MSP meets campaigners to discuss welfare system improvements

Blind and partially sighted campaigners lobby Scottish Social Security Secretary to improve welfare system

Campaigners meet with MSP
MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville has met with a group of blind and partially sighted campaigners to discuss how improvements can be made to the welfare system in Scotland (30 January).

The Scottish Social Security Secretary listened to campaigners who feel that the current Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) system too often refuses to support those with sight loss. The campaigners explained that these decisions are based on “flawed” assessments that are later overturned when appealed.

Director of the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) Scotland, James Adams, shared: “We hear alarming stories of people who have been medically certified as having sight loss still having to undergo demeaning and pointless assessments. This can be by assessors who have little idea about the different types of sight loss conditions and how these can affect people.”

Mr Adam said that the RNIB urges the Social Security Secretary to ensure that assessments in the new system that is in the process of being devolved to Scotland “treats people with dignity and respect and is informed by a much better understanding of sight loss.”

Following the meeting, Ms Somerville said: “I have heard directly from many disabled people about their frustrations and anger with the current DWP assessments process. A process that for some can feel like an obstacle course in which they are treated with a lack of empathy. I am determined to ensure that the assessment process in Scotland is very different.”