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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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Disability Assistance for Children and Young People

Respondents were told that the Scottish Government intends to change the name of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for Children to Disability Assistance for Children and Young People.

Disability Assistance for Children and Young People – Likes

We asked respondents what they liked about the name Disability Assistance for Children and Young People. 205 of the 278 respondents answered this open text question. For those who provided a positive comment, a number of themes were identified.

Positive word – 'assistance'

Echoing the findings above, most respondents who gave a positive comment liked the inclusion of the word 'assistance', which was perceived to be less stigmatising than 'allowance'.

"Much better as it is assisting someone to live rather than allowing them to."

"Assistance seems quite positive and not like the word "benefit" where people who do not understand the system, it does sound as if it is "earned"."

"There are no words included that strike me as negative. Assistance is a positive word. Everyone needs a little assistance at least once in their lives in some form or another. It shows that people aren't and don't have to go it alone but can be assisted to live a better and more fulfilling life."

Respondents used the following words to describe the name Disability Assistance for Children and Young People: 'sounds kinder', 'more subtle', 'friendlier', 'sensitive' 'supportive', 'softer', 'more inclusive'.

"Assistance sounds more caring."

"Disability assistance has a more supportive feeling about it."

"It sounds more welcoming and friendly."

"This title is quite positive. It implies that the claimant will be helped, rather than hindered, to apply for the benefit."

Includes 'young people'

Respondents disliked that DLA for Children only refers to 'children.' This is seen to be excluding for young people. Respondents therefore liked that Disability Assistance for Children and Young People encompasses all 'young people', including teenagers.

"Much better. More inclusive and older young people will appreciate not being labelled as a child."

"It's a broader spectrum and covers all young people."

"It is more inclusive and doesn't leave teenagers being referred to as children."

Clear and self-explanatory

Similar to DLA for Children, respondents said that they liked that Disability Assistance for Children and Young People is clear and self-explanatory. Respondents felt that it is easy to understand who and what the benefit is intended for.

"It is simple and straightforward."

"The name is better. It better describes the function of the benefit and to whom it is aimed."

Improvement

Many respondents simply noted that Disability Assistance for Children and Young People is 'better' and 'much more suitable' than Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for Children, but did not provide a reason as to why they thought this.

Disability Assistance for Children and Young People – Dislikes

We asked respondents what they disliked about the name Disability Assistance for Children and Young People. 194 of the 278 respondents answered this open text question. For those who provided a negative comment, a number of themes were identified.

Negative word – 'disability'

Similar to DLA for Children, most respondents disliked the word 'disability' in Disability Assistance for Children and Young People.

"It is an improvement on Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for Children, however, the stigma of the word disability still exists."

"It appears with the disability first whereas reforms such as the children's charter, places the child first. Children and young people's assistance for disability I feel sounds better focusing on the child."

Similarly, respondents felt that the word 'disability' does not appear to cover all disabilities and health conditions, and were concerned that this could act as a barrier to claiming the benefit for some eligible individuals who do not identify with the term.

"I dislike the word Disability. It is a negative label. It is difficult for people to disassociate disability and handicap, even in today's society. The name should reflect more that the benefit is for all types of impairment, whether it be seen i.e. physical or unseen e.g. epilepsy."

"The use of the label "Disability" can leave people thinking this form of welfare payment does not apply to their child or young person if they have a mental health disorder. "Care and Mobility Assistance for Children and Young People" would leave fewer people that were entitled to this payment, feeling that it didn't apply to their child or young person."

Too long

Another key theme was that respondents thought the name is 'too long', 'wordy' and 'long winded' and disliked that no obvious acronym or shortened abbreviation is possible.

"Far too long winded. If you feel you have to change the name make it something shorter that is instantly recognisable. Benefits are confusing enough without giving them long winded titles."

"It's quite a mouthful...I wouldn't relish having to phone and being passed around, each time repeating this."

"It's too long and it's not worded well enough to be able to give it a shorter nickname. Benefits paid out at the moment can be shortened to easily remembered initials."

Additional themes

We saw above that many respondents were positive about the word 'assistance'. A a small number of respondents however noted their dislike of the word. These respondents felt that it is not clear that 'assistance' refers solely to financial assistance, and does not include physical or practical assistance.

"Too long. Makes it sounds like it is actual assistance not financial assistance."

"It suggests practical assistance rather than financial support. It's way too long for a benefit name. I don't like this at all. It does not say what it is. It needs to be more clear"

Preference

We asked respondents which name they preferred, 'Disability Assistance for Children and Young People' or 'something else'. Around four in ten respondents were in favour of the name Disability Assistance for Children and Young People (42 per cent). Almost six in ten respondents would prefer something else (58 per cent).

Table 9: Which name do you prefer (n=267)

Response %
Disability Assistance for Children and Young People 42
Something else 58
Total 100

Of those who would prefer something else, six per cent said it should remain called Disability Living Allowance for Children. This accounted for three per cent of all responses. The full list of names proposed by respondents can be found at Annex A.

Contact

Email: socialsecurityexperience@gov.scot

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