Citizens Advice Scotland has commented on the Scottish Government’s report on disability payments, which has been published today.
Responding, CAS Social Justice spokesperson Mhoraig Green says,
“The Scottish Citizens Advice network helps hundreds of thousands of people every year, many of whom are disabled. Last year we helped disabled people claim £46million in disability benefits. More than in 1 in 4 of all the people who come to us for help can’t work due to a disability or ill health, so we see first-hand the problems they encounter with the system and we are keen to see them get better support.
“Today’s announcement by the government includes a number of welcome measures which will change people’s experience of accessing social security for the better. Ensuring that evidence from peoples’ family and carers - together with further medical evidence that already exists - is taken into account when making decisions on their entitlement, will make the process more dignified for people and lead to more accurate decisions.
“We also welcome the longer time period being given to people who want to challenge an incorrect decision. This will allow more people to get independent advice and support with the process.
“However, we are disappointed that the new legal time limit for the agency to respond to challenges has been set at eight weeks. CAB clients have consistently told us that long delays have left them in limbo and without payment, which means many are pushed into debt and poverty.
“We will continue to work with the Scottish Government to help them achieve their aim of a more compassionate social security system. We all need to work towards a system that is rights-based, and fully supports independent living for disabled people in Scotland. Today’s changes are a big step towards that, but more needs to be done.”