Social Security Experience Panel: Scottish Welfare Fund experiences

This report outlines the Social Security Experience Panel Members views expressed in a survey about their experiences of the Scottish Welfare Fund.


Most respondents who had applied for Scottish Welfare Fund said that they found out about the Scottish Welfare Fund through a support and advice service, through friends or family, or online.

A number of the respondents who had not applied for the Scottish Welfare Fund said that they weren’t aware that it was available. Some of these said that they would have found it helpful to know about the fund and believed that it could have helped them.

Most respondents applied for the Scottish Welfare Fund either over the phone or online, some applied by post, and a small number applied in person at their council office. More than two in five respondents said that the process of applying for Scottish Welfare Fund was “difficult or very difficult”. Over a quarter said that it was “neither easy nor difficult” and over a quarter said that it was “very easy or easy”.

Among those who had been unsuccessful in their application, most said that they didn’t understand the reason from their decision letter. Others felt that decisions were inconsistent or unfair. A number of respondents spoke about a lack of clear information about applications and decisions, or felt that their personal circumstances were not considered.

A number of respondents described positive experiences of applying for Scottish Welfare Fund. Reasons included having a choice of how to apply, finding the process simple and quick, and finding staff to be helpful and supportive.

Others described less positive experiences and highlighted a number of areas where they felt that the process could be improved. This included improving the information available about Scottish Welfare Fund, faster processing times and ensuring consistency about how the fund works across different areas. Other areas mentioned included ensuring staff are supportive and understanding, making sure that the fund is equipped to meet the needs of disabled applicants and can be flexible to individual circumstances – including in terms of how payments are made. 



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