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Acting on behalf of someone applying for benefits

You can apply for the legal right to manage someone else’s Social Security Scotland awards. This is known as becoming their 'appointee'.

An adult might need an appointee if they're not able to make or communicate decisions because of a mental or physical health condition.

Third party representatives

If a person can make their own decisions, they cannot have an appointee. However, you can still help them as a third party representative. 

A third party representative can: 

  • support a person in making an application
  • ask how an application is going 
  • make phone calls
  • receive copies of Social Security Scotland notifications
  • ask for an explanation of a person’s entitlement and how it was decided
  • help with a redetermination or appeal 

If you wish to help someone, that person must tell Social Security Scotland they can talk to you. This can be done over the phone or in writing by downloading a third party authorisation form. You can also use your own organisation’s authorisation form, as long as you clearly state that it is for Social Security Scotland benefits. 

Send the form to:

Social Security Scotland
General Enquiries
PO Box 10301

Apply to become an appointee

You can apply to become an appointee by phone or in writing. You cannot apply to become someone's appointee online.
Get in touch with Social Security Scotland by:
  • calling free on 0800 182 2222
  • writing to: 
Social Security Scotland
General Enquiries
PO Box 10301

Apply to be an appointee when completing an application form

You can also ask to become someone’s appointee as part of an application. You cannot do this if you apply online.
Download the form for the benefit you want to apply for:

If applications for Adult Disability Payment are open in your area you can phone Social Security Scotland to start an application. They'll then send you a paper application to complete, including a prepaid envelope.

When you apply 

Social Security Scotland will arrange a visit with you and the person you want to act for. They do this to make sure the person needs an appointee. They also need to check how the person feels about someone else managing their Social Security Scotland applications and awards.

Social Security Scotland will also talk to you about the role and responsibilities of an appointee. They want to make sure you understand and agree to them before they appoint you. 

If you have the legal right to act for the person

You do not need to apply to become an appointee if you already have the legal right to act for someone. This could be because you have:

  • power of attorney
  • a guardianship order
  • another court order allowing you to manage the person’s benefits

Social Security Scotland will need to see proof of your legal rights. They will ask you to send them the original legal documents or certified copies. 

What you need to do as an appointee

As an appointee you must:

  • apply for all the person’s Social Security Scotland awards 
  • answer mail, emails and phone calls about these awards
  • report relevant changes of circumstances
  • receive the person’s payments and spend them on their wants and needs
  • repay any overpayments
  • follow any instructions or guidance issued by Social Security Scotland

Department for Work and Pensions appointees 

A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) appointee cannot normally act for someone’s Social Security Scotland applications and awards. This is because Scotland’s laws are different from the rest of the UK. We need to take care to protect disabled adults, and to take into account their wishes and feelings. Social Security Scotland will usually have to interview you and the person you act for before appointing you.

When someone’s benefits are moved to Social Security Scotland

Some people who are over 16 will have their benefits moved from DWP to Social Security Scotland. 

If you are the DWP appointee for someone whose benefit has moved to Social Security Scotland, you can continue to be their appointee after the move. 

Social Security Scotland will review your appointment under Scots law as soon as they can. They will try to do this in person whenever possible. As part of the review they will visit:  

  • the person who has the appointee
  • the appointee

Benefits that are moving to Social Security Scotland

People on Disability Living Allowance for children will have their benefits moved to Child Disability Payment.

People on Personal Independence Payment (PIP) will have their benefits moved to Adult Disability Payment.

People on Carer's Allowance will have their benefits moved to Carer Support Payment.

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