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What’s it like to apply for Adult Disability Payment?

12 April 2023

Kirsten shared her experience of the application process for this Social Security Scotland benefit, and how advocacy supported her.

I had done part of the Adult Disability Payment form, and I just got stuck. I didn’t know where to go with the next part, or how to start it. I’d helped other people doing their ones for the DWP before, but it’s so different when you’re doing it for yourself. 

I phoned up Social Security Scotland after part one was done, and said I don’t know what I’m doing, this is much harder than I thought it was going to be’ – and they were fabulous, so helpful. I was so hesitant about phoning them. I thought: are they going to be negative, is this going to be a positive experience or is it going to be horrible? Am I going to be made to feel bad? But no, they were so lovely about it all. They said then that they could send somebody out to the house to help. 

I quite like doing things myself so I went away and looked on the website, and saw the link to VoiceAbility, and did a self-referral. 

I really liked that: rather than being referred by somebody else, I liked that I’m in control of it.

I communicated with VoiceAbility by email until Alex was assigned to my case, and then we did everything over the phone. I emailed drafts back and forth to her, and all my notes that were just total gibberish! We did it on Google Docs, so she put wee comments in to say, you could maybe expand on this bit, or have you thought about how that might affect this? 

She’s so knowledgeable. I don’t think I’ve met anybody who knows as much as Alex does. The way she can just draw things out of you is fantastic – it’s exactly what you need.

She was a huge help, and I don’t think I would’ve got it submitted if it hadn’t been for having that support.

I’m so grateful for it. It still took me ages, but Alex was very patient with me. Everything went at my pace, when I was available. 

It’s all been a positive experience, despite the fact that actually completing the form was difficult, and very stressful – there’s no getting away from that. I got quite down and demotivated after doing it for a while. 

The guy I spoke to from Social Security Scotland said no, we’re not trying to catch you out, it doesn’t all need to be about your worst days, but of course you have to talk about all the negative things, and it makes it really difficult. One of my coping mechanisms is to spin things so that it’s better, and I’m coping because of having these things in place, so I don’t have to think about the problem. 

It was a difficult thing to do, but so much better with Alex. VoiceAbility are wonderful.

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