Scotland’s new social security service will be able to offer services from its base in Aberdeen.
People can apply for the Scottish Government’s new disability assistance benefits in the way that is best for them.
Options will include returning a paper form by post, applying over the phone, filling in an online form or getting help from a member of staff based in their local community.
Social Security Scotland, the agency which will administer these benefits on behalf of the Scottish Government, is continuing work to set up this local service.
It employs four staff in Aberdeen and has secured space in one location. This will grow as more benefits are introduced and demand increases.
Locations have been identified based on feedback from experience panels and through working alongside community partners including the voluntary sector. This will help to identify venues that are easily accessed and many of our clients already make use of.
Social security secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said it is important to make sure people in need of benefits know how to access them.
She said: “Making sure that people are able to apply for benefits in the way that is right for them is one of the absolute fundamentals to ensuring that everyone gets the money that they are entitled to.
“The world is changing and things like the ongoing pandemic are changing the way people access services, with more and more of us looking to do so online. However, we don’t want a service that only works for the majority, it needs to work for everyone. We need to make sure that no one is left behind.
“This is why we are designing a system that gives people choices and makes sure that we take into consideration different accessibility needs – particularly for those looking to apply for disability assistance.
“People will have a range of ways in which they can apply for the disability benefits we will introduce. This includes applying online and also the option to apply in person with one of our specially trained staff located in communities in every council area.
“In setting up this service, we are taking a truly tailored approach. We want to understand the unique needs of local communities. We will continue to work with others to gain this understanding and to make sure that we have people available in the right places and at the right times across Aberdeen City.”
Social Security Scotland is in charge of managing devolved benefits and it is headquartered in Dundee.