Social Security Experience Panels: benefit take-up – visual summary

Visual summary of findings from research with Social Security Experience Panels members about their experiences of accessing the benefit system.

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Improving application and assessments processes

We asked participants if there were any other things that had made it difficult for them to access what they were entitled to. Many spoke about challenges with application and assessment processes.

Participants agreed it was stressful to complete the application forms accurately. They also described how it was difficult to answer certain questions on their own.

“The design of the forms is setting you up to go it alone.”

“The forms are designed to trick you. I think they are. They say fill in this, then move to another box round the corner.”

It was felt that Social Security Scotland needed to support those who would be looking at the forms for the first time .

Participants said that it was very difficult having a health assessment. Some said that they were filled with dread at the thought of being assessed. A number of participants said that they had not been assessed by someone with the correct medical expertise.

“The horror of the assessments that really gets to me I think. The horror of the brown envelope when you see it on your doorstep. And it’s all because of how horrible the assessments can be.”

Participants felt that Social Security Scotland assessors should be able to look at a client’s situation and signpost them to a range of benefits.

“During an initial assessment, the assessor should be able to look at the person’s situation and identify what they are eligible for. The assessor must be active and opposed to the assessors for DWP where they only deal with the one thing. They should look at the whole situation and give you the right options.”



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