Welfare Benefits

You can apply for welfare benefits if you are too ill to work, or if you are disabled.

The benefits system is complicated and changes often. This section sets out the three main benefits that you may be entitled to, and links to sources of detailed information.

There are many other benefits, tax credits and funds. Citizen’s Advice Scotland provides a comprehensive guide. We strongly recommend that you ask a welfare advisor for help with your benefits application.

Personal Independence Payment

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) has replaced Disability Living Allowance. It is paid to disabled people who may face additional financial costs because of their disability. You do not have to be out of work to get PIP.

You can find more information on applying for PIP here.

Employment and Support Allowance

If you are unable to work because of your mental health problem, you may be eligible for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

You will need to undertake a Work Capability Assessment. If your application for ESA is accepted, you will be put into one of two groups. The Work-Related Activity Group is for people who are unable to work at the moment but are expected to be able to work in the future. The Support Group is for people who are not expected to be able to work in the near future.

You can apply for ESA at Jobcentre Plus and find out more about applications, appeals and sanctions at Citizen’s Advice Scotland.

Carer’s Allowance

If you spend at least 16 hours a week caring for a disabled person, you might be eligible for Carer’s Allowance.

You can apply for Carer’s Allowance online or by post. You can find out more about Carer’s Allowance at Citizen’s Advice Scotland.

PIP: What’s the Problem?

This SAMH report found serious problems with PIP’s ability to assess people with mental health problems.

Worried Sick

​SAMH’s Worried Sick report looks at experiences of poverty and deprivation, with a particular focus on people who are receiving or applying for benefits.

Ticking All the Wrong Boxes

​Ticking All the Wrong Boxes looks at the experiences of people applying for ESA. It was produced by the Scottish Mental Health Partnership.

Fit for Purpose

Fit for Purpose found that trainees at SAMH’s Redhall service had been badly served by the welfare benefits system.​

Find out more about benefits

Citizen’s Advice Scotland provides more advice and information.

Visit Citizen’s Advice Scotland