Information

Adult Disability Payment: consultation analysis

Our analysis of responses to the consultation on Adult Disability Payment regulations undertaken between 21 December 2020 and 15 March 2021.


Overview, Next Steps and Conclusions

Overview

The consultation attracted a strong response from a broad range of contributors. Overall, the proposed Adult Disability Payment was seen as a significant improvement on the Personal Independence Payment process, content and approach and, across the consultation, there was notable agreement that most regulations would meet their policy intent (as summarised below). Despite this, however, there was also support for more changes and improvements to the draft regulations to be made ahead of roll out.

Regulation

Part 1 - Introduction and Interpretation (Regulations 1 and 2)

Yes

77%

No

10%

Don't Know

13%

Regulation

Part 2 - Disability Assistance for Working Age People (Regulation 3)

Yes

76%

No

9%

Don't Know

15%

Regulation

Daily Living Component (Regulations 4 and 5)

Yes

76%

No

12%

Don't Know

12%

Regulation

Determination of ability to carry out activities (Regulation 6), Scoring for daily living and mobility activities (Regulations 7 and 8) and Scoring: further provision (Regulation 9)

Yes

58%

No

22%

Don't Know

20%

Regulation

The required period condition: daily living component and mobility component (Regulations 10 and 11), The relevant date (Regulation 12), The relevant date: after an interval (Regulation 13) and Residence and presence conditions (Regulation 14)

Yes

74%

No

12%

Don't Know

14%

Regulation

Absence from the United Kingdom (Regulation 15), Absence from the United Kingdom including medical treatment (Regulation 16), Absence from the United Kingdom in special cases (Regulation 17), Serving members of Her Majesty's forces and their family members - further provision (Regulation 18),

Persons habitually resident in the United Kingdom (Regulation 19), Persons habitually resident in outside of the UK (Regulation 20) and Refugees (Regulation 21)

Yes

79%

No

10%

Don't Know

11%

Regulation

Age Criteria (Regulation 22), Persons of pensionable age: exceptions (Regulation 23), Adult Disability Payment after an interval and after reaching the relevant age (Regulation 24),

Determination of an award after the person has reached the relevant age (Regulation 25)

Yes

78%

No

9%

Don't Know

13%

Regulation

Terminal Illness (Regulation 26)

Yes

89%

No

2%

Don't Know

9%

Regulation

Care home residents (Regulation 27), Hospital in-patients (Regulation 28), Exceptions: care homes and hospitals (Regulation 29), Legal Detention (Regulation 30), Periods of residence (Regulation 31)

Yes

63%

No

18.5%

Don't Know

18.5%

Regulation

Rate of Adult Disability Payment and Making Payments (Regulation 33), Making Payments (Regulation 34), When an application is treated as made and beginning of entitlement to assistance (Regulation 35), Time of Payment (Regulation 36), Continuing Eligibility (Regulation 37)

Yes

83%

No

8%

Don't Know

9%

Regulation

Part 11: Qualifications and Experience Necessary to Carry out Assessments (Regulation 38)

Yes

69%

No

24%

Don't Know

7%

Regulation

Consideration of entitlement after specified period (Regulation 39), Other situations requiring a determination without an application (Regulation 40), Determination following official error - underpayments (Regulation 41),

Determination following error - overpayments (Regulation 42), When changes in entitlement take effect (Regulation 43)

Yes

72%

No

12%

Don't Know

16%

Regulation

Periods in respect of a re-determination request (Regulation 44)

Yes

77%

No

11%

Don't Know

12%

Regulation

Part 14: Provision of vehicles (Regulation 45)

Yes

85%

No

2%

Don't Know

13%

Regulation

Liability for assistance given in error (regulation 46)

Determination to affect a deduction decision (regulation 47)

Yes

65%

No

13%

Don't Know

22%

Aspects of the draft regulations that people welcomed included that:

  • consultations could/would be undertaken by medical professionals/by specialists more familiar with particular conditions and who may be more empathetic/understanding of unique needs;
  • existing social care data and information would be used to inform decisions;
  • that practitioner skills, qualifications and training would be monitored/regulated (although even greater clarity on what skills and experience would be required could be built into the regulations). The need for input from people with lived experience in any training given was also stressed;
  • consultations would be undertaken in a range of accessible formats and the voices of informal carers could/would be heard (although the regulations could more clearly set out potential for including the third sector and people with lived experience in the decision-making process);
  • applications would have more flexible timescales and the process would be made accessible (including alternative format application routes);
  • that rolling payments and five-year 'light touch' reviews would be undertaken (although this could be more clearly explained and protected in the regulations);
  • indefinite awards would be available and were expected to provide stability and financial certainty for those with degenerative conditions, or who have conditions that will not improve, in particular;
  • regulations linked to terminal illness would create a smoother process for people with a terminal illness, remove ongoing uncertainty in relation to eligibility and providing greater dignity for applicants;
  • the proposed introduction of 'Short-Term Assistance' would ensure individuals continue to receive their previous payment amount until the outcome of a re-determination has concluded; and
  • a scheme similar to the Motability scheme would be continued and no one should lose such provision as a result of the move to Social Security Scotland management (although more detail on how this would work in practice may be welcomed).

Aspects of the draft regulations that were not welcomed or attracted discontent included that:

  • it was wrong to retain a reliance on the 20 metre rule and the 50% rule, which many individuals and organisations felt should be amended from the outset of Adult Disability Payment. There was a strong desire for reverting to the 50-metre rule to make the system fairer/more realistic, and for more nuanced measures of mobility and daily living indicators to be applied to better take account of a fuller range of conditions;
  • 'changing' or 'variable' conditions had not been given sufficient attention or thought within the regulations overall;
  • mental health conditions had been overlooked to a large degree with some of the complexities around eligibility, determination and daily living associated with mental health conditions not being sufficiently well addressed;
  • the 13 week qualifying criteria was not suitable for those with unpredictable and fluctuating conditions and was too long in general for applicants to be made to wait;
  • residency variations may result in loss of payments in particular situations or for particular groups;
  • the 'past presence test' had been retained and was still too rigid. Disappointment was expressed that the Scottish Government had not taken the opportunity to relax the past presence test or create further exceptions to it; and
  • liability for overpayment had not been sufficiently well addressed and more clarity was required in the regulations.

A recurring theme was that the new benefit may be too similar (especially around eligibility and determination) to the existing Personal Independence Payment and there were concerns that opportunities had been missed to improve the system for the future (and to move away from a points-based system). This included views that the proposed review of Adult Disability Payment may be too late. Despite the calls for further changes however respondents were keen to stress that no one should suffer a loss of eligibility as a result of the change-over from Personal Independence Payment to Adult Disability Payment.

Overall, both individuals and organisations expressed strong views that they wanted a clear, easily understood and transparent system, which would not cause stress and anxiety to applicants, and would not repeat errors of the past.

Next Steps

Findings from the analysis of consultation responses will be reviewed by the Scottish Government alongside other information to adjust the draft regulations, as appropriate. In accordance with the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018, the draft regulations will later be scrutinised by the independent Scottish Commission on Social Security with further revisions made by the Scottish Government, as required, following the Commission's report. The draft regulations will then be laid for approval by the Scottish Parliament.

Conclusions

While most respondents welcomed the majority of the proposed changes, there was some scepticism that sufficient change had been built into the regulations to accommodate the full range of disabilities and individuals' unique needs. There was, many felt, potential to design an even more nuanced approach which would reflect the social and human rights models of disability, and this was urged, ideally before roll out of Adult Disability Payment, rather than during any review. Despite this, several respondents commended the Scottish Government on the level of consultation already undertaken and the inclusive manner in which the draft policy and regulations had been designed. There were calls for the Scottish Government to continue consultations with disabled people and relevant organisations throughout the planning, staff training and implementation of Adult Disability Payment, with several organisations offering support in this respect, to ensure that it runs smoothly.

Contact

Email: Matthew.Duff@gov.scot

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