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Disability Assistance for Working Age People (Scotland) Regulations: equalities impact assessment (EQIA)

The equality impact assessment (EQIA) considers potential effects of the Disability Assistance for Working Age People (Scotland) Regulations 2022 and how it impacts on people with one or more protected characteristics.


Age

As of July 2020, 3,380 people under age 18 were entitled to Personal Independence Payment in Scotland.

In the current system, children in Scotland entitled to Disability Living Allowance for Children were previously invited to apply for Personal Independence Payment before they turn 16. This means that they may have had to undergo what is experienced by many as a stressful Personal Independence Payment assessment just before their 16th birthday.

We introduced legislation which has allowed us to extend awards of Disability Living Allowance for Children for individuals in Scotland to age 18 through the Personal Independence Payment (Transitional Provisions) Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2020. Although people in receipt of Personal Independence Payment receive, on average, awards that are 32% higher than DLA awards, under the current administration, 22% of Personal Independence Payment applicants are unsuccessful. This is expected to have a positive impact on young people in Scotland, as detailed in our impact assessments on this legislation which can be viewed here: Personal Independence Payment (Transitional Provisions) Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2020: impact assessments - gov.scot (www.gov.scot).

We were told by parents in our focus groups that for some 16 year olds, an impending face-to-face assessment was so stressful that their children refused to attend, which meant a loss of part of the household's income due to passported benefits, such as Carer's Allowance, also stopping.

We believe that our approach to disability assistance will have a positive impact on this group. Firstly, because we are extending Child Disability Payment, our replacement for Disability Living Allowance for Children, to age 18 for children entitled to Child Disability Payment immediately before their 16th birthday, young people will continue to be entitled to Child Disability Payment assistance for an additional two years before they will be required to apply for Adult Disability Payment. That does not however stop clients moving from Child Disability Payment to Adult Disability Payment before age 18 should they wish to. It will be important for clients to be aware that as Child Disability Payment and Adult Disability Payment are two different forms of assistance with different criteria, they may not be entitled to Adult Disability Payment, in spite of being in receipt of Child Disability Payment. Further, if in making a determination in relation to Adult Disability Payment, information comes to light which suggests the client may have experienced a change of circumstances, an unscheduled review of their Child Disability Payment entitlement may be commenced.

The transition has been designed to minimise gaps in entitlement and to ensure that the process is as smooth as possible for clients. In contrast to the current system, young people will be given significant flexibility in choosing when to apply to Adult Disability Payment after their 16th birthday. A client's Child Disability Payment will only stop when a positive determination is made for Adult Disability Payment. If they do not receive any award of Adult Disability Payment, their Child Disability Payment will continue until their 18th birthday. If they request a re-determination on their Adult Disability Payment determination, and they turn 18 before that re-determination is complete, they will continue to receive Child Disability Payment until they turn 19th birthday.

Individuals applying for disability assistance for the first time who are 16 and above will apply for Adult Disability Payment. This will ensure that clients will not be required to apply for another benefit a short time after being awarded Child Disability Payment.

We have also made changes to the application process for all forms of disability assistance, including Adult Disability Payment, which will help to reduce stress and anxiety for clients. Firstly, we are utilising a new approach to gathering supporting information. Case managers within Social Security Scotland will, if requested, help clients gather existing supporting information from public sector sources. This could include professional sources (such as confirmation of a diagnosis from a GP) or informal sources (accounts of the needs of the client from a family member or carer). In many cases, a case manager will only seek one source of formal supporting information to make a decision regarding an individual's entitlement to Adult Disability Payment.

Case managers will also have access to Social Security Scotland practitioners who, alongside conducting client consultations, will be able to provide specialist advice if required during case discussions. This might include side effects of a particular medication, how a disability or health condition will typically affect someone, or the way in which two conditions may interact. This approach will allow case managers to make an informed decision regarding an individual's entitlement to Adult Disability Payment. It will also help to ensure that it is only when there is no other practicable way to gather accurate information about a client's needs that they will be invited to attend a client consultation.

Our case transfer process will ensure that wherever possible after the national launch of Adult Disability Payment, a client's Personal Independence Payment award will be selected for transfer to Adult Disability Payment before their award is subject to a review that could lead to a face-to-face assessment with the Department for Work and Pensions. This means these clients will benefit from the processes described above.

This will reduce the stress and anxiety young people have reported experiencing in the current system as, in the majority of cases, consultations will not be required to make a determination of entitlement. Where a consultation is required, we have worked to improve the process and make sure that practitioners who carry out consultations are suitably qualified to do so, reducing the risk of clients experiencing stress and anxiety.

9.6% of all working age and older people described having a condition which limited their day-to-day activities "a lot" in the 2011 census. We know that the older population is more likely to be affected by disabling conditions: 7% of those aged 16-64 describe having a condition which limits their day-to-day activities a lot but this rose to 27.6% of those aged 65 and above.

Adult Disability Payment will continue to be available to individuals over state pension age where they are in receipt of Adult Disability Payment when they reach that age or where no more than one year has lapsed since their award ended. Individuals over state pension age who have not had a previous award of Personal Independence Payment or Adult Disability Payment, will apply for Attendance Allowance, or Pension Age Disability Payment when that is introduced in Scotland to replace Attendance Allowance.

Contact

Email: matthew.duff@gov.scot

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