Demand for advice about welfare benefits has increased by two-fifths in the last five years, the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has reported.
The service recorded a 39% rise in the number of new benefit issues it deals with since 2008, with a total of 190,000 in 2011-12.
In its latest report, Citizens Advice Scotland said that employment and support allowance (ESA), which replaced incapacity benefit in 2008, has played a large part in this increase. The number of sickness benefit cases brought to Scottish CABs increased by 55% between 2008 and last year.
Last year staff represented people at more than 4,500 benefit tribunals, up 118% in just two years, fuelled mainly by an increase in ESA cases.
Citizens Advice Scotland chief executive Margaret Lynch said: "The CAB is the frontline service for those who are being hit by these policies, so we have seen benefit issues soar by 39% over the past five years.
"Our advisers are seeing first-hand the real and negative impact that a series of changes over the past few years are having. And it is set to get very much worse.
"Current welfare changes and cuts are driving an increased demand for advice across the country, from people who are being pushed into financial crisis as they see their already-constrained income slashed."
The overhaul of the benefits system recently passed by Westminster, which will introduce the universal credit among other changes, will increase pressure on bureaux.
"With further changes due to start biting or be introduced in 2013, we expect demand for benefit advice to increase even further, along with an increased need for other areas of advice such as debt, housing and budgeting, due to changes in benefits."
A spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: "Our welfare reforms will bring much-needed fairness back to a benefits system that spiralled out of control and trapped the very people it was supposed to help into a lifetime of benefit dependency."