Claimants will be allowed to have someone with them during assessment
Social security legislation will be amended in Scotland to give people the right to have someone with them during welfare assessments.
Social security minister Jeane Freeman said she would amend the current social security bill going through parliament to give applicants the right to be accompanied in meetings.
Ministers have already announced plans to increase carer’s allowance, increase the frequency of universal credit payments and pay rent direct to landlords.
Freeman is to put forward an amendment stipulating that anyone who wishes to do so can have "a supporter" present during any meeting or assessment relating to their benefit entitlements, who can make representations on the applicant's behalf.
Freeman said that at present, assessments "can feel like a barrier to accessing benefits and help", saying the Scottish agency "will not replicate the current system when disability benefits are devolved".
She said: "Under the current system, people who attend assessments aren't able to have someone with them during the assessment.
"I think this runs contrary to our rights-based approach and if we truly want our system to have fairness, dignity and respect at heart then we should give people the right to have a friend or family member - a supporter - with them when they need it.
"We have all been in situations where we could do with a helping hand from someone who knows us, or just a bit of moral support. This is proof that Scotland will do things differently and one of the first ways we can show people we mean exactly what we say."