Draft Disability Assistance for Older People (Scotland) Regulations 2024: Draft Island Communities Impact Assessment

A draft Island Communities Impact Assessment (ICIA) considering the draft Disability Assistance for Older People (Scotland) Regulations 2024 in relation to their impacts on people living in the Islands under Section 8 of the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018.

Choice and Representation

77. The Scottish Government has heard how there are limited options for people living in island and remote communities with regard to leisure activities, support services and support groups, with the importance of choice being a key theme in previous social security and disability assistance consultations. However, such choices are often diminished or non-existent in rural areas.

78. As previously highlighted, Social Security Scotland’s Local Delivery team will share locations with other services so that they are based where people currently go to ensure that they can access advice and support in existing island locations.

79. Social Security Scotland will also offer a multi-channel approach, including telephone, paper-based and face-to-face applications to ensure that people are not isolated through a lack of access to technology. Further to this, carers, adult children and those with power of attorney will be able to navigate the process of applying for and maintaining Pension Age Disability Payment through Social Security Scotland’s multi-channel approach. People applying for Pension Age Disability Payment will not be required to undergo a face-to-face consultation.

80. The importance of representation has been heard from island communities. The Scottish Government will ensure that individuals can request a third party representative with ease to support them in their engagement with Social Security Scotland. Scottish Ministers believe this strikes the right balance to encourage people in this age group to gain support from friends and relatives when required, while also maintaining their financial independence.

81. Engagement with key stakeholders, including advice organisations, will be ongoing throughout the development and delivery of Pension Age Disability Payment to ensure that they understand the application process and eligibility criteria to provide representation for individuals.

82. The Scottish Government launched the Social Security Independent Advocacy Service in January 2022 and has committed to investing £20.4 million in the service over the following four years. The service is free and supports people who self-identify as a disabled person to access and apply for Social Security Scotland assistance. The service is independent of the Scottish Government and is delivered by VoiceAbility, a charity with 40 years’ experience of delivering independent advocacy services. Advocates from VoiceAbility can support people to have their voices heard, understand and secure their rights under the Scottish social security system, express their wishes and be fully involved in order to make informed decisions.

83. It is expected that the Scottish Government’s approach to delivering Pension Age Disability Payment will help to ensure that individuals can interact with Social Security Scotland in a way that best meets their needs, while having support from friends or relatives as well as independent advice organisations, no matter where they reside in Scotland.


Email: Joseph.Scullion@gov.scot

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