The Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 (the 2018 Act) sets out the broad framework for the delivery of devolved social security in Scotland. On 1 April 2020, Scottish Ministers took executive and legal competence for disability benefits, including Disability Living Allowance for Children, Attendance Allowance and Personal Independence Payment.
These benefits continue to be delivered during a transition period by the Department for Work and Pensions under the terms of an Agency Agreement with the Scottish Government, to ensure the safe and secure devolution of disability benefits.
The Scottish Government intends to replace Disability Living Allowance for Children, Personal Independence Payment and Attendance Allowance with new forms of assistance under the 2018 Act. These new benefits will be delivered by Social Security Scotland on behalf of Scottish Ministers with determinations carrying a right of appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal for Scotland's Social Security Chamber.
The Scottish Government intends to launch disability assistance for new applicants first. This includes individuals who are not in receipt of a United Kingdom or Scottish Government disability benefit. Transfer of existing Department for Work and Pensions clients to Social Security Scotland will take place at a later point without clients needing to make a new application.
The Disability Assistance for Working Age People (Scotland) Regulations set out how we will deliver our replacement for Personal Independence Payment, Adult Disability Payment. This was formerly known as Disability Assistance for Working Age People. The regulations also make provisions for the Personal Independence Payment to Adult Disability Payment case transfer process.
In addition to supporting new applications, Scottish Ministers will make provision for the transfer of responsibility for delivering disability benefits for individuals who receive Personal Independence Payment in Scotland from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on behalf of Scottish Ministers to Social Security Scotland, and for changing the disability benefits for these individuals from Personal Independence Payment to Adult Disability Payment. We refer to this process as "case transfer".
The cases and supporting information for these clients will transfer to Social Security Scotland once new applications for Adult Disability Payment are available to all clients across Scotland. Based on estimates provided by the Scottish Government's Communities Analysis Division, there are around 290,000 individuals whose benefits will transfer from Personal Independence Payment to Adult Disability Payment.
Scottish Ministers have set out a number of case transfer principles which we have used to guide the development of our approach to case transfer.
The principles are:
- Correct payment at the correct time – ensuring that the case transfer process is designed so that clients will receive the same amount for the Scottish benefit as they received for the corresponding UK benefit.
- No re-applications - we will not require clients to apply for their new benefit as part of the case transfer. We will work with DWP to move clients automatically to Social Security Scotland and the corresponding new Scottish benefit.
- No face to face DWP re-assessments - we will, wherever possible, ensure that no-one will be subject to a face to face re-assessment by DWP when new applications for Adult Disability Payment are open across Scotland.
- Complete as soon as possible – Scottish Ministers have been clear that they want to complete the transfer of cases as soon as is possible in a way that will not create unacceptable risks for clients.
- Clear communication with clients – we will inform our clients the date their case will be transferred and will keep them informed at the various stages of the case transfer process.
The public sector equality duty is a legislative requirement which states that the Scottish Government must assess the impact of applying a proposed new or revised policy or practice on groups with protected characteristics. Policies should reflect that different people have different needs. Equality legislation covers the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation.
This Equality Impact Assessment has identified potential impacts on disabled people in Scotland as a result of replacing Personal Independence Payment with Adult Disability Payment. It was found that, overall, our policy would have a positive impact on people in Scotland with protected characteristics. Where areas of improvement have been identified, we have made changes to better meet the needs of people living in Scotland.
These changes build on the 2018 Act's framework of a new system that is underpinned by dignity, respect and a human rights based approach to delivering social security for the people of Scotland. This impact assessment is one of a package to accompany the regulations. The others are: Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA); Island Community Impact Assessment (ICIA) Children's Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA); and the Fairer Scotland Duty Assessment.
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