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More social security rights

Sottish Government plans to guarantee social security applicants support.

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Anyone applying for social security assistance under Scotland’s new system will have a right to have someone with them during assessments or meetings, under new Scottish Government plans.

In a change from the current system, the amendment to the Social Security (Scotland) Bill lodged by Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman would ensure any applicant has the right to be accompanied if they need or want it.

Ms Freeman said:

“We know the current DWP system can make people nervous about health assessments when accessing benefits. People can feel that instead of being about assessing needs and what support is necessary, assessments can feel like a barrier to accessing benefits and help.

“We don’t want people’s experience to be like that, so we will not replicate the current system when disability benefits are devolved.

“Under the current system, people who attend assessments aren’t able to have someone with them during the assessment. I think this runs contrary to our rights-based approach and, if we truly want our system to have fairness, dignity and respect at heart, then we should give people the right to have a friend or family member – a supporter – with them when they need it.

“We have all been in situations where we could do with a helping hand from someone who knows us, or just a bit of moral support.”