Disability assistance in Scotland: response to consultation

Our response to the consultation analysis report about the consultation on disability assistance undertaken between 5 March and 28 May 2019.

1. Introduction

We are talking to and – importantly – listening to many individuals, organisations and groups with direct and personal experience of the social security system. We are designing our new service using evidence. We are testing everything that we do with the people who will use or interact with it to make sure we get it right. What we deliver on day one is not the limit of our aspirations – we are setting up this system in a way that it can continue to evolve and improve.

The Scottish Government has set out a number of policy position papers in relation to Disability Assistance, including assessments, award duration and entitlement, and qualifying periods. We have also made a number of commitments in relation to how we will deliver a social security system that is different:

  • We will ensure that the application process for Disability Assistance is inclusive, accessible, provided in a range of formats, can be completed in a range of routes.
  • Significantly decreasing the number of face to face assessments.
  • Not using private sector contractors to deliver disability assessments.
  • Ensuring people with disabilities can access a flexible, person centred assessment service across the length and breadth of the country.
  • Only asking someone to undertake a face-to-face assessment where we haven’t been able to gather enough evidence to make a decision.
  • Offering a choice of an appointment date and time that suits clients, home visits will be available when they are required.
  • Giving people the right to be accompanied to an assessment, and to have that person participate in the assessment.
  • Providing audio recording of assessments will be provided as standard.
  • People who are eligible under terminal illness rules will be fast tracked to the maximum rate of assistance, and medical professionals will be able to use their clinical judgement in advising whether someone meets the criteria.
  • Introducing rolling awards of up to 10 years for those clients with conditions unlikely to change.
  • Having independent advocacy workers to help disabled people applying for Scotland’s new social security benefits.

About the Consultation Process

The Scottish Government sought views between 5 March and 28 May 2019 on whether its approach to Disability Assistance will meet the needs of the children and adults it is intended to support. The objective of the consultation was to gather views from individuals and organisations to ensure that we have identified the best possible approach to delivering Disability Assistance before commencing the drafting of secondary legislation.

The consultation built on our work to date with Experience Panels and stakeholder groups such as the Disability and Carers Benefits Expert Advisory Group, The responses to the consultation will shape the way we continue to develop our approach to Disability Assistance in Scotland and inform our final decisions on policy and furthers the user involvement in the development of a social security system based on dignity, fairness and respect.

The Scottish Government has published an analysis of responses to the consultation and the report is available here:

When discussing the prevalence of certain views, we have used the following terms to indicate the proportion of consultation responses that raised a particular point:

  • “Few”: 5-9%
  • “Some”: 10-19%
  • “Many”: 20-49%
  • “Most” or “majority”: 50-74%
  • “Large majority” or “broad agreement”: 75 -89%
  • “Consensus”: 90% or more

This document sets out what action we now intend to take to respond to the views expressed.



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