The Scottish Government will continue to work with the Experience Panels in the development of Scotland's new social security system.
You told us that a personal statement or a statement from a carer or family member would be useful for Social Security Scotland in demonstrating that applicants were eligible for a benefit.
We are addressing this in the following ways:
- All information will be considered on its own merits, ensuring that information and statements from family members and carers is given due weight. Social Security Scotland will ensure that they are taking into account information from who the client has told us has the best understanding of the impact of their condition or disability.
- Case Managers will seek one source of supporting information from a formal source, such as confirmation of a diagnosis or letter from a support worker. Together with information from family members and carers (where applicable), this will be used to determine, on the balance of probabilities, that the individual's condition is consistent with the general care and mobility needs detailed on their application.
You told us that Social Security Scotland gathering supporting information on the client's behalf would be beneficial.
- Social Security Scotland Case Managers will help applicants identify what types of supporting information are most useful and give guidance on how best to gather them. In addition, where best for the client, Social Security Scotland will gather information from other parties or support the client in gathering this information themselves.
You told us that not every applicant will have supporting information.
- We will ensure that no-one will be disadvantaged by a lack of supporting information. Social Security Scotland's position is that consultations with Social Security Scotland Practitioners will only be used when there is no other reasonable way to gather sufficient information about functional ability. Case Managers will have the discretion to make an award in the absence of supporting information.
You told us potential timelines which members of the Experience Panels deemed appropriate for gathering supporting information alongside preferences about communication with Social Security Scotland.
- These preferences will be taken into consideration in the design of these aspects of the service of Social Security Scotland, as we consider how best to meet the needs of our service users.