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Government seeks applications for social security ‘Experience Panels’

Wednesday 26 April 2017

What’s your experience of claiming benefits to support someone living with dementia? In three years’ time, responsibility for the management and delivery of some benefits will transfer from Westminster to the Scottish Government. This is an ideal opportunity to make changes to the system and improve how it works for people with dementia and their carers.

The Scottish Government is looking for people in Scotland with recent experience of receiving benefits, such as Attendance Allowance, Carers Allowance or Personal Independence Payments (among others) to join a panel to help them shape Scotland’s social security system.

Last year Alzheimer Scotland worked with people with dementia and carers to draft a response to an initial Scottish Government consultation on the matter. Many of the people we spoke to said they found the current system stressful and difficult to navigate. It was noted that the system isn’t particularly transparent around helping people to understand which benefits they could be eligible for and that more clarity would be welcomed. People also shared their frustrations that dementia didn’t appear to be recognised as a degenerative condition and that repeated assessments caused undue pressure on people with dementia and carers.

If there are things about the current system that you think could be improved, getting involved with the Social Security Experience Panels is the perfect opportunity to have your views heard. The Panels will gather opinions and ideas over a period of four years, starting this summer. There are different ways to get involved, such as completing short surveys, being interviewed, or attending workshops – some of which can be carried out from the comfort of your own home.

If you’d like more information, the Scottish Government has published a ‘Have your say’ document and a Frequently Asked Questions webpage containing further information about the Experience Panels and what taking part will involve.

To join the Experience Panels, you must complete the registration form, which can be completed online or printed out and returned in hard copy. 

Additional support is available by calling the Freephone number: 0800 029 4974.

The deadline for applications is Friday 12 May 2017.

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