Applications for disability benefits in Scotland could become much easier through the introduction of an online application system, according to the Scottish Government.
Under the current DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) system, people can only apply for disability assistance via post or telephone.
However, a new system set to be introduced by the Scottish Government will enable people to apply online, face-to-face or by the aforementioned traditional methods. The Scottish Government is set to take responsibility for disability assistance next year along with a host of devolved benefits.
Sopra Steria was awarded the contract for the online application system in November 2018. Worth £5.2 million over a three-year period, the project will focus on the design and configuration of the client-facing online application portal.
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Commenting on the announcement, social security secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “We are continuing to build a social security system that is inclusive and puts people at its heart. By giving people more choice and flexibility about how to apply for assistance we hope to encourage more people who are eligible for benefits to apply and get the money they are entitled to.”
Somerville added: “The online application option, together with our commitment to an improved assessment service, puts people’s wellbeing first and will greatly improve the experience of people in Scotland who need disability assistance.”
Additional work is set to be carried out on the internal systems that Social Security Scotland uses to manage and deliver benefits, Holyrood also confirmed. The work will be carried out by DXC Technology as part of a contract worth £13.9 million over three years.
This will help to further develop the existing technology currently used by the organisation – focusing heavily on the design and configuration of the case management platform for disability and carer benefits.