A fundamental review of the current system is needed, say experts
Scotland should aim for a “world-leading” disability assistance system, according to a coalition of experts.
The Scottish Campaign on Rights to Social Security (SCoRSS), which includes leading charities and campaign groups, says a fundamental review of disability assistance must be initiated during the next parliament to make long-term improvements to social security for disabled people.
SCoRSS says disabled people must be involved in such a review, which should take a human rights-based approach that supports their right to independent living.
It also recommends that support must take into account the additional costs associated with an impairment to allow those receiving social security to enjoy equal participation in society.
Citizens Advice Scotland’s social justice spokesperson, Mhoraig Green, said: “The Scottish Government has committed to a number of encouraging changes to disability assistance that will be an improvement on the current system.
“We support the safe and secure approach to transferring payments from the Department of Work and Pension but it does leave some questions unanswered and a number of parts of the current system intact. The inherited system of social security for disabled people is one that has evolved through a series of partial reforms rather than being designed as a whole.
“Longer-term reforms are needed and with this report we want to support the progressive realisation of a world-leading rights-based system of support for disabled people. Implementing these recommendations over the next parliament is Scotland's chance to create that.”
Chief executive of the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland, Professor Ian Welsh OBE, added: “People living with long-term conditions and disabled people have the right to live independently and contribute towards society. It is therefore essential that Scotland seizes the opportunity to further realise this right by creating a visionary social security system for the future.
“Co-producing the new system puts people with lived experience at the centre, ensures that their voices and expertise drive policy and that their rights sit at the heart of public service design and delivery.”
Other SCoRSS members who are joining the campaign include Inclusion Scotland, the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, the National Association of Welfare Rights Advisers (NAWRA), the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS), MS Society Scotland and the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance (SIAA).