Welfare and benefits

HIV is unlike many other chronic illnesses because the seriousness of a person’s symptoms and the effects of medication can vary from day to day, which for some can make gaining and sustaining employment more difficult.

While many people with HIV in Scotland can and do work, there are those who have poor treatment responses at some point in their lives and become chronically unwell and in need of support.

In particular people who are diagnosed with HIV late or very late (when the virus has had significant impact on their immune system) can need support - including welfare support - for day-to-day living.

People who were diagnosed in the early days of the epidemic can also have complex support needs which often go unmet; in the late 1980s and early 1990s many people diagnosed with HIV were told that they were not likely to live more than a few years. This often affected their financial planning and outlook, with many even counselled to cash in their pensions.

These factors mean that people with HIV may need welfare benefits at some point in their lives. As there have been extensive changes to the welfare system in the UK in recent years, accessing these benefits can be challenging.

Read about HIV Scotland's work to influence welfare benefits policy for the better, or find out where you can get welfare support and advice below.

Where you can get support on welfare benefits issues

HIV Scotland and Hepatitis Scotland have produced a report looking at the impact changes to the welfare benefits system have had: Welfare reform in Scotland: the impact on people living with HIV and hepatitis [PDF - 2MB]. The report includes an appendix listing welfare support services in local areas, which may be useful if you are having problems with welfare issues or if you have questions.

The following services which operate across Scotland may also be able to provide you with support and advice: