Consultation on Social Security in Scotland - Policy Response

By: Shelter Scotland
Published: October 2016

Consultation on Social Security in Scotland - Policy Response

Key points:

- We urge the Scottish Government to carefully assess the impact of the previous system and work to provide a system that meets the needs of the individuals who use it while treating them with dignity and respect.

- In preparation for the Scottish Government to take responsibility of the full benefit administration in Scotland, we urge ministers to consider introducing a “start-off” payment to avoid financial hardship caused by the initial period of nil income experienced by many households directly after applying for social security.

- We recommend an end to immediate benefit stoppages which occur as a result of a change of circumstances. Individual cases should be investigated fully before any benefits are stopped so that households do not experience hardship.

- We support social security recipients having a choice over the way their money is paid to them, in terms of split payments and payment frequencies.

- We support greater use of alternative payment arrangements, especially in the private rented sector.

- We support the eventual abolition of the bedroom tax through use of flexibilities around universal credit.

- We strongly support benefit recipients having access to independent advice and advocacy to support them through the social security process, and that this right is embedded in a 'Claimants’ Charter' type document or in legislation.

- We call for the improved administration of social security, including shorter waiting times and fairer assessments.