Welcome to the Scottish Welfare Reform Advisory Service (ScotWRAS). Our service offers free advice to frontline support and advice staff throughout Scotland. This help is provided by Shelter Scotland and Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland.
We offer this via:
- A direct access advice line.
- An email advice service.
- Live chat with Shelter Scotland staff.
When to contact ScotWRAS
ScotWRAS can help if your work for a voluntary sector agency, Registered Social Landlord, Citizen Advice Bureaux or the NHS, if you have client with housing problem with an underlying money and debt issue that their clients are faced with.
We cover the the following areas:
- Renting rights
- Repairs and bad conditions
- Housing benefit
Money & Debt
- Financial emergencies
- Creditors and debts
- Income maximisation
ScotWRAS can provide workers with a point of reference to check information or advice that you are unsure about. We can clarify the advice about to be given and provide alternative options where necessary. Where the issue is of a technical nature we can provide specialist advice as well as sample
letters quoting relevant legislation to challenge any decision in relation to housing and money & debt. We also give workers the option of a confirmation of advice email.
As this service is funded to mitigate against the impact of welfare reform we ask that the client is in receipt of a welfare benefit. We will however, provide advice where there is an underlying entitlement or client is awaiting a decision.
CPAG in Scotland's advice line offers free, independent, expert, up-to-date advice and information on all aspects of the social security benefits and tax credits system. This includes: how to claim, what to claim, how to appeal and what to do when things go wrong.
CPAG in Scotland can be contacted via their advice line 0141-552 0552:
Monday to Thursday 10am – 4pm
Friday 10am – 12noon
or by email: email@example.com.
A Client's story
A volunteer from Citizen Advice Bureaux (CAB) was seeking advice for single parent female with 6 children living in private rented accommodation.
The client was subject to the benefit cap and was struggling to manage the rent. The CAB were assisting the client with a discretionary housing payment application, which was pending. The client was also looking for other accommodation as her current private rented property was unaffordable. She had
applied to the local authority for housing, but this application had been suspended as the client had debts relating to arrears and damages, from a previous tenancy. The CAB were seeking advice from ScotWRAS on options open to the client, as she wants to move from the private rented home but could not
access housing via the general waiting list due to suspension rules.
The ScotWRAS adviser informed the CAB on the local authority's decision to suspend the application for rehousing. The CAB were also supported in providing homelessness advice to the client. Anyone who has a home can also make a homeless application to the local authority if their current accommodation
is not reasonable to occupy, due to affordability. The local authority will then investigate whether the applicant's accommodation is indeed unreasonable for her to continue to live in based on its affordability. Homelessness legislation provides that if the decision goes against the client they
have the right to request a review.
The reason for presenting as homeless would be to access temporary accommodation and in due course an offer of affordable social housing.