New powers used to pay children up to the age of 18.
The Scottish Government is using its new benefits powers to remove the need for children to take part in Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments.
Under current DWP rules, children getting Disability Living Allowance for Children are asked to apply for PIP six months out from their 16 birthday.
But under the Scottish Government changes, young people will continue to get DLA Child, as long as they remain eligible, up to the age of 18.
This means that they will not need to do a DWP PIP application or assessment – which many people say are stressful.
This change comes as the Scottish Government takes full responsibility for disability benefits from April this year.
Social Security Secretary Shirley Anne Somerville said:
“We know from people like June Jamieson, a parent who has had direct experience of the current system, that making the transition from child to adult services can be a challenging time for their child and family.
“Adding to this, young people may be going through changes in a number of other areas of their life at the same time. We’ve also been told that the fact that this transition is to PIP, creates even more stress and anxiety.
“This is why we are using our new social security powers to extend the eligibility, ease the pressure on families and make sure young people in Scotland have adequate time to move from children to adult social security support.
“Our priority for people already getting this support from the DWP is to move them over in a safe and secure way and make sure that people get the financial support they expect, when and where they expect it.”
Ms Jamieson, from Edinburgh, has recently applied for PIP for her son Alex, who turned 16 in January. She said:
“So many things are happening in a child with additional needs life when they turn 16, for example they need to think if they are staying on at school, and parents may need to apply for guardianship. It will really take the pressure off lots of other families not to have to worry about this. Although Alex won’t benefit from the changes I am really pleased that other people will. I have the fear of the unknown waiting to hear the outcome of his PIP application.”
- due to powers transferring on 1 April, young people in Scotland who are getting DLA Child from the Department for Work and Pensions who are due to turn 16 from September will no longer be invited to apply for PIP.
- from 2nd March 2020 Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will start writing to parents or carers of children in receipt of DLA Child informing them of the change.
- clients who have already had a letter from DWP asking them to apply for PIP, will need to do this if they require continued support.
- clients who receive this letter must reply to DWP. They must say whether their child will need an appointee to manage their benefit once they turn 16.
- clients who wish to are still able to move from DLA Child to PIP by making an application to the DWP. People should seek independent advice on what would be best for their circumstances.
- 16 to 18 years old will continue to have the choice to apply to the DWP for PIP up until the Scottish Government launches it replacement for PIP early 2021.
- clients are only able to get one of these benefits at a time – they are not able to claim both DLA Child and PIP.
- Child Disability Payment is the new Social Security Scotland benefit which will replace Disability Living Allowance for children living in Scotland.
- Child Disability Payment will provide money to help with the costs of caring for a child with a disability or ill-health condition.
- clients will not need to reapply and Social Security Scotland will write ahead of transferring them, so that they are kept up to date with what is happening with their payments.