Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has urged the Scottish and UK government to deliver better support for disabled people, as new research shows that more than one in four people (28 per cent) who visit a Scottish Citizens Advice Bureaux are unable to work due to ill health or disability.
The new research is published in the charity’s annual ‘Who are you’ report, a snapshot of CAB clients taken in November 2018 and are being published for the first time today.
The charity is now calling for better support for Scotland’s disabled community, particularly with the opportunities afforded by the devolution of disability related benefits to the Scottish Parliament.
CAS has 5 key recommendations for the Scottish Government on Disability Assistance:
- A substantial cut in face to face assessments which can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety, and no reassessments for people whose circumstances are unlikely to change.
- Increasing the distance for the mobility component of the payment from 20 metres to 50 metres
- A shortened legal deadline of 28 days for responses to be made on challenges to decisions, otherwise known as ‘redeterminations’
- Ensure redeterminations and appeals appear as one seamless process from the applicant’s perspective as opposed to the current two tier model
- Keeping the criteria and assessment process under continuous review for improvements
Publishing the data, CAS Chief Executive Derek Mitchell said:
“The most striking about this snapshot is the high proportion of people who are unable to work because of ill health or a disability.
“This suggests that many of those who are among the most vulnerable are finding it hard to get by at the moment and need some kind of advice or assistance, and they see our network as the place to get that help.
“We’re publishing this data today to send a signal to the Scottish and UK Governments that there needs to be better support in place for disabled people. The devolution of new powers around disability payments is an opportunity to make the system better.
“For starters we are backing a cut in the number of face to face assessments and an increase in the mobility component of the payment.
“Every year the Scottish CAB network sees hundreds of thousands of people across the country, helping them with a variety of problems with free, impartial and confidential advice.”