Politics

Vulnerable Scots won’t have new benefit reviewed under ‘compassionate’ social security system



Disabled people with the most serious lifelong health conditions will not have to go through stressful reviews to keep a new benefit.

Vulnerable Scots will be eligible for an “indefinite award” under the Adult Disability Payment (ADP), which will be piloted this month.

ADP will replace the UK Government’s Personal Independence Payment (PIP) following the devolution of parts of the social security system.

Working age disabled people, those with a long-term health condition and people who have a terminal illness will be able to apply.

Long term awards are granted in some circumstances to PIP claimants, but they can be reviewed.

Under ADP, disabled people on the highest level of the new benefit and whose needs are highly unlikely to change will not be subject to review. People with cerebral palsy, dementia and cystic fibrosis could be among those eligible.

Social Security Minister Ben Macpherson said: “The introduction of indefinite awards, as part of ADP, underlines our commitment to deliver on the principles of Scotland’s social security system to treat people with dignity, fairness and respect.

“In making this decision, we have engaged with a wide range of people with lived experience of the current system and will continue to listen as we design and build a social security system that works for disabled people.

“We want to ensure that people on the highest levels of Adult Disability Payment awards receive long-term and adequate support, because those with lifelong conditions, or disabilities resulting in needs highly unlikely to change, should not be subject to unnecessary reviews when it is reasonably expected that their situation will not change.

“Under the UK Government’s Personal Independence Payment, similar awards have generally been reviewed between every 2 to 10 years. However, disabled people tell us that even review periods of 10 years can create stress and anxiety.

“That is why we have decided to introduce indefinite awards – we are determined to do things differently and build a more compassionate system in Scotland.”

Moira Tasker, Chief Officer at Inclusion Scotland, said: “Inclusion Scotland warmly welcomes the announcement that there will be indefinite awards of Adult Disability Payment. We are glad the Minister has acted on the views expressed by disabled people and adopted this measure.

“It will come as a huge relief for disabled people with high, permanent levels of impairment who faced continual reassessments under the flawed DWP, Personal Independent Payment system.

“Indefinite awards will also provide some certainty and security for those who receive them.”

Morna Simpkins, Director of MS Society Scotland, added: “We are pleased the Scottish Government has listened to the views of the MS community and MS Society Scotland and will re-introduce indefinite awards.

“MS is relentless, painful, and disabling. Indefinite awards will provide some people living with progressive long term conditions, like MS, with the security of knowing they will not have their awards downgraded or income cut.”

Labour MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy said: “This is a welcome announcement, and I look forward to hearing more detail in the weeks ahead from the Scottish Government.

“Indefinite awards already exist under the DWP, and in the PIP system – but they operate in a limited manner, and remain subject to review in the longer term.

“As the system moves over to Scotland there is an opportunity to do things differently, and remove those limitations. Unfortunately, the Scottish Government have failed to meet the mark and do so when it comes to eligibility criteria, but I continue to urge it to do what it can to improve the operation of the system.

“The Scottish Government should now explore the removal of the 10 year review period, and also share its commitment to maintaining these awards for the mobility rate of Adult Disability Payment, as well as the daily rate as well as to expand the eligibility of life time awards to ensure that anyone with a regressive condition does not have to shoulder unnecessary additional worry about their finances.”

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