Social Security Experience Panels: disability benefit names

Social Security Experience Panels members' views on renaming disability benefits when they are transferred from the UK Department for Work and Pensions to Social Security Scotland.

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Background and research methods

The Scottish Government is becoming responsible for some of the benefits currently delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions. This includes most ill health and disability benefits: Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for Children, Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Attendance Allowance (AA) and Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA).

As part of the work to prepare for this change, the Scottish Government set up the Social Security Experience Panels. Over 2,400 people from across Scotland who have recent experience of at least one of the benefits coming to Scotland have registered as Experience Panel members. The Scottish Government is working with Experience Panel members to design a new social security system that works for the people of Scotland, based on the principles of dignity, fairness and respect.

In this research project, we used a survey to ask Experience Panel members their thoughts on renaming disability benefits. The research ran in conjunction with a Scottish Government public consultation seeking views on the proposed approach to delivery of devolved disability assistance in Scotland. The consultation, among other things, also gathered views on suggested names for the benefits.[1] This report details the key themes which emerged from the survey with Experience Panel members. It used open text survey questions to ask:

  • what Experience Panel members liked and disliked about the current DWP disability benefit names;
  • what Experience Panel members liked and disliked about the proposed new disability benefit names and any alternative suggestions;
  • views on words Social Security Scotland should avoid using when naming a benefit;
  • views on words Social Security Scotland should use when naming a benefit; and
  • views on other proposed name changes such as agency staff titles.

Participants were recruited from the Scottish Government Experience Panels. All Experience Panel members who have told us they have experience of disability benefits were invited to take part in the survey.

The Social Security Experience Panels are a longitudinal research project. The panels are made up of volunteers from the Scottish population who have relevant experience. The results of this work should be regarded as being reflective of the experience and views of the participants only, and are not indicative of the views of a wider Scottish population. Percentages are given only to show a broad sense of the balance of opinion across participants.

Survey method

Participation in Experience Panels research is optional, and in this case 278 people chose to complete the survey (a response rate of 14 per cent of Panel members with experience of the disability benefits).

Information from the survey was added to information from the 'About Your Benefits and You'[2] and 'Social Security Experience Panels: Who is in the panels and their experiences so far'[3] surveys. The demographic data collected in these surveys was linked to the information supplied by respondents of this survey as part of the longitudinal data set for the wider Experience Panels project. This data was not available for all survey respondents. The following demographic information is given to provide context to the findings from the survey.

Over one third of respondents who we have demographic information for identified as 'man or boy' (36 per cent) and just under two thirds (64 per cent) identified as 'woman or girl'.

Table 1: Gender of survey respondents (n=206)

Gender %
Woman or girl 64
Man or boy 36
Total 100

Over half of survey respondents were aged 45 to 59 (55 per cent) and just under one third were aged 60 or over (31 per cent). 14 per cent of respondents were aged between 25 and 44, with none were under the age of 25 or over the age of 80.

Table 2: Age of survey respondents (n=208)

Age %
Under 25 0
25 – 44 14
45 – 59 55
60 – 79 31
80 or over 0
Total 100

Almost nine in ten respondents (87 per cent) had a disability or long term health condition.

Table 3: Disability status of respondents (n=208)

Disability status
Disabled 87
Not disabled 13

Two thirds of respondents had a physical disability (66 per cent) and just under two thirds had chronic pain (63 per cent). One third had a mental health condition (33 per cent) and around one in ten had a severe hearing impairment (12 per cent). Six per cent had severe visual impairment and five per cent had a learning disability. Just under two thirds told us they had some other kind of disability or long term health condition (63 per cent).

Table 4: Disability types of respondents (n=208)[4]

Disability Types %
Has a physical disability 66
Has chronic pain 63
Has a mental health condition 33
Has a severe hearing impairment 12
Has a severe visual impairment 6
Has a learning disability 5
Has another kind of disability or long term health condition 63

Over half of survey respondents cared for a family member or friend (57 per cent).

Table 5: Caring status of respondents (n=203)

Caring status %
Carer 57
Not a carer 43
Total 100

Survey respondents most commonly cared for an adult friend or relative (35 per cent). 17 percent was a carer due to old age. Just one in ten cared for a child (10 per cent).

Table 6: Who do respondents care for? (n=208)

Care status %
Cares for an adult 35
Cares for a child 10
Carer due to old age 17

Survey respondents took part from all thirty-two local authority areas in Scotland. The majority lived in an urban area (81 per cent).[5]

Table 7: Location of respondents (n=191)

Location %
Urban 81
Rural 19
Total 100

Survey respondents who took part had experience of claiming or helping someone else to claim a wide range of benefits.

The most common benefits claimed by survey respondents were Personal Independence Payment (73 per cent) and Disability Living Allowance (70 per cent). The least common benefits claimed were for Funeral Expenses (8 per cent), Sure Start Maternity Grant (6 per cent) and Industrial Injuries Disability Benefit (4 per cent).

Table 8: Respondents benefit experience (n=208)[6]

Benefit %
Personal Independence Payment 73
Disability Living Allowance 70
Winter Fuel Payment Carer's Allowance 32
Cold Weather Payment 32
Winter Fuel Payment 38
Discretionary Housing Payment 22
Scottish Welfare Fund 14
Attendance Allowance 21
Universal Credit 19
Severe Disablement Allowance 18
Funeral Expenses 8
Sure Start Maternity Grant 6
Industrial Injuries Disability Benefit 4

More detailed demographic information on the Experience Panels as a whole can be found in 'Social Security Experience Panels: Who is in the panels and their experiences so far' [7].



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