The Scottish Commission on Social Security (SCoSS) is pleased to present its scrutiny report on the draft Disability Assistance for Working Age People (Transitional Provisions and Miscellaneous Amendment) (Scotland) Regulations 2022.
These Regulations put in place transitional provisions to support the case transfer of working age people in Scotland in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Adult Disability Payment (ADP). These individuals would have been due to transfer from DLA to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) which was established in 2013. However, before executive competence for disability benefits was transferred to the Scottish Government on 1 April 2020, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had not completed migration from DLA to PIP. There were still around 42,000 adult DLA claimants with a postcode in Scotland at this point and the Scottish Government has told SCoSS that its most recent figures show a working age DLA case load of 38,000.
As the chart in Annex 1 shows, there are multiple possible routes onto ADP. The process for the cohort transferring directly from DLA to ADP is much more complex than transfer from PIP to ADP, as DLA eligibility is not assessed via descriptors and DLA components do not straightforwardly map onto ADP. In particular, DLA has three rates for the care component whereas ADP (and PIP) only have two rates of daily living component. Other differences include that DLA, unlike ADP and PIP, does not require that people cannot walk more than 20 metres in order to qualify for the higher rate of mobility component (and thus access to a Motability car). In some respects, ADP is more generous than DLA. A further complicating factor is that many DLA clients' records are still paper-based within the DWP system and these need to be used as a basis for confirming the eligibility of DLA recipients for ADP. Additionally there are challenges concerning how to provide for people who have reached the age of 65 since 2013, who to transfer to ADP and in what order, as well as how to deal with scope for inequitable treatment. Finally, the fact that some of the draft Regulations fall within SCoSS's remit to scrutinise and some do not, makes our task more complex too.
The Scottish Government's priority, and the one identified by people with lived experience, is for a safe, secure transfer ensuring no interruption to payments. While different ways to approach this exist, in the context of DLA to ADP transfers none are straightforward. The Scottish Government has chosen to go for a two-stage transfer process, whereby working age DLA claimants first transfer to ADP and continue to receive an award at the same rate as their previous DLA payment, then subsequently have their case reviewed against the ADP descriptors. This seems to us to be the better of the options available, albeit that the process will remain complex and potentially confusing.
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