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Complaints process

When you make a complaint you’ll be given a unique reference number. If you make a complaint anonymously you’ll still get a unique reference number.

You should use your reference number if you want an update from Social Security Scotland about the progress of your complaint. This will help us find your complaint. 

Social Security Scotland’s complaints process has 2 stages.

Stage 1: frontline response

Social Security Scotland will aim to give you their decision at stage 1 within 5 working days or less. It might take them longer to respond if the issue is more complex.

At this stage, Social Security Scotland will try to resolve your complaint with at least one of the following:

  • an apology
  • an explanation about why the issue happened
  • any action they're going to take to solve the problem

If you’re not satisfied with the response at stage 1, you can take your complaint to stage 2. You must ask for this within either:

  • 6 months of the event you want to complain about or finding out that you have a reason to complain
  • 2 months of receiving your stage 1 response, if this is later

Stage 2: investigation

Stage 2 deals with complaints that:

  • have not been resolved at stage 1
  • need a fuller investigation

If you do not want your complaint to be handled at stage 1, you can ask Social Security Scotland to handle it at stage 2 instead.

What Social Security Scotland will do at stage 2

At stage 2, Social Security Scotland will:

  • confirm their understanding of your complaint and the result you’re looking for
  • try to fix your issue 
  • send you a letter with any information found and their decision 

Social Security Scotland will let you know they have received your complaint within 3 working days, and will make a decision on the complaint within 20 working days. If the investigation will take longer than 20 working days, Social Security Scotland will tell you when you should expect a response.

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