Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson is urging deaf constituents who have queries about benefits decisions to use a charity’s welfare rights advocacy service.

The service, which is run by Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, can provide people who are deaf or have hearing loss – including British Sign Language users – with information, advice and, where possible, formal representation to challenge benefits decisions.

Mr Matheson said: “Information about welfare and social security can often be difficult to understand and navigating the systems to ensure you get the support you are entitled to can put many people off applying.

“I’m pleased to see Action on Hearing Loss Scotland providing this service and encourage deaf or hard of hearing people in Falkirk district to use the charity’s support if you have queries, claims or want to make an appeal about social security benefits.”

Delia Henry, director of Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, said: “Our welfare rights advocacy service can provide details and advice about a range of benefits including Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Housing Benefit and Universal Credit.

“If you are deaf or have hearing loss and need some help to understand what processes to follow to apply for support you may be entitled to, or are confused about letters you have received regarding your benefits, we would be delighted to help you make sense of it all.”

The charity’s welfare rights officer holds regular advice sessions, which are arranged by appointment, in Forth Valley Sensory Centre. For information about the service, call 0141 341 5346, textphone 0141 341 5350, email SocialSecurity@hearingloss.org.uk or visit www.hearingloss.org.uk/SocialSecurity. British Sign Language users can make contact via the ContactSCOTLAND-BSL service.