The country's poorest people do not always benefit from initiatives targeted at Scotland's most deprived areas, researchers have found.
Disabled people, minority ethnic groups, lone parents and older people who suffer from high levels of poverty but do not necessarily live in the poorest communities can miss out on vital help.
The research will be published on Monday in a report by Heriot Watt University for the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
The report found that some groups, such as new migrants, who may face financial and social exclusion due to racism, often live in poor quality housing, but not necessarily in the most economically deprived areas.
It also found that where groups do live in the poorest areas, they do not always benefit from place-based policies because the reasons for their poverty may differ from those around them. An example cited was a disabled person who could be excluded from the labour market because of they need specific support with transport.
The postcode lottery of targeted support has prompted calls for an approach based as much on group identity as geography to improve equality.
Commenting on the report, Commissioner Kaliani Lyle said: "Much of the Government's strategy to tackle the scourge of poverty in Scotland is a concentration on the poorest 15% of areas.
"We do not dispute that this is necessary or appropriate, but we are concerned that an over-reliance on place may discriminate against those people in poverty who don't happen to live in those areas.
"Our research shows that many equalities groups - disabled people, minority ethnic groups, lone parents, older people - may experience high levels of poverty but won't necessarily benefit from the Government's approach because there is no 'flex' built in to accommodate their needs.
"What we need is a more nuanced approach which takes into account the fact that some of our poorest people don't live in our poorest areas."