Support to access benefits in Scotland
Get support to access benefits from Social Security Scotland, if you identify as disabled.
“Our advocates will cover the length and breadth of Scotland. The advocacy we provide will support disabled people to make sure their voices are heard and that they know and understand their rights when applying for Social Security Scotland benefits.”
An advocate can support you to access benefits from Social Security Scotland, if you identify as disabled.
Can I get an advocate?
Anyone in Scotland who self-identifies as disabled, can get advocacy support to help them to understand and access Social Security Scotland benefits.
Support is also available for parents, guardians, or carers who are accessing benefits for a disabled child. Or for parents, guardians, or carers who are disabled and want support to access social security benefits for their child.
I am not sure that I am disabled
Advocacy support is available for anyone who self-identifies as disabled. Being disabled can mean different things to different people. You might identify as disabled if you:
- find it difficult to complete every-day tasks, like washing, dressing, or doing shopping
- have a long-term physical or mental health condition that can affect your daily life
- find it difficult to see, hear or speak easily
- have a learning disability that means you find it difficult to understand some information or make important decisions by yourself
- use mobility aids or a wheelchair to move around
How can an advocate help me?
An advocate is on your side and can help you to:
- understand your options and needs
- ask questions so you can say what you want and have your voice heard
- identify issues and be fully involved in decisions about your benefits, health and wellbeing
- complete the process from the point of application, including reviews and any appeals you want to make
An advocate will support you to apply for the right benefits. Your advocate can meet with you over the phone, over video call, or might meet you in person. Some people might not need to talk things through with an advocate, so one of our advocates can send you a self-advocacy toolkit instead with advice and examples to help you complete the process. An advocate will support you in the way that works best for you so you can understand what is happening and say what you want.
Your advocate will:
- listen to what you think about what’s happening
- help you say what you want and don’t want
- help you understand information about your situation
- talk with you about your options
- plan with you about what to do next
Your advocate will not:
- offer counselling or be your friend
- offer legal advice
- make decisions for you
- provide advice or tell you what to do
- make any decisions about what benefits you get
When should I have an advocate?
Advocacy support is available as soon as you want to apply for any Scottish Social Security Benefits, including during the application process and for reviews or any appeals you want to make.
Advocacy support is entirely independent from Social Security Scotland and the Scottish government.
Benefits an advocate can support you with include:
- Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment
- Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment
- Best Start Grant School Age Payment
- Best Start Foods
- Carer’s Allowance Supplement
- Job Start Payment
- Child Disability Payment
- Child Winter Heating Assistance
- Funeral Support Payment
- Scottish Child Payment
- Young Carer Grant
- Adult Disability Payment
For the most up-to-date information about benefits from Social Security Scotland visit their website.
I want some help, but I don’t think I need an advocate
If you don’t think you need to talk things through with an advocate, we can still support you. We have a self-advocacy toolkit that is full of helpful guidance that you can use to access benefits from Social Security Scotland. Just complete our short referral form or get in touch with us by email or phone. If you’re in Scotland and identify as disabled, we’ll send you a copy of our toolkit. And if you change your mind later, and would like to work with an advocate, you can get back in touch with us at any time.
We can also provide information in other languages and formats. To ask for alternative languages or formats, call us for free on 0300 303 1600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also get advocacy support by contacting Social Security Scotland directly for free on 0800 182 2222 and asking to be referred to the Independent Advocacy Service.