Citizens Advice network helps people gain £84m in social security payments
Scotland’s Citizens Advice network unlocked more than £84 million in benefits payments for its clients in 2018-19, according to new figures released today.
More than £30m of this related to Personal Independence Payment (PIP), while more than £16m was in Disability Living Allowance (DLA), and more than £10m was Universal Credit payments (UC).
The figures are released by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) in a submission to the Scottish Parliament’s social security committee, which is looking at the issue of benefit take-up.
The submission also includes a summary of recommendations for CAB advisers on how to boost take up, including;
- Automating elements of the process, where eligibility information is known
- Funding independent advice and advocacy
- Changing application, eligibility and assessment rules
- Giving people the choice of applying for benefits in person, over the phone or online.
Publishing the submission, CAS social justice spokesperson Mhoraig Green said: “The Scottish Citizens Advice network helps hundreds of thousands of people every year and what we see is that many people are not claiming the benefits they are entitled to, or are having difficulty with their claim.
“Other people are having their payments withheld and need help to appeal. In all of these cases our network offers free, impartial and confidential advice and support, putting money in the pockets of people who need it.
“This is money people are entitled to receive, and in many cases it is a vital contribution which helps that family to make ends meet, pay their bills and put food on the table.
“We are proud of the work our advisers have done here. As well as the value this money has for the individual cases, we have also released a significant sum into the economy which would otherwise have remained locked in the system.
“That’s why we want to see more action from both the Scottish and UK government to encourage people to claim what they are due.”