As aspects of social security become devolved for the first time, organisations are very pleased that the system will offer automatic split payments of universal credit to protect women’s financial autonomy. It will also aim to end unnecessary disability assessments.
The Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance, the ALLIANCE, SCVO and others have been campaigning for independent advocacy to be included in the Social Security Bill. The Scottish Government listened to their concerns and brought forward an amendment at Stage 3 to provide advocacy services for disabled people. Organisations are pleased at this positive step forwards, though remain concerned that advocacy should be available to anyone who needs it.
There is also significant concern that advocacy services must be independent – not regulated by the Scottish Government – but Government regulation was introduced in a last-minute amendment to the Bill. Contact SCVO or SIAA if you would like more information or would like to support their work around this.
MND Scotland and Marie Curie are pleased that the Scottish Government tabled an amendment to remove the 6 month definition for people who are terminally ill, so that fast-tracked benefits will now be based on clinical judgment.
Read more about the Bill here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/Bills/105267.aspx
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