Disability benefits applications made easier in Scotland
People with disabilities will have more choice in how they apply for benefits when the Scottish Government takes responsibility for Disability Assistance next year.
Under the current DWP system, people can only apply for Disability Assistance by post or telephone. Under the new Scottish system, people will be able to choose to apply for the payment in the way that suits their needs - online or face-to-face, as well as by phone or by post.
Social security secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “We are continuing to build a social security system that is inclusive and puts people at its heart. By giving people more choice and flexibility about how to apply for assistance we hope to encourage more people who are eligible for benefits to apply and get the money they are entitled to.
“The online application option together with our commitment to an improved assessment service puts people’s wellbeing first and will greatly improve the experience of people in Scotland who need Disability Assistance.
“Our new social security system is the largest piece of public sector delivery since devolution and we are making real progress. By the end of this year, Social Security Scotland will be delivering seven benefits, and these plans demonstrate the progress being made as we get ready to take responsibly for disability payments next year.”
Alongside the new online application system, additional work is being carried out on the internal systems that Social Security Scotland uses to manage and deliver benefits. This will further develop the existing technology that is currently in place for the five benefits already in place and the new benefits that will be introduced later this year. The work will also ensure that the existing technology can support the complex job of managing the new disability benefits.
This work will be developed by DXC Technology, under a new contract awarded by the Scottish Government.
Worth £13.9 million over three years, the DXC contract will focus on the design and configuration of the case management platform for disability and carer benefits, including integration and testing.
The contract for the online application system was awarded to Sopra Steria in November 2018. It is worth £5.2m over three years and will focus on the design and configuration of the client-facing online application portal.
Existing systems will support Carer’s Allowance Supplement, Pregnancy and Baby Payment, Early Learning Payment, School Age Payment, Best Start Foods, Funeral Support Payment, Young Carer Grant and Job Grant.
These new contracts will support the introduction of more complex benefits including the Scottish Government’s Disability benefits, Carer’s Allowance, and Cold Weather Payments.