New disability benefit to end fixed-term reviews for people with lifelong conditions
Disabled people with the most serious lifelong health conditions will have more financial security under Scotland’s social security system, social security minister Ben Macpherson said this week as a new benefit is set to end fixed-term reviews for people with lifelong conditions.
The Adult Disability Payment, which will replace the UK Government’s Personal Independence Payment (PIP), will open for new applications in pilot areas starting this month.
Disabled people on the highest components of the new benefit and whose needs are highly unlikely to change will be eligible for an “indefinite award”. In effect, this will mean they will not be subject to reviews and can rely on their new benefit in the long term.
People with ongoing awards of Personal Independence Payment and Disability Living Allowance do not need to make an application for Adult Disability Payment. They will be contacted from this summer to let them know when their awards will automatically be moved safely and securely to Adult Disability Payment.
Social security minister Ben Macpherson said: “The introduction of indefinite awards, as part of Adult Disability Payment, 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, Inclusion Scotland, added: “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, commented: “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.”