A north-east charity which supports deaf and blind people is offering them support accessing benefits.
North East Sensory Services (NESS) received a grant from the Scottish Government, allowing it to provide a service to people with impairments to help them understand the welfare system.
It comes as changes are set to be made to the system due to further devolution.
A total of 27 blind and deaf people in the north-east have already taken advantage of the help available, and further support is planned for the coming months.
Graham Findlay, chief executive of NESS, said: “With all the changes to the benefits system in recent years, it is important that people are able to keep up with what to apply for and how.
“If you’re someone with visual or hearing impairments, the challenge is even tougher still.
“This has been recognised by the Scottish Government and we’re delighted that government funding has already helped 27 blind and deaf people in the north east.
“Without that assistance, they may have missed out on crucial payments upon which they depend.
“Ensuring they can access all the payments they need and deserve is a crucial way of enabling people with sensory impairments can take part in society to the same extent as others.
“The pandemic has provided even more challenging circumstances, so it’s essential charities like NESS can continue to help in this way.”
The Scottish Government’s cabinet secretary for social security and older people Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “NESS is doing vital work in supporting people living with sensory loss to access financial support they are eligible for.
“We have been clear that enabling people to claim the benefits they are entitled to is a moral imperative and a fundamental priority – however, we know that we couldn’t deliver this without the invaluable contribution of our stakeholders.
“The Scottish Benefit Take-up Fund ensures that such organisations are equipped to support their clients in accessing the new Scottish benefits.
“We are taking a rights-based and person-centred approach to social security, and have involved people with lived experience every step of the way.
“Having heard people’s negative experiences of navigating the UK benefit system time and again, we are committed to delivering a markedly different system which treats people with dignity, fairness and respect.”