NEW REPORT: Welfare reform making life worse for people with HIV and hepatitis

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Tuesday 22nd July 2014

Welfare report cover

Across the last few years, changes to the welfare system have been extensive. Charities and support services have been growing increasingly concerned that people with disabilities, and those living in intense poverty, are being hit hardest by the changes.

HIV Scotland and Hepatitis Scotland have produced a new report [PDF - 2MB] examining the impact of welfare reforms specifically on people living with HIV, viral hepatitis or both, and the services that support them - and making recommendations for change.

The report raises deeply concerning issues: people living with blood borne viruses who access benefits have told us that their physical and mental health are being made worse by the reforms, and that simple essentials like heating and food are becoming difficult to afford. Services for people with HIV and hepatitis say they are being flooded with requests for support and information about welfare changes, making it difficult to focus on the specialist services they are there to provide.

George Valiotis, HIV Scotland CEO said:

"It's clear that welfare reforms are making life increasingly difficult and stressful for people in great need. In researching this report people told us how anxiety about benefits changes were making them feel suicidal, that they couldn't afford to attend vital medical appointments, or essentials like food and heating.

"The welfare system should ease the burden on those in society who truly need support. And yet the recent changes are making life worse - and increasing the burden on already over-stretched services. The need for change has never been more pressing."

Read the report

Read the report and recommendations in full [PDF - 2MB] - including the foreword from Michael McMahon MSP - and contact the HIV Scotland team to discuss its findings.

If you are an individual with concerns about welfare changes and what they might mean for you, the report also contains listings of general welfare benefits support services which may be able to help. You can also find details of specialist services for people living with HIV using our service finder.