Disability Assistance

Cost of living crisis: find out what help is available

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 Department for Work and Pensions 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 are delivering three forms of disability assistance:

We assumed responsibility for these benefits alongside Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA) and Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) in April 2020. 

Disability benefits continue to be delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) using Agency Agreements until case transfer is complete for each form of assistance.

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.

Child Disability Payment (CDP)

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

Apply for Child Disability Payment on mygov.scot.

Adult Disability Payment (ADP)

Adult Disability Payment supports working age people with a disability or long term health condition to mitigate some of the extra costs they incur as a result of having a disability or long term health condition.

Adult Disability Payment 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 Adult Disability Payment. Some people who are still in receipt of Disability Living Allowance will also have their awards transferred to Adult Disability Payment instead of having to apply for Personal Independence Payment. However, we have implemented a number of improvements and we have co-designed the entire process from application to award with input from people who have direct experience of the current system.

Apply for Adult Disability Payment on mygov.scot.

Pension Age Disability Payment

Pension Age Disability Payment, which will replace Attendance Allowance will support older people who have a disability or long term health condition that means they need assistance with looking after themselves, or supervision to keep them safe.

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 is 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’ apply.

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

  • there is 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 payments, there is no requirement for an individual to undergo any further assessment
  • awards are calculated, at the latest, from the date of application by the patient
  • individuals who qualify under special rules are 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 are not subject to review

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

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