Mum Fiona learned the benefit of benefits
children and dealing with his contact lenses, while he was failing to thrive because he had difficulties feeding and putting on weight.
“I never did any of these things with my older daughter, so I wrote back showing the extra things we were doing over and above usually looking after a baby and they agreed and awarded him DLA.”
Often there is a fear of stigma with applying for social security but Fiona urges people to recognise that they are an entitlement. She said: “If you think you qualify – check the rules or ask someone if you qualify – the money is yours by right and can help your income improve. Claiming benefits can also be about getting your National Insurance stamp paid, or being able to claim a state pension in the future.
“Sometimes getting one benefit opens up a gate to entitlement to another benefit such as being able to apply for a blue parking badge, or funding to do an ILA course, discounted tickets or membership fees or a council bus pass.
“Benefits are not a handout and not charity – they’re set aside for the reasons you apply, whether it’s illness, disability, unemployment, housing or whatever reason.” These are the key messages for the awareness-raising campaign: ●Find out if you’re eligible for this support ●Make sure you’re getting the help you’re entitled to. Social security is an investment in everyone and is there to help people when they need it.
It is estimated that more than half a million (500,000) individuals and families in Scotland are not claiming the benefits they are entitled to. Changes in life circumstances and life events mean anybody could need support at some point in their lives (i.e. it could apply to any of us one day).
Citizens Advice Scotland can provide further information, visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland/benefits/ or call the Citizens Advice.
Free benefits helpline on 0800 085 7145.