DISABLED people are suffering stress, fear and isolation due to welfare reforms, according to a study.
Many people are increasingly worried about losing disability benefits and falling into poverty, Inclusion Scotland said.
The charity surveyed 315 disabled people and held a number of interviews with respondents in an attempt to measure the impact of UK Government welfare reforms.
One person who took part said a friend had committed suicide after being found ineligible for benefits.
Concerns were raised over the “confusing” process of applying for benefits, “overstretched” Job Centre staff and the caricature of “skivers and scroungers” for some people claiming benefits.
Inclusion Scotland said it left many disabled people feeling stigmatised, vulnerable and isolated.
The charity’s chief executive Sally Witcher said: “What disabled people have told us confirms our worst fears. Welfare cuts are costing disabled people their health, their peace of mind and, in some cases, their lives.”
Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil said: “This report highlights the Scottish Government’s concerns that benefit cuts have already affected some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
“That is why I am so concerned about the further benefit cuts that the UK Government are planning to inflict. It is unacceptable that disabled people are finding the process of applying for benefits so distressing.
“With our new powers we will do what we can to make the system fairer and simpler, we will re-establish trust and openness, and we will reject the stigmatising and divisive language that the UK Government has introduced.
“Until these powers are devolved we will oppose all further cuts to the welfare budget and any other reform which undermines the provision of care and support for disabled people.”