Social Security Scotland to avoid using DWP’s toxic terminology

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Social Security Advisory Committee members visit the agency's Dundee HQ

Research shows certain language stigmatises claimants 

15th November 2019 by Robert Armour 1 Comment

Social Security Scotland will avoid using the terms “benefits” and “allowances” because its research says the words have become toxic.

Experience panels established to scope how the new agency would operate, found previous language stigmatised people claiming support from the state.    

Disabled and disability were also seeing as unhelpful.

Alternatives included words such as "assistance", "payment" and "support", words that were viewed as more empowering and focused on people’s independence.

Several benefits have been inherited from the Department of Work and Pensions, which will eventually be relied upon by 1.4m people.

These include Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment and Carer's Allowance, as well as Cold Weather and Winter Fuel Payments.

Social Security Scotland is in charge of administering the new schemes as they launch and has been asking people who already use the welfare system for their views.

One survey conducted in April and May this year involved 278 people with experience of claiming disability benefits and included questions on words the new agency should avoid or embrace.

"Respondents said that Social Security Scotland should avoid negative, stigmatising terms such as 'disabled', 'disability', 'benefit' and 'allowance'," the analysis of the survey stated.

It also quoted several respondents. One said: "Stick to the positive and encouraging. Always give the impression that the agency is on the claimant's side."

Another added: "Definitely use positive words that give people a feeling of receiving something that they have every right to have. Words like 'payments', 'finances' and 'amounts'."

Ministers plan to use the responses to inform their decisions on the names of the new benefits, which are being rolled out in phases over the next two years.

15th November 2019 by A Disabled Person

There's nothing wrong with being a disabled person or identifying as such! Its non disabled people who tell me I can't use the word! Understand this is a public survey, but its not helpful to perpetuate the idea that disabled/disability are "bad words" - how else do we come together, know our rights etc.