Read aloud or translate

It’s made a massive impact on my son’s life:” how Nicola used advocacy to apply for Scottish benefits

3 March 2023

Read Nicola’s experience of making an application for Child Disability Payment.

I applied online for Child Disability Payment for my son. I applied and I got myself into a right state. I just couldn’t do it, the phone was going to go out of the window I was that stressed out – I just couldn’t decipher it. 

I contacted VoiceAbility, and got Gillian who was an absolute saviour. 

She came in and managed to guide me, but without putting words into my mouth. She let me decide what needed to be done, and treated me with the utmost respect. 

Nicola, left, with her advocate Gillian

I got to the point where I was saying oh, I can’t do this, and she said: yes you can. She gave me the confidence, and before I knew it I got it sent away. 

It came back as a no, but Gillian said don’t panic, these are the next steps. She gave me the confidence to take it on, and we won the redetermination.

It’s made a massive impact on my son’s life, because it means he’s now getting what he needs to live a happier life.

For my daughter’s application, we requested a paper copy, because she’s more complex and has got a lot more things going on. Gillian again broke it down into smaller parts so I didn’t have to do it all at one time, I could do it in multiple sessions. 

We got it sent away and she’s got Child Disability Payment now too, which has made a massive difference to my family. It’s made a difference to me too as I’m now not so scared to fill out forms, and I know what’s expected now. No more getting stressed out.

I work as a volunteer in the local community, so if I see other people struggling, I tell them, I know the woman for the job!

It has made a massive difference, and I know it’s made a massive difference to people I’ve worked with as well.

Nicola gave us permission to use their real name in this story.

Advocacy support to access Social Security Scotland benefits

Scottish government has commissioned VoiceAbility to provide free, independent advocacy support to help disabled people access twelve different Social Security Scotland benefits. This includes supporting people like Nicola to apply for Child Disability Payment for her children.

Advocates are available across Scotland, and can provide support in person, on the phone and by email. They can also provide you with a self-advocacy toolkit to help you understand the process.