Scottish Government advocacy service to help disabled people in Scotland apply for benefits
Man in a wheelchair - Image credit: PA Images
The Scottish Government is to launch an advocacy service to help disabled people in Scotland access their rights to devolved benefits.
The advocacy service, which will be independent of Scottish Government and Social Security Scotland, will act entirely for the person it is supporting.
Help will be available even if a disabled person already has a guardian or supporter.
Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said the service would be an “integral part” of implementing the principles of dignity, fairness and respect that Social Security Scotland is built on.
Independent advocacy ensures that a person with disabilities understands their rights and can ask questions and get information to help them make informed decisions.
It also makes sure the person is able to express their views and be fully involved in decision making about issues that affect them.
It is intended to have the advocacy service in place by summer 2020, when Social Security Scotland will begin handling disability-related benefits.
A consultation on how best to ensure the advocacy service fulfils people’s needs has now been launched and runs until 7 October 2019.
Somerville said: “Our social security service provides dignity, fairness and respect.
“Advocacy support for those applying for Scottish benefits is an integral part of delivering those principles.
“To protect disabled applicants’ rights and ensure everyone is fully involved in the decisions that affect them, advocacy support will be provided where necessary.
“To make sure this support is of the same high quality across Scotland, the consultation launched today is asking for people’s views on draft service standards.
“The responses will ensure services meet the needs of people.
“I believe this is important additional help we can give that’s not currently available in the Department for Work and Pensions administered system.”