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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-16248: Rhoda Grant (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 1 May 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what action it takes to ensure that the people who were infected by contaminated blood are in receipt of the correct level of benefit and that no person who is entitled to these is left without regular payments, and how it monitors the effectiveness of this.

Answered by: Shona Robison 10 May 2018

The payments provided by the Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme (SIBSS) to those affected by infected NHS blood are not taken into account when calculating a beneficiary's entitlement to means-tested benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions. SIBSS gathers information on benefits claimed when assessing eligibility for income top-up payments or one-off grants and encourages beneficiaries to claim all of the benefits they are, or seem to be entitled to.

SIBSS also directs beneficiaries to financial advice services and has provided grants for a welfare rights advisor to provide detailed advice and assistance to some SIBSS beneficiaries who have appealed against DWP benefits decisions. However, SIBSS does not have information covering the full individual circumstances of any beneficiary and, apart from those beneficiaries seeking income top-up or one-off grant payments, does not have access to data about beneficiaries' benefits; therefore it cannot monitor whether all beneficiaries are accessing the correct benefits.