Emergency cash handed to 905 Aberdeen residents

More than 900 people in Aberdeen have needed a crisis grant
More than 900 people in Aberdeen have needed a crisis grant

More than 900 people in Aberdeen have been handed emergency cash because of late benefits.

Recent statistics published by the Scottish Government show 905 people from Aberdeen were given a crisis grant due to a delay in their benefits between July and September last year.

Provided by the Scottish Welfare Fund, cash is available to residents who are most in need due to an unexpected lack of funding. The amount of grants given out due to delays has dropped slightly in the city from 925 in the previous quarter.

The number coincides with the introduction of Universal Credit, which was fully rolled out in the north-east in October.

The controversial benefit, instituted by the UK Government, was designed to replace a raft of different handouts, but has been blighted by controversy, including some claimants being forced to wait up to five weeks for their money.

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A spokeswoman for the Department of Work and Pensions said: “Latest figures show 96% of claimants are paid in full and on time, and up to 100% advance payments are available from day one.

“Where new claims aren’t paid on time, it is often due to an outstanding verification issue, such as providing bank statements, evidence of childcare costs, or proof of rent.

“The UK government continues to spend around £90 billion a year on working age benefits.

“Meanwhile, Scotland has significant welfare powers, including to top-up existing benefits, pay discretionary payments and create entirely new benefits altogether.“

The spokeswoman also pointed out that the delays were not necessarily due to Universal Credit, and may have been caused by other issues.

Scottish Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “While it is absolutely right that we should help those individuals and families who find themselves in dire financial straits, it is appalling that so many find themselves in that position in the first place.

“Delays and errors in payments are forcing people to turn to the Scottish Welfare Fund to get them through immediate hardship.