Ben Macpherson MSP has said that SNP Scottish Government amendments passed today were ground-breaking in ensuring anyone challenging a decision on their social security entitlements will not experience a gap in financial support.

Ben Macpherson, who sits on Holyrood’s Social Security Committee said: “Amendments brought forward by Minister for Social Security Jeane Freeman mean that through short-term assistance payments, people will continue to have financial support when redeterminations or appeals are undertaken.

“This is an extremely positive and ground-breaking move that will ensure any claimant wishing to challenge decisions about their benefits entitlements will not be faced with suddenly having no financial support while their appeal is made.

“This means that, unlike the current DWP system, no-one will face the cliff-edge of suddenly losing much needed benefits while they wait for decisions to be taken about their future payments.

“The Scottish Government is making clear on the face of the Social Security Bill that nobody will be left in the lurch, or be pushed into crisis, while an independent body scrutinises their appeals, and their payments will be maintained at the original level throughout any such appeal.

“This will be an extremely important and positive function of a Social Security System in Scotland that is embedded in dignity and respect and with peoples’ right to social security firmly at its heart – and I am proud to have played my part in shaping it.”

Disability benefits, winter heating assistance, and employment-injury assistance will also be protected from means-testing.

Ben Macpherson: said: “I am delighted that we will be establishing firmly in law the important principle that disability benefits and winter heating support should not be means tested.

“This is particularly fitting in the week that saw a new report highlighting the additional costs of living that disabled people face, and we recognise that these benefits help level the playing field.”