Bill knows that bil­lions of pounds in so­cial se­cu­rity goes un­claimed

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser - - News -

Work­ing with dis­abled peo­ple ev­ery day, Bill Scott is well placed to say he feels it’s im­por­tant that peo­ple re­alise what ben­e­fits they are en­ti­tled to.

The di­rec­tor of Pol­icy at In­clu­sion Scot­land said: “As part of my job I’ve spo­ken to lit­er­ally thou­sands of dis­abled peo­ple. I’m con­stantly amazed at just how many aren’t re­ceiv­ing all the ben­e­fits that they could be.

“As a re­sult bil­lions of pounds in so­cial se­cu­rity goes un­claimed ev­ery year.

“There are all man­ner of rea­sons which can lead to a change in peo­ple’s cir­cum­stances – a long-term health con­di­tion de­te­ri­o­rat­ing, the need to pro­vide care to a rel­a­tive, the sud­den on­set of im­pair­ment af­ter a stroke or ac­ci­dent, or a happy event like a new arrival in the fam­ily or a sad one like a death.

“Even if you were told in the past that you didn’t qual­ify for any ex­tra ben­e­fits, a change in your life cir­cum­stances could mean that you do now.

“The cur­rent sys­tem can be com­plex and re­quires peo­ple to fill out lengthy forms or even make a claim on­line.

“That can be very dif­fi­cult for some peo­ple but they should be aware that help is out there through agen­cies like the Scot­tish Cit­i­zens Ad­vice ser­vice and lo­cal author­ity wel­fare rights teams.

“These agen­cies can carry out a check for you to make sure that you’re get­ting ev­ery­thing that you might be en­ti­tled to and take you through the process of ap­ply­ing.”

There are still some neg­a­tive as­so­ci­a­tions with so­cial se­cu­rity that Bill sees in his job ev­ery­day.

He said: “A lot of stigma has been cre­ated around claim­ing ben­e­fits which can make peo­ple feel that they are per­ceived as look­ing for a handout.

“But the so­cial se­cu­rity sys­tem was set up to pro­vide us with help to get through dif­fi­cult pe­ri­ods in our lives.

“This sup­port is an en­ti­tle­ment, not a handout, and every­one should claim what they are due.”

Big on ad­vice Bill Scott, di­rec­tor of Pol­icy at In­clu­sion Scot­land

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