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Sister talking to her disabled brother in the kitchen.
Social security

How social security can deliver for disabled people in Scotland

This research looks at how disability assistance could reduce poverty in Scotland. In particular, it looks at how the Scottish Government and Social Security Scotland can look to maximise the power of social security to improve living standards, and loosen poverty’s grip on disabled people.

Written by:
Shelagh Young
Date published:

The research was done in partnership with the Glasgow Disability Alliance, Dundee Fighting for Fairness, and Inclusion Scotland bringing the voices of disabled people and those who work to support them to the fore. It finds that while the Scottish Government and Social Security Scotland’s approach, which is rightly based on dignity, is a welcome change, there are concerns that this will not be reflected in practice.

Key Findings

To ensure our social security system works better for disabled people, the next Scottish Government and Social Security Scotland should:

  • Continue to recognise disabled people’s distrust of the social security system, and determinedly reiterate their commitment to disabled people receiving the payments they are entitled to through a system with dignity at its core.
  • Work to raise broader public awareness of people’s entitlement to disability assistance benefits, because the lack of awareness is causing stigma that is discouraging people from applying. One specific goal should be to re-establish the fact that Disability Assistance is for the additional costs of living incurred by disabled people.
  • As a key underpinning of that, incorporate the rights of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into devolved law.
  • Ensure meaningful scrutiny of the new disability assistance benefits by disabled people and Disabled People’s Organisations.
  • Ensure that sufficient funding is provided to third sector organisations and support agencies including Disabled People’s Organisations for advice and advocacy to assist disabled people in accessing the payments they are entitled to.
  • Work with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and local authorities to provide a one-stop shop for disabled people to access all support they are entitled to.
  • Bring forward the review of disability assistance to review adequacy of payments and ensure they reflect the real cost of living for disabled people.
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