Consultation supports proposals for person-centred approach.
A sea change in social security policy to reduce the anxiety and stress associated with the current UK Government disability payments process has been given strong public support.
A consultation found that Scottish Government proposals for a person-centred approach was favoured over the current ‘one-size-fits-all’ system of the UK Government.
The new Scottish social security system has fairness, dignity and respect designed in from the start. Measures will include:
- face-to-face pre-application support delivered across the country
- a multi-channel approach for submitting applications, including telephone, paper-based and face-to-face
- clear eligibility criteria
- simplified application form
- enhanced role for carers in provision of evidence
- greater choice and control over the timing and locations of assessment, with home-based assessments provided where required
- profit making companies will not be involved in carrying out assessments for disability payments
This contrasts with the UK Government system which users have criticised for having complicated and inaccessible application routes, unnecessary face-to-face assessments and inaccurate reports.
Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:
“I have heard from far too many ill and disabled people who currently know only of stigma, stress and anxiety when it comes to accessing welfare support and fear the ‘dreaded brown envelope’ from the Department for Work and Pensions.
“That is why I want a sea change in accessing disability payments. A new system designed from the ground up - together with users themselves - that puts people first.
“We are supporting people to access the financial support they are entitled to and actively seeking to move away from the stigma of benefits to recognise they are an investment in our people.
“That means a process that is clear and accessible from start to finish and ensures people understand how and when their application will be dealt with.
“It is part of our promise to the people of Scotland that our social security system is a public service and will treat everybody with fairness, dignity and respect.”