The UK social security system is a complex web – so much so that it is often difficult to navigate alone. As such, it often falls to welfare rights officers to navigate the system on behalf of their clients to ensure people are aware of and awarded the benefits that they are entitled to.
Many of our members rely on social security but are not able to access welfare rights advice because they can’t physically get into the building due to inaccessible premises or the drop in sessions mean a lengthy and challenging waiting time that deters people living with pain, fatigue or mental health problems amongst others.
Rights Now, GDA’s welfare rights project based in our office in the east end of Glasgow is funded by Glasgow City Council. The project was part of the Council’s commitment to mitigate the impact of the roll out of Universal Credit. It offers a free, fully accessible welfare benefits information, advice and representation service to disabled people and those with long-term conditions in Glasgow.
The Unique Rights Now Approach to Engagement and Support
As the largest Disabled Persons Organisation in Scotland with over 5,000 members plus organisational members also led by disabled people across Greater Glasgow, it was a priority to promote the Rights Now project to GDA networks. As anticipated, there has been a staggering demand for project support.
Rights Now is fully accessible and offers:
Assistance with transport to and from meetings which are held in an accessible and private meeting room
An appointment system at GDA’s accessible office
Personal Assistance if required
Outreach to community venues
Communication support if required
Importantly the project offers support from the same adviser from application right through to appeal if needed.
“ The Rights Now adviser takes you through the whole process from start to finish – rather than just saying I’ll meet you half an hour before your hearing and you have to turn up to see someone that you have never met before. It’s been a positive experience for me and I got my award!”
Lizan, a GDA member
Rights Now! has been hugely successful – with the Rights Now team securing almost £800,000 in the first year of the project for disabled people and those with long term conditions in Glasgow. This money has gone straight into the pockets of disabled people, improving their lives, tackling inequalities and helping to boost Glasgow’s economy at the same time. By creating an accessible service, our members and others in the city have received the support they are entitled to.
If you require assistance with social security, you can speak to GDA’s Rights Now! Welfare Rights Officers on 0141 556 7103.