MSP proposes social security amendments to guarantee payments

Alison Johnstone MSP

Green MSP Alison Johnstone has lodged a series of amendments to the Scottish Government’s Social Security Bill which are designed to ensure that everyone receives the payments they are due.

One amendment would eliminate the unnecessary medical tests which have caused such distress and hardship, especially for people with disabilities in Scotland. The second would make it clear that an application for one social security payment will be assessed to see if that person has a right to any other payments.

The third would place a duty on ministers to set targets to boost the take-up of benefits.

Alison Johnstone MSP, social security spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said: “Greens want to see an end to the harsh system of endless medical tests, that are in many cases not necessary. My amendment there will ensure that the Scottish Government can only order medical assessments when existing medical evidence is not sufficient.

“I will also ask Parliament to support a right for applicants to be considered for all support they may be entitled to, even if they only apply for one type of assistance. And that’s the key: if we as a Parliament believe people should receive these payments, we need to make sure they get what they deserve with the absolute minimum of stress and complications.

“This will help increase the take-up of social security, which in some cases can be very low. We know that £15bn worth of support across the UK goes unclaimed every year, the Scottish share of which should be some of the most vulnerable people in society and supporting our economy. The Scottish Government should be doing everything it can to increase take-up rates.”