Publication - Research and analysis

Devolution of disability benefits: evaluation strategy

Published: 1 Oct 2021

The strategy for evaluating the devolution of disability benefits to Scotland.

Devolution of disability benefits: evaluation strategy
Disability benefits policy context

Disability benefits policy context

The following table outlines some key changes relevant to all forms of Disability Assistance. Some of the policy changes are dependent upon further legislation, which will be subject to approval by the Scottish Parliament. Full details on each of the proposed policy changes are available in the relevant policy position papers on the Scottish Government website.

Policy Detail
Entitlement Social Security Scotland will make decisions about entitlement based on the applicant's account of their circumstances and ask the client who can provide the most relevant supporting information. Face-to-face assessments will be replaced by client consultations. They will only be used when it is the only practicable way to make a decision.
Award duration All awards for Disability Assistance will be ongoing. However, clients will be given an award review date as part of their initial award decision which will be used to determine continuing entitlement to the component rates of each form of Disability Assistance. Long-term review periods will be available for people whose disability or condition is unlikely to change, with a minimum of five years and a maximum of ten years between reviews. Work is underway to establish parameters that could be put in place for the provision of indefinite awards for certain clients whose needs are very unlikely to change.
Light-touch reviews In the case of review, additional information will only be gathered when needed to make an informed decision on whether the impact of a client's condition or disability has changed sufficiently to warrant a change in award rate.
Terminal illness A new approach to terminal illness will be introduced which allows medical professionals to use their clinical judgement to determine entitlement. This decision will be based on guidance prepared by the Chief Medical Officer and is a change from the time-limited definition currently in use by the UK Government. Social Security Scotland will automatically award the maximum rate of Disability Assistance to clients with a terminal illness and there will be no review of awards made under these rules.
Case Transfer Initial awards of Disability Assistance for clients whose cases are transferred will be based on information collected by the DWP, not a new application to Social Security Scotland. These awards will be paid at the same rates and on the same dates as the benefit the client received before their case was transferred.

Other proposed changes have been made to particular elements of the individual disability benefits including:

Policy Detail
Eligibility for Child Disability Payment Eligibility will be extended for Child Disability Payment from 16 years to 18 years-old for those already in receipt of assistance before turning 16.
Client consultations for Adult Disability Payment Unnecessary routine face-to-face assessments will end. If there is no other way to make a decision, person-centered client consultations will be held, focusing on fairness, standards and quality. Clients will have a choice of communication channels including online, telephone and face-to-face consultations. Clients will be able to select a date, time and place that is convenient for them, with home visits available. Consultations will be audio-recorded as standard with copies made available to the client and tribunal, should a client appeal their decision.

New policies have also been proposed, including:

Policy Detail
Accessible Vehicles and Equipment Scheme The Accessible Vehicles and Equipment Scheme will provide a service similar to the current Motability scheme, and will be available to those receiving the highest mobility rate of Child Disability Payment or Adult Disability Payment. A range of cars, wheelchair-accessible vehicles, scooters and powered wheelchairs will be available to those eligible at affordable leasing terms, with a range of adaptations at little or no cost.
Child Winter Heating Assistance A new payment was introduced in 2020 to help families of severely disabled children to heat their homes.

Contact

Email: socialresearch@gov.scot