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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.


Outline of the Regulations

Citation, Commencement and Interpretation

Regulations 1 and 2 provide the formal citation for the regulations, set out when the regulations will come into force, as well as providing interpretations for the key terms used with reference to the new payment. Respondents were asked if the draft regulations, as written, met the policy intent of clearly explaining how the payment would be introduced and what key interpretations would apply.

More than three quarters of respondents who answered this question (77%) agreed that regulations 1 and 2, as currently drafted, would meet their policy intent. It is worth noting that, while only 10% of respondents said 'no', several of those who gave a positive or 'don't know' response went on to raise doubts about some aspects of the overall approach to these provisions in their qualitative comments.

Number of Respondents % of Respondents Valid %
Yes 77 61% 77%
No 10 8% 10%
Don't know 13 10% 13%
Missing 27 21% -
Total 127 100% 100%

The majority of respondents (both organisations and individuals) who provided additional comments to support their response generally commented that they found the proposed new payment to:

  • be more accessible and be an overall improvement on the existing Personal Independence Payment system; and
  • potentially reduce burdens, stress and anxiety on the most vulnerable disabled people, especially in relation to the process of application and determination.

Several who provided support overall did, however, suggest that there may be scope for even greater clarity around some of the key terminology used, to ensure that the regulations could be understood by all. One specific suggestion was for a single clear definition of 'Adult Disability Payment (ADP)', and another was for a clearer definition of 'determination' (i.e. as it refers to a determination of entitlement). An emerging theme throughout the consultation was that having a clear definition of Adult Disability Payment would help to set it more clearly apart from Personal Independence Payment and give it a unique identity.

There were mixed views regarding the notion of a 'pilot scheme' for the new payment. A few respondents indicated that they felt a 'pilot scheme' was a "bad idea", mainly on the basis that it would slow down the introduction of the new payment and leave some people on Personal Independence Payment for longer. Two others welcomed the pilot on the basis that it would provide essential pre-implementation learning, while another respondent indicated that they would have liked more information on what the pilot would entail, and what/who it would involve.

More general comments were provided that focussed on eligibility and lack of clarity around eligibility criteria (and are discussed elsewhere in the report), with the other main comments, including that:

  • definitions of physical or mental function or disability within the regulations may be too vague, too simplistic and not accurately capture such things as hidden disabilities or fluctuating conditions in sufficient detail; and
  • more detail on eligibility, determination and application of the payment to adults with mental health disabilities was needed (including the prospect of consultations being carried out by specially trained mental health workers).

Finally, several respondents picked up on the point that some aspects of the Personal Independence Payment framework would remain unchanged. This, they felt, was an oversight and left room for some of the existing confusion, ambiguities and weaknesses of the Personal Independence Payment system (especially the points-based eligibility criteria) to beset this new form of assistance:

"We would prefer to see a stated end point to the replacement of this reliance on the PIP [Personal Independence Payment] framework… The stated intent of the ethos of the Adult Disability Payment will be diluted by keeping a reliance on PIP [Personal Independence Payment]." (Health Organisation)

Disability Assistance for Working Age People Overview

Regulation 3 provides that a client is entitled to Adult Disability Payment when they meet the following eligibility rules:

  • the daily living component and/or the mobility component criteria;
  • the required period condition;
  • the residence and presence conditions; and
  • the age criteria.

It also sets out the component parts of the payment and specifies the application requirements. Respondents were asked for views on whether the regulation, as specified, met its policy intent.

Again, the majority of respondents (76%) felt that regulation 3 was clear in its intent and agreed with the eligibility rules. Despite strong support, several qualitative comments were made that greater clarity was required in the regulations linked to eligibility. Specifically, there were calls for some aspects of the regulations to be changed to be more flexible and to move away from what some perceived to be too rigid criteria which may not take account of constant changes to people's conditions and different impacts on their daily lives.

Number of Respondents % of Respondents Valid %
Yes 74 58% 76%
No 9 7% 9%
Don't know 14 11% 15%
Missing 30 24% -
Total 127 100% 100%

A key theme was that consultations must more accurately take into consideration the impact of a disability or condition on daily tasks/daily living. It was felt that a more flexible approach to understanding clients' daily living and mobility needs was required for those with significant mental health and cognitive disabilities. Similarly, it was felt that flexibility would be important for those with variability in function.

Other more general comments made to this question showed some confusion regarding the transition between Personal Independence Payment and Adult Disability Payment. This included concern that someone already awarded Personal Independence Payment would not qualify for Adult Disability Payment, that someone previously denied Personal Independence Payment and in the process of appeal may be ineligible to apply for the new Adult Disability Payment, and concern that 'light touch' reviews for over 65s would not continue to be honoured under the new payment. It was suggested that such issues could be clarified and strengthened in the regulations.

Some respondents focused on the age criteria, with specific concerns that there may be complications for those over retirement age receiving only Attendance Allowance with no mobility component (which was perceived as unfair), and concerns that the Scottish Government had not agreed to reinstate the Disability Living Allowance scheme for working-age people.

Some more general comments were made at this question regarding application forms. There were concerns among respondents that, even if redesigned under the new system, these may still be unsuitable and inaccessible for some adults. Views were also expressed that Social Security Scotland would need to ensure that suitable mechanisms were in place to allow everyone to make a fair and transparent application, and to be aided by the agency to do so. This may include a review of the questions asked, one suggested, to remove repetition and reduce burdens for applicants.

Overall, responses to this question indicated that a more 'person-centred' approach could be adopted and conveyed in the regulations in relation to eligibility criteria:

"Whilst the components of and eligibility for Adult Disability Payment are clearly stated here, again, it is at odds with the Scottish Government's specified aim of ensuring a more person-centred approach. A functional points-based eligibility system conflicts with the way many disabled people experience their disability and so inhibit and conflicts with the way they would opt to explain it." (Health Organisation)

The following chapter provides more detailed feedback in relation to specific eligibility and entitlement criteria.

Contact

Email: Matthew.Duff@gov.scot

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