Social Security Experience Panels - ethnic minorities: report

This report is on research with ethnic minority groups about their past experiences of social security and the barriers that exist to them in accessing support. It provides information about the steps Social Security Scotland is taking to help overcome these barriers.

This document is part of a collection

Other social barriers

Participants also mentioned a number of social barriers which they felt had prevented themselves and others from accessing what they were entitled to.

Financial abuse

A number of participants also said that because older people were less likely to manage their claim independently, it was possible that financial abuse could prevent clients from accessing what they were entitled to. 

Several said that language barriers and lack of confidence in the system, meant that bilingual children could often end of managing their older parent’s claim. This meant that it was possible for older clients to know very little about their claim. It also meant that sometimes these clients may not receive everything that they are entitled to. 

"I’ve seen children abusing their parent’s claim and taking money from them. They take the money and keep them isolated from their money and benefits. So the system is being abused by family members and they are not looking after their parents."

"Many of us don’t know which benefit we actually receive. This is because the children take over and manage everything."

Low confidence and isolation

Many participants spoke about how it was easy for ethnic minorities to become isolated in daily life. Some felt that it was particularly easy to become isolated if people did not have good English language skills. While others talked about how language skills affected how confident they felt about approaching authorities for help.

Several talked about how they didn’t want to be a burden for society. They said that if they got in touch with authorities, they would feel like they were bothering them. 

"There is a language barrier for me. But it makes me reluctant to get in touch with people because I don’t want to be a bother."

Participants also said Social Security Scotland could find ways to empower isolated people who were not currently confident enough to engage with them. They said that it was common for older people to rely on their children or friends, and it would be a good thing if they were encouraged to get in touch on their own. 

"It is important to increase self-esteem and confidence so people can apply for themselves. Many rely on their bilingual children or workers, but if they feel that they can do it themselves, they can connect to society. It’s important if you are an immigrant that you feel able to connect to mainstream society."



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