Alzheimer Scotland - Action on Dementia

National Welfare Rights Service

Our National Welfare Rights Service exists to increase the incomes of people with dementia, their carers and families through promoting the take up of benefit and discounts that may be available to them, as well as providing them with access to independent and accurate information about local authority financial assessments in respect of charges for the costs of residential and non-residential care. The service also aims to ensure that people have access to high quality information regarding relevant legislation – which includes the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000. The service is an information resource for the whole organisation with the aim of empowering our own staff and other agencies across Scotland by being a specialist ‘second tier’ source of knowledge and expertise, thereby reaching more people with dementia and their carers throughout Scotland.

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Registered Charity in Scotland (SC022315)





  • Community Support & DevelopmentCommunity Support & Development
  • Education/Training/EmploymentEducation/Training/Employment
  • Health/WellbeingHealth/Wellbeing
  • Homeless/RefugeHomeless/Refuge
  • Human Rights/AdvocacyHuman Rights/Advocacy


  • Older PeopleOlder People



About the National Welfare Rights Service Social Security legislation is possibly the most complex and ever changing area of administrative law in the UK. Limited access to information, complex claims forms and bureaucratic procedures for claiming benefits and for challenging decisions makes the claims process daunting for anyone. For some people in our society, already difficult procedures are compounded by disability. People with dementia are especially vulnerable and as a result require a great deal of support in order to find their way in the maze that is the Social Security system. The role of caring for someone with dementia can be demanding and stressful. Many carers experience financial hardship as a result of a loss of earnings after giving up employment to care for a friend or member of the family. The costs of caring or living with a disability create further financial hardship. Extra heating, laundry and transport costs are some examples. The Welfare Rights Service provides a valuable service to people with dementia, their carers and their families. The service helps people through maximizing their income by ensuring that they are in receipt the benefits to which they are entitled. The service also provides a valuable source of independent advice to people with dementia and their carers. It is essential that service users have access to independent information and advice regarding benefits administered by Department of Work and Pensions and Local Authorities. Many people referred to the Welfare Rights Service request information about other issues such as how to use the provisions of the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 to assist an adult who has lost capacity to manage their financial and social welfare or, free personal care and the financial implications of the Local Authority financial assessment of a potential future need for nursing home care. The Welfare Rights Service is able to offer high quality independent advice and assist in corresponding with Local Authorities on behalf of clients in what are very important and complex issues. The Welfare Rights Service provides a unique service tailored to meet the specific needs of people with dementia and their carers. Not only does the service understand the complexities of welfare provision it also understands how dementia affects the everyday lives people with the illness and is therefore able to provide an effective and valuable service. Funding the National Welfare Rights Service The nature of the service (providing advice about local authority assessments, etc) means that it is very important it remains funded by voluntary income in order to maintain its independence. However a key strategic feature of the National Welfare Rights Service is to develop partnership working with other agencies – significantly including The Pension Service (an executive agency of the Department for Work and Pensions) as this means we can work with the government strategy to tackle poverty among older people. Achievements of The Welfare Rights Service • The Service has developed a comprehensive database that is a directory of welfare rights and money advice available throughout Scotland • Fact sheets have been developed to act as a guide for staff and service users, once approved these should be available on our website. • The development of partnership working with The Pension Service • In the past the work of the Service resulted in increasing income and decreasing outgoings for cases to the tune of over £400,000. • The Service Manager provides training to external organisations including Child Poverty Action Group and Carers Scotland. • Development of a comprehensive training programme available to all staff. Alzheimer Scotland has really hard to ensure that the costs of this service are kept tightly under control and we run this national service for between £60k to £70k every year. This represents a fantastic investment as the income it secures for people with dementia and the carers is not only in the hundreds of thousands but ongoing too.