THIRD SECTOR organisations in Scotland are to be paid a fee for helping provide supporting information for people applying for Child Disability Payment or Adult Disability Payment. The £33.50 fee will be paid when they are asked by Social Security Scotland to complete a supporting information request form.

People who are applying for disability benefits who find it difficult or face barriers gathering supporting information themselves will be able to name organisations to provide this for them.

These can include third sector organisations that are helping them in their day-to-day lives, such as those offering social care or support during an illness. Collecting supporting information on behalf of people is a key difference in how people are encouraged and supported to apply for Scottish Government disability benefits.

Supporting information request forms are completed to help understand how a person’s health condition or disability affects their lives and what support they need. As well as information from health and social care professions, information could also come from charities and third sector organisations who support disabled people.

The process of requesting and giving equal consideration to supporting information from third sector organisations is not offered by the Department for Work and Pensions in England and Wales and is an example of how Social Security Scotland is doing things differently to better support people applying for benefits.

If disabled people need additional help to apply for Scottish Government benefits, the free and independent Advocacy Service, provided by VoiceAbility, helps people throughout the whole of the process, from the point of application, through to any request for redetermination and appeal.

Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “We know that third sector organisations supporting disabled people are often best placed to provide information on their conditions and needs which is why we are introducing this payment. We recognise the value of the information that organisations supporting disabled people can supply and we want to put it on an equal footing with the information from other professionals, such as social care staff or GPs

“People who are applying for disability benefits often have extra support from charities and third sector organisations. This new system will give people more choice in who can help them provide Social Security Scotland with the information that is needed as part of their application, which will help them apply for Child Disability Payment or Adult Disability Payment.

“We are committed to making sure everyone gets the financial support they are entitled to and we actively work to encourage take-up of Scottish Government social security benefits by promoting our 13 benefits, collaborating with various organisations and removing barriers to access.”

* More information from Social Security Scotland here.

* Source: Scottish Government