A WELFARE legal expert has criticized “unacceptable” delays in registering Scots for disability benefits after new powers were handed to SNP ministers.
They said claimants had to wait hours on the phone and had to wait up to seven months to find out if they were eligible for the benefit.
Delays in paying adult disability payments sparked anger that the new Scottish Social Insurance Agency is struggling – despite nearly 4,000 staff, annual operating costs of £303m and an estimated set-up cost of £715m.
Nats ministers say they will be “more compassionate” than the UK Government-run Department for Works and Pensions.
But Steven McAvoy, a welfare rights officer at charity Enable Scotland, said: “While we would prefer a good decision that takes a little time to a quick, bad decision, the wait times we are currently experiencing are not real acceptable.” .”
The transfer of more than 350,000 Scots to ADP – which replaces UK government benefits such as Personal Independence Payments and Disability Living Allowance – is expected to last until 2025.
Plaintiff Robert Scott, from Kirkcaldy, who quit his job as a chef due to a spinal injury, told BBC Scotland he had been waiting for a decision since December.
Social Affairs Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said the average waiting time is around four months, with “a small number of cases taking longer”.
Scottish Tory Social Security spokesman Jeremy Balfour said: “This is just the latest example of the SNP’s botched welfare schemes, which they have been desperate to gain control of.”
Scottish Labor MP Paul O’Kane chimed in: “People are suffering from these shameful delays.
“Wait times are even worse than under the DWP.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat Willie Rennie added: “They promised applications would be processed in eight to 10 weeks but wait times are more than double that.”
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