Payment, with David adding: “We are continuing to develop and improve our service.

"Despite some challenges with processing times, which we are actively working to improve, we still maintained high client satisfaction rates."