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Alyn Smith MP

Social Security (Benefits) Factsheet

Alyn Smith MP: Social Security (Benefits) Factsheet

If you are unable to work there may be financial help available. There are also various other benefits available for various other reasons. That is why it is important to know what benefits you are entitled to and how best to access them.

The social security system in the UK is quite complex, with different benefits provided by different authorities. This guide aims to give you an overview of advice services that will help you to find the support that you need. It will then briefly look at the types of benefits that are available for different people and where to apply for them.

When you are enquiring about benefits it is very useful to have the information that you need to hand. Generally, information about savings, income, pension, childcare payments and any existing benefits that you (or your partner) receive.

Benefit Calculators

There are three main benefit calculators: Turn2us, Entitledto, Policy in Practice. These are online calculators that will tell you what you may be entitled to. If you are under 18, only the Policy in Practice calculator will work for you.

It is also important to know that these calculators will not give you accurate information if you are:

  • A student
  • Not a British or Irish citizen
  • On strike
  • Living outside the UK
  • Living permanently in residential care or a nursing home
  • A prisoner

Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)

Benefits Guidance 

CAB is a good starting point if you want to know what you are entitled to. You can arrange to talk to an advisor at your local bureau.

Stirling Council Advice Services and Welfare Reform

Stirling Council offers free, confidential and impartial money, debt and benefit advice for those living within the Stirling area. Their advisors can help:

  • Maximise your income by checking what benefits you are entitled to, including Universal credit
  • Supporting you to apply for benefits or appeal against benefit decisions
  • Applying for help from the Scottish Welfare Fund for a community care grant or crisis grant
  • Referrals to the local Foodbank
  • Applications for other charitable grants, that may be appropriate
  • Looking at ways of increasing income and reducing expenditure

Scottish Government Benefits and Grants

The Scottish Government controls certain benefits but also provides funds and grants that are only available in Scotland. This site provides details and how to apply for:

  • Scottish Welfare Fund
  • Funeral Support Payment
  • Best Start Grant
  • Job Start Payment
  • Young Carer Grant
  • Scottish Child Payment
  • Carer’s Allowance Supplement
  • Other funds including short term assistance

Universal Credit (UC)

Universal Credit is a monthly payment to help with your living costs. You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income, out of work or you cannot work.

You can apply for UC online and you will need:

  • your bank, building society or credit union account details (call the Universal Credit helpline if you do not have one)
  • an email address
  • information about your housing, for example how much rent you pay
  • details of your income, for example payslips
  • details of savings and any investments, like shares or a property that you rent out
  • details of how much you pay for childcare if you’re applying for help with childcare costs

You also have to verify your identity online. You’ll need some proof of identity for this, for example your:

  • driving licence
  • passport
  • debit or credit card

University of Stirling Student Services Hub

The Student Services Hub brings lots of services together to help you resolve a whole range of queries through a single point of contact, easily access the services you need, and thrive during your time at the University of Stirling.

Income Maximisation Services

Income maximisation services aim to help people achieve their maximum possible entitlement to welfare benefits. They give advice and help on a range of different benefits. Their services are free, confidential and independent of the benefit authorities.

Contact details: Kevin McGhee on 07464 543155 or

Contact details: Tracy Doran 01786 446066 or (direct dial) 01786 431921 or email: