Ill Health and Disability Benefits Stakeholder Reference Group minutes: May 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 5 May 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Nathan Gale, Chair, Scottish Government
  • Emilia Crighton, NHS
  • Moira Escreet, CPAG
  • Jana Eyssel, Scottish Government 
  • Heather Fisher, Inclusion Scotland
  • Richard Gass, Rights Advice Scotland
  • Claire Hill, Inclusion Scotland
  • Jim Hume, Support in Mind Scotland
  • Margaret Kate-Dickson, NHS 
  • Laura Kerr, Social Work Scotland 
  • Shonagh Martin, Scottish Government 
  • Dr Mini Mishra, Scottish Government
  • David Scott, CAS
  • Gill Young, Castle Rock Edinvar


  • Kate Burton, NHS
  • John Cunnigham, CoSLA 
  • Gerard McFeely, NHS
  • Duncan McIntyre, Chair of Learning Disability Practice Network
  • Hannah Ross, COSLA
  • Patricia Moultrie, BMA Scotland
  • Stephanie Miller, Citizen’s Advice Scotland 
  • Cate Vallis, RNIB

Items and actions


Chair, Nathan Gale, welcomed members to the 24th meeting of the Ill Health and Disability Benefits Stakeholder Reference Group. 

Minutes and Scottish Government Update

Members signed off the minutes from the December meeting of the group. These will be published on the Scottish Government website.

Members did not have any comments on the Scottish Government update paper. 

Update on Adult Disability Payment Pilot 

Phase one of the Adult Disability Payment Pilot launched on 21 March 2022 in Dundee City, Perth and Kinross, and the Western Isles. The number of applications made when Adult Disability Payment first launched was in line with the expected numbers.

Officials have received positive feedback around the application form. The form is now more user friendly, and the language used has improved. Advisors have found that the form better facilitates the gathering of relevant information. Members said that Social Security Scotland advisors also found that turnaround times for the Adult Disability Payment online application form have been very quick. 

Members asked what kind of information will be collected on Adult Disability Payment. Officials updated that data is being collected as part of a research strategy to understand how Adult Disability Payment is reaching people across Scotland. This includes collecting standard data such as uptake and award rates, as well as collecting data on specific topics, such as how the supporting information policy is operating or how well Social Security Scotland have been able to obtain information. Officials suggested inviting analysts along to a future meeting to give members more information on the work they’re doing. 

Members asked about the steps being taken to gather feedback on Child Disability Payment and Adult Disability Payment. Officials confirmed that local delivery have been following up with clients after they have interacted with Social Security Scotland. Officials will find out more information on this and provide an update in the next update paper. 

Members noted that the paper form is not very accessible due to its size. One advisor found that they had to break the spine of the form to access and write in the margins. Officials will feed this back to user research colleagues. 

Members asked whether there was a PDF version of the form that advisors could use to familiarise themselves with before they begin going through it with clients. Officials confirmed that a sample application is available via the Questions asked when applying for Adult Disability Payment section of the Scottish Government website.

Members asked if there are any alternative methods of requesting a paper application form or a form in another language instead of having to phone Social Security Scotland. Officials will update on this at the next meeting. 

Special Rules for Terminal Illness (SRTI) applications 

Since the Adult Disability Payment pilot began, Social Security Scotland have received a higher volume of applications than expected under the SRTI route. Several applications have come in without a BASRiS form that don’t meet the definition for terminal illness. Officials asked members if they were aware of any reasons for this. 

Members suggested the following potential reasons:

  • the size of the form (particularly the paper form) could deter people from applying through the standard route causing them to put an application in through the SRTI route 
  • the communications regarding the new definition of terminal illness could have caused confusion. Some clients may think that if their condition is likely to end their life earlier than expected, they can apply under the SRTI route 
  • advisors may have been told by their client that they can apply under the SRTI route and don’t want to question the client on this 

Action 1 : Officials to invite analysts to a future meeting to give members more information on their research strategy for Adult Disability Payment.

Action 2: Officials to find out more information about how feedback is being gathered on Child Disability Payment and Adult Disability Payment and include an update in the next update paper.

Action 3: Officials to find out whether there are any alternative methods of requesting a paper application form or a form in another language.

Decision Making Guidance (DMG) chapter on review periods and indefinite awards

Jana Eyssel, Policy Manager for Decision Making and Supporting Information , gave members a presentation on what indefinite awards are and how the policy has been developed. 

Following the presentation, members were invited to join a short term working group to review the draft DMG chapter on review periods and indefinite awards. 

Members asked whether the condition lists for indefinite awards have been aligned with information DWP have previously gathered on this. Officials confirmed that the lists have been developed by Clinical Advisors and Analysts  in the Scottish Government. Conditions were identified using data provided by DWP which includes a breakdown of client groups on long term awards. The list will continue to be updated as more data becomes available. Members asked that officials look further at the conditions identified by DWP. 

Members asked about the process for notifying people on indefinite awards of their duty to update their circumstances, and the actions they could face if they do not do this. Members confirmed that clients with indefinite awards will still have the duty to report changes in circumstances. They will receive an annual uprating letter that will notify them of changes in their payment, and this letter will also include a reminder of their duty to report a change in circumstances. Officials are currently undertaking user research on the uprating letters and will ensure the letters are clear for clients on indefinite awards. 

Members asked for clarification on how case managers would justify giving a client an indefinite award. Officials clarified that for Pathway 1, where a client’s condition would strongly suggest that their needs aren’t likely to change, case managers would consider whether there are any reasons why the client should not receive an indefinite award. 

Members asked whether clients will be made aware of and involved in the decision on their review period. Officials are aware that some clients would prefer to have a review period instead of an indefinite award. If a client is given an indefinite award, case managers can check this with the client, and if a client has previously expressed that they would prefer to be reviewed, this would be taken into account. Officials also confirmed that clients will receive a decision report which is a letter informing them of the decision and review period. The letter will include a section where case managers can explain the reasons for their decision on the award and review period. 

Any other business and close 

Members asked if officials could provide an update on Pension Age Disability Payment (PADP). Officials will provide an update on this as soon as possible. 

Members raised concerns that some parents are receiving calls and being asked extensive questions on their Child Disability Payment application. It was suggested that, although the guidance is comprehensive, some case managers will follow it differently. Members asked what is being done in terms of quality assurance in relation to following the guidance. Officials suggested including a presentation on this at the next meeting. 

Members asked for more information on the case transfer of someone over pension age who’s on higher rate Disability Living Allowance. Officials offered to share their details with the Team Leader for case transfer to discuss this further. 

Nathan thanked members for attending the meeting and closed. 

Action 4: Officials to provide an update on Pension age Disability Payment as soon as possible.

Action 5: Officials to invite colleagues to do a presentation on what we’re doing to gather feedback and ensure guidance is being followed properly, at the next meeting.

Action 6: Officials to pass a member’s details on to the Team leader for Case Transfer to discuss their question in more detail.

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