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Recognising British Sign Language in Scotland

Child using British Sign Language

As part of our commitment to delivering a social security system which is inclusive and treats people with dignity, fairness and respect, we offer extra support to those accessing and applying for social security.

In 2015, Scotland took a monumental step by recognising British Sign Language as an official language, following the British Sign Language (Scotland) Act. This not only acknowledged the language’s importance in Scotland’s culture, but also placed a duty on public bodies to promote and support the use of British Sign Language.

Social Security Scotland is committed to ensuring that the social security system is as accessible as it can be, which is why our information is available in different formats, including British Sign Language versions of our factsheets.

We also run a Text Relay Service to support those who are hard of hearing, which people can access by dialling 18001 +0300 244 4000.

Our teams of specially trained Client Support Advisers are based in every Local Authority area in Scotland. They can help clients to complete online or paper application forms, offer support with identification and document verification and help with submitting change of circumstances information.

People with hearing loss can book an appointment with local advisers at a time, place and venue that suits them. Appointments can be made either in their own home, in person at one of our local outreach venues by video call, or by visiting our Head Office at Agnes Husband House in Dundee.

We can also arrange support from Interpreters and Communicator Guides to help people with hearing loss get access to the information and support they need.

If people with hearing loss need extra support to apply for our benefits, they can also contact the Independent Advocacy Service, delivered by VoiceAbility, who provide advocacy throughout the whole of the process, from the point of application, through to any request for redetermination and appeals. People can access this support by visiting VoiceAbility provide information in various formats, including British Sign Language.

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