Disability Assistance

We regard social security as a human right and we are committed to ensuring that those who are entitled to Disability Assistance are able to access it whilst being treated with dignity, fairness and respect.

Our overriding principle is that to develop a system of social security that works for the people of Scotland we must involve the people who will access it. Our approach to providing Disability Assistance, set out below, has been developed by listening to individuals who have a lived experience of the current social security system and organisations representing disabled people or people with long term health conditions. This input has been gathered through our innovative Experience Panels and the Disability and Carers' Benefits Expert Advisory Group.

Our approach has also been informed by a Consultation on Disability Assistance which ran from 5 March 2019 to 28 May 2019. We published our response to the consultation analysis report in October 2019.  We are grateful for the positive way in which organisations and individuals have engaged with us.

We will deliver three new forms of disability assistance:

We assumed responsibility for these benefits alongside Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA) and Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) in April 2020. However, due to the impact on the Scottish Government, Social Security Scotland and our public services of managing Scotland through the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to take the difficult decision to delay the launch of disability assistance. As soon as we are able to provide information about the new timescales for launching disability assistance, we will do so.

Disability benefits will continue to be delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) using Agency Agreements until we begin delivery.

Policy position papers

We have published a series of social security policy position papers on the development of the devolved benefits in Scotland. These papers provide more information on the reasons for our approach to these benefits.

1. Child Disability Payment (CDP)

This assistance aims to support children and young people with disabilities, as well as their families, to mitigate the increased costs they incur as a result of having a disability or long term condition.

Eligibility

This benefit is for children and young people aged between three months and 18 years who have:

  • lived with a disability for at least three months and who can expect to continue to have this disability for at least six months - unless they are regarded as terminally ill.
  • qualifying children aged three months or over will be entitled to a payment for their care. Children over three years old can also get a payment to help with their mobility needs.

DLA Child is only available until age 16. We are extending eligibility for CDP from 16 years to 18 years, for those already in receipt of assistance before turning 16. This intends to help families during what can be a challenging time transitioning from child to adult services. Further information about eligibility can be found in our CDP: position paper.

Entitlement decisions

Social Security Scotland will make decisions about entitlement for CDP using the applicant’s account of their circumstances and existing supporting information. Face-to-face assessments will not be held.

Examples of supporting information include:

  • a social care needs assessment
  • a report from an educational psychologist
  • information from a parent

If it is not possible to make a decision from the information available, a case manager may visit a client at home to gather additional information. Social Security Scotland will assume responsibility, where requested, for gathering information from various sources suggested by the individual. There will be no hierarchy of information, with all relevant sources of information having equal weight.

Assistance rates

It is our intention that the rate of all forms of Disability Assistance will remain the same as the current rate of the equivalent UK disability benefit. The rate of Disability Assistance will increased in line with inflation each year.

Based on 2019/2020 rates the weekly amounts of CDP are: 

Care component                                                          Mobility component 

Highest £89.15                                                               Higher £62.25

Middle £59.70                                                                 Lower £23.60

Lowest £23.60

Accessible vehicle leases and equipment

People who get the highest rate of the mobility component of CDP will be able to transfer either the whole or part of the money they get for the mobility component to access the Accessible Vehicles and Equipment Scheme. This new Scottish scheme will provide a service similar to the current Motability scheme, with a range of cars, wheelchair accessible vehicles, scooters and powered wheelchairs on affordable leasing terms, with a range of adaptations at little or no cost. Clients who have an existing Motability lease will be able to retain their vehicle until the end of that lease.

Availability

New claims will be accepted from summer 2020. For information on why we have chosen to deliver the different types of Disability Assistance in a gradual way please see Disability and carer benefit delivery: policy position paper.

2. Disability Assistance for Working-age People (DAWAP)

This assistance aims to support working age people with a disability or long term ill-health and to mitigate some of the extra costs they incur as a result of having a disability or long term condition.

DAWAP will replace Personal Independence Payment (PIP). Our immediate priority is ensuring that people in Scotland in receipt of PIP experience a safe and secure transition to DAWAP. However, we have identified a number of improvements and we are co-designing the entire process from application to award with input from people who have direct experience of the current system.

Eligibility

This is for people who meet the following criteria:

  • people who are age 16 to state pension age (which in 2021 will be 65) and
  • people who have difficulties with daily living or getting around (or both) and
  • have had the physical or mental difficulty for at least 3 months and expect it to continue for at least 9 months. If a person is terminally ill these qualifying periods do not apply

Entitlement decisions

Social Security Scotland will make decisions about entitlement for DAWAP using the applicants account of their circumstances and existing supporting information, where possible.

Examples of supporting information include:

  • a social care needs assessment
  • a report from a community psychiatric nurse
  • information from a carer

We will significantly reduce the number of face-to-face assessments and will only ask someone to undertake a face-to-face assessment when it is the only practicable way to make a decision.

We have consulted on the circumstances in which Social Security Scotland can decide that a face-to-face assessment is necessary.

Assistance rates

It is our intention that the rate of all forms of Disability Assistance will remain the same as the current rate of the equivalent UK disability benefit. The rate of Disability Assistance will increase in line with inflation each year.

Based on 2020/2021 rates the weekly amounts of DAWAP are: 

Daily living component                          Mobility component

Standard Rate £59.70                               Standard rate £23.60
Enhanced rate £89.15                               Enhanced rate £62.25

Accessible vehicle leases and equipment

People who get the highest rate of the mobility component of DAWAP will be able to transfer either the whole or part of the money they get for the mobility component to access the Accessible Vehicles and Equipment Scheme. This new Scottish scheme will provide a service similar to the current Motability scheme, with a range of cars, wheelchair accessible vehicles, scooters and powered wheelchairs on affordable leasing terms, with a range of adaptations at little or no cost. Clients who have an existing Motability lease will be able to retain their vehicle until the end of that lease.

Availability

New claims will be accepted from early 2021. For information on why we have chosen to deliver the different types of Disability Assistance in a gradual way please see Disability and carer benefit delivery: policy position paper.

3. Disability Assistance for Older People (DAOP)

This assistance supports older people who have a disability that means they need assistance with looking after themselves, or supervision to keep them safe.

Eligibility

This is for people who meet the following criteria:

  • people who are state pension age and over and
  • who have had their condition for at least six months
  • and require additional care

It is anticipated that eligibility rules for DAOP will remain broadly similar to AA.

Entitlement decisions

Social Security Scotland will make decisions about entitlement for DAOP using the applicant’s account of their circumstances and existing supporting information.

Face-to-face assessments will not be held. Examples of supporting information include:

  • an occupational therapy assessment
  • a report from a district nurse
  • information from a partner

Social Security Scotland will assume responsibility, where necessary, for gathering information from various sources suggested by the individual. Consideration should be given to the supporting information that is most relevant in individual cases.

Assistance rates

It is our intention that the rate of all forms of Disability Assistance will remain the same as the current rate of the equivalent UK disability benefit. The rate of Disability Assistance will increase in line with inflation each year.

Based on 2020/2021 rates the weekly amounts of DAOP are:

Lower rate  £59.70                                       Higher rate  £89.15  

4. Terminal illness

Social Security Scotland will ensure that terminally ill individuals are provided with the support they need, when they need it.

The judgement as to whether a person should be considered terminally ill for disability assistance purposes will be made by clinicians, based on guidance prepared by the Chief Medical Officer and is a clear change from the time limited definition which the UK Social Security System currently uses.

Where a client is certified as terminally ill when they apply for Disability Assistance ‘special rules’ will apply.  

This means that applications will be treated differently by Social Security Scotland in the following ways:

  • there will be no qualifying period. An individual is not required to have the condition for any length of time before they are eligible under special rules.
  • once verification has been given that the person is considered to have a terminal illness, for the purpose of entitlement to Disability Assistance, there will be no requirement for an individual to undergo any further assessment.
  • awards will be calculated, at the latest, from the date of application by the patient.
  • individuals who qualify under special rules will be automatically entitled to the highest rate of the component part(s) (care and mobility) of whichever benefit they are entitled to.
  • individuals who qualify under special rules will not be subject to review.

For further information please see the Terminal Illness and Disability Assistance: policy position paper