Specific questions about key principles of social security in Scotland were asked as part of the Scottish Government's Consultation on Social Security (2016) and further detailed questions about disability benefits for children and young people were asked in the Scottish Government's Consultation on Disability Assistance in Scotland (2019) . Scottish Government officials also gathered evidence from a range of sources to identify options to support children and young people through the disability benefits system.
In July 2016 the Scottish Government launched a public consultation to support the development of a framework that would become the Social Security (Scotland) Bill. This received more than 200 responses to questions relating to disability benefits with an even split between organisational and individual responses.
There were 521 formal written responses submitted, of which 241 were from organisations and 280 from individual respondents. Of the 241 organisational responses, 81 were received from stakeholder groups relating to children/young people, equalities and human rights, disability and long term conditions, and carers. The independent analysis of the responses along with the Scottish Government response were published on 22 May 2017.
The Scottish Government has set up Social Security Experience Panels with over 2,400 people across Scotland registered as panel members when the Panels opened in 2017. The Panels involve people with lived experience of the benefits that have been introduced in Scotland.
Two surveys regarding the case transfer process were sent out to Experience Panel members in January and February 2019. 404 and 559 responses were received respectively. A series of individual and group interviews were also conducted. Results from both surveys and the interviews were published in 2019. These surveys confirmed that of most importance to panel members was that they continue to receive the correct payment at the correct time. The changes we are making in relation to smoothing the journey for individuals moving from Child Disability Payment to Adult Disability Payment mean that the payment cycles for these individuals will be maintained and they will receive their Adult Disability Payment on the same date their Child Disability Payment was previously paid.
The Consultation on Disability Assistance built on the work on the Experience Panels and was published on 5 March 2019. In line with the principles of dignity, fairness and respect, the Scottish Government sought the views of the people of Scotland on the three proposed disability assistance benefits. The consultation closed on 28 May 2019, having received 262 replies, of which 74 were from stakeholder organisations and 188 were from individuals. The consultation helped to inform the development of the principal regulations for Child Disability Payment and Adult Disability Payment, taking into account the views of people with a lived experience of social security.
The Scottish Government has also undertaken ongoing consultation with stakeholders through our independent Disability and Carers Benefits Expert Advisory Group (DACBEAG). DACBEAG is chaired by Dr Jim McCormick and comprises individuals with significant practical experience of the UK social security system, from a range of professional backgrounds. It is independent of the Scottish Government. The Group’s role is to advise Scottish Ministers on specific policy options for disability assistance and carers benefits due to be delivered in Scotland. DACBEAG’s advice helped to inform the development of Adult Disability Payment policy and the principal regulations that we are amending and considering the impact of these amendments businesses.
The Ill Health and Disability Benefits Stakeholder Reference Group was set up in March 2016 to inform and influence the development of policy options relating to devolved Disability Assistance. This group has advised on the potential impact of policy decisions as well as stakeholder engagement. They mostly advise on the impact of policy decisions on disabled people and the social security system as a whole.
On 21 December 2020, the Scottish Government launched a public consultation on its proposals for the delivery of Adult Disability Payment and on drafts of the accompanying impact assessments. The consultation ran until 15 March 2021 and received 127 responses from individuals and stakeholder organisations. The consultation wanted to gather views to ensure that the proposals were aligned with the principles of dignity, fairness and respect. These amendments are also intended to align with these principles and the overall policy intent which is to improve outcomes for disabled people and part of ensuring this is by considering the impacts of these proposals on businesses.
Overall these consultations and advice from stakeholder groups helped to inform the principal regulations for Child Disability Payment and Adult Disability Payment which we are amending as part of these regulations. We are doing this to ensure that the journey of individuals moving between these forms of assistance is as smooth as possible. As part of the development of these amendments we have considered the current impact of these regulations on the Child Disability Payment to Adult Disability Payment journey and the potential impacts of the amendments we propose to smooth this transition which are detailed below.
It should be noted that as these are amendments to principal legislation and as such are not bringing in new legislation, we do not anticipate them to have any significant impact on Scottish businesses. As such, we have not consulted with Scottish businesses regarding these amendments.
Option 1 – Do nothing
Without these amendments, there would be no impact to the administrative ability of Social Security Scotland to carry out case transfer. However, there would be an impact on the journey from Child Disability Payment to Adult Disability Payment in terms of financial continuity as individuals would not be able to maintain their current payment cycle. The 2018 Act sets out that we want to take a person-centred, human rights based approach to social security. Doing nothing would ignore an opportunity to further improve the journey between two forms of disability assistance. In this way it could be seen to undermine the principles of the 2018 Act.
The negative impact of this option is not accompanied by any savings in cost given there are no anticipated increased costs in making the change. Aligning the payment cycles offers an improvement of the system with obvious advantages for individuals.
Option 2 – Introduce Miscellaneous Amendments (recommended option)
Young people who are making the journey from Child Disability Payment to Adult Disability Payment, and their families, will be directly affected. Welfare rights and income maximisation services may be indirectly affected as a result of young people seeking advice and signposting on these changes.
There are no anticipated increased costs as a result of these amendments. They simply further improve the journey from Child Disability Payment to Adult Disability Payment for young people.
Further narrowing of the extension to age 19 is considered appropriate given that all those who would have required additional time to apply for Adult Disability Payment will now have had that time.
Sectors and groups affected
Were we not to introduce these amendments, we anticipate that there would be minimal impacts to the sectors and groups affected by these amendments in the short to medium term. These sectors and groups include:
- Third sector – advice and advocacy services such as Citizen’s Advice Scotland
- Public sector – Social Security Scotland and their Local Delivery Services.
This is because they would not be required to update their current advice or familiarise themselves with these changes. Instead, they would be continuing to deliver a business as usual.
However, in the long-term, there would likely be a negative impact on these sectors and groups. Without these amendments, there is potential for individuals that are coming of age needing to seek additional advice and support as they transition to Adult Disability Payment and have concerns regarding their payment dates. As individuals may feel additional anxiety during this period, it is anticipated that this will lead to more individuals contact Social Security Scotland and other advice services for clarification and support regarding the next steps of their disability benefits journey. This will increase the administrative burden on these sectors.
It is not anticipated that the impact of these amendments is going to impact across significant sectors of the economy. However, they will likely have a minor impact on the sectors that they do impact in the short to medium term including the third sector through support and advice agencies (explored below) and the public sector due to an increase in the administrative burden of delivering these changes. As these amendments are not introducing any additional payments but are rather minor and clarifying changes to the principal legislation, these impacts are not expected to translate to additional costs on these sectors. Where there are impacts, these are relating more to the knowledge of social security policy within the relevant sectors rather than impacts on the delivery of their service that would translate to additional costs.
Regulatory and EU Alignment Impacts
- Is this measure likely to impact intra-UK trade)? No
- Is this measure likely to impact on international trade and investment? No
- Is this measure likely to impact on the Scottish Government’s policy to maintain alignment with the EU? No
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