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.

Finding out about the Scottish Welfare Fund

The most common way that respondents said that they found out about the Scottish Welfare Fund was through “another organisation or advice service” (33 per cent), other than Citizens Advice Scotland. This is followed by one in five (20 per cent) who said that they heard about it through a friend and family member. One in six (17 per cent) said they saw information about it online. 

Table 1 (n=106)

Where did you find out about the Scottish Welfare Fund?
Through another organisation or advice service 33%
Through a friend/family member 20%
I saw information about it online 17%
Somewhere else  14%
From DWP 13%
From Citizens Advice Scotland 7%
I saw a leaflet or poster with information about it 2%

Among those who said that they found out about the Scottish Welfare Fund from “somewhere else”, respondents mentioned sources that could also be counted in the categories provided - local Welfare Rights services, online search engines, or other local support services.

Almost four in five (79 per cent) of respondents said that they had not seen any leaflets or posters advertising the Scottish Welfare Fund. Just over one in five (21 per cent) said that they had seen posters or leaflets. Respondents who had seen posters or leaflets said that it was in a Citizens Advice Office, in a local authority office, in a library, or somewhere else including local charities, housing associations, health settings or through Welfare Rights.

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 had a perception that it had not been publicised.  Some of these said that they would have found it helpful to know about the fund and believed that it could have helped them.

It seems the majority of people who may be entitled to help are the last ones who seem to find out about it and how to go about's like nobody wants to let you know unless they have to.

I wasn't aware the Fund existed, my local Council has certainly never publicised it. I think making sure that knowledge of the Fund is disseminated to those who may need it or be entitled to apply to it is essential.

There should be a proactive structure to this facility. Possible users should be actively identified and encouraged to apply i.e. homeless people, those at risk of homelessness, where a family member dies, people registered with social work etc.



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