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About benefits

How are benefits calculated and what do you need to do to apply? This page explains the basic facts about benefits. You may also find our page on tax credits helpful.

Claiming benefits

You may be able to get benefits if you:

  • have a low income
  • have children
  • are sick or disabled
  • are a full time carer
  • have been bereaved.

Claiming more than one benefit

If you are entitled to one benefit, then you may be entitled to others.

For example, if you are receiving jobseeker's allowance, you may also be entitled to housing and council tax benefit.

It can be difficult to work out which benefits you are entitled to and which ones you will be better off claiming, so it's a good idea to get advice if you are thinking about claiming benefits.

Getting help when applying for benefits

You can get advice from shelter Scotland advisors on benefits and applying for them - call 0808 800 4444. An adviser will be able to help you:

  • find out what you're entitled to
  • fill in application forms
  • check that you are receiving the correct amount
  • appeal should your application be turned down.

You can find local services from Shelter Scotland to speak to an advisor in person.

If you are disabled, you can call the Benefit Enquiry Line on 0800 882 200 for help with filling in benefit forms. If you are deaf or have a hearing disability you can use the minicom line on 0800 24 33 55.

You can find out more about benefits from the online benefits calculator from and at The EntitledTo website has online calculators to help you work out which benefits you can claim.

Applying for benefits

To apply for most benefits you will need to fill in the relevant form. You can get application forms from your local Jobcentre Plus, the Pension Service or the HMRC. You can also download benefits forms. Check the online benefits calculator from to find out what you might be entitled to claim then find the relevant form on You should fill in and return any paperwork as quickly as possible. If you can, hand in your completed form in person and get a receipt in case there are problems later. Take photocopies of everything if you can.

You will normally need to provide your national insurance number and possibly proof of your identity (such as a birth certificate or passport) and proof of your income (such as your benefit book or wage slips). If you don't provide this information, your claim could be stopped or delayed.

Scotland map Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.
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