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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 Working Age People

Respondents were told that the Scottish Government intends to change the name of Personal Independence Payment to Disability Assistance for Working Age People.

Disability Assistance for Working Age People – Likes

We asked respondents what they liked about the name Disability Assistance for Working Age People. 179 people 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'

Repeating some of the themes identified for Disability Assistance for Children and Young People, most respondents liked the inclusion of the word 'assistance', which is felt to be less stigmatising than 'allowance'. Respondents said the name 'sounds more dignified' and is 'much nicer. '

"That is better with some feeling about it, it doesn't sound so hard."

"I like the name disability assistance, it has a more positive and empowering feeling behind it."

"The word Assistance is something that I think is more of a positive term."

A few respondents said that they liked the inclusion of the word 'working-age' because it states who the benefit is for and suggests that the benefit can be received whilst also working.

"It seems a kinder name to me. It would be an accurate description of its intended purpose. It also acknowledges that it is for people of a working age - and that you can be in employment but in needed of financial assistance due to your disability."

"Working age people, let's you know you're capable of working and fulfilling your life."

Clear and self-explanatory

Many respondents said that Disability Assistance for Working Age People is clear, self-explanatory and easy to understand.

"It makes it clear who this benefit is for and a description of who would get it."

"More comprehensive. Explains exactly what it is and who it is for."

Additional themes

A few respondents liked that the name Disability Assistance for Working Age People is consistent with Disability Assistance for Children and Young People. Many respondents said that the name is 'fine', 'good', 'okay' or 'better' but did not provide further information about why they thought this.

"It's an improvement. I like the idea of consistency with the similar benefit for Young People."

Disability Assistance for Working Age People – Dislikes

We asked respondents what they disliked about the name 'Disability Assistance for Working Age People'. 175 of the 278 respondents answered this open text question. For those who provided a negative comment, a number of themes were identified.

Negative word – 'working age'

A key theme to emerge was that respondents disliked the term 'working age.' This was for a number of reasons. First of all, it was felt that it is not clear what age range is defined as being 'working age', and that it is a subjective term. Many respondents said this was confusing and again, this was felt to be a potential barrier to claiming for eligible individuals.

"What age is a working age person? A lot of people now work after they are due to retire, if they are able to do so."

"'Working Age People' - You can do a paper round (work) at age 13 and the retirement ages keep being moved, so 'Working Age' is not always fixed."

"Too wordy. Disability is a very labelling word. Working age is vague - with changing pension ages it will be hard for people to know when they do or don't qualify. It might put people off applying if they are not working due to early retirement, for example, if they then see themselves as no longer of working age."

Second of all, some respondents said that the term 'working age' was misleading. They highlighted that the benefit is intended to pay for the additional costs of living with a disability or health condition, and is not linked to an individual's ability to work.

"Working? You don't stop been disabled when you hit 65."

"Why should it only be for working age people? If a person is disabled, it is usually unlikely that it will suddenly improve or disappear when they are no longer of 'working age'."

"I don't like it, as it implies that only "working" age people will be eligible."

Thirdly, respondents said that having 'working age' in the title is problematic because many disabled individuals are unable to work. They described it as 'offensive' and 'negative' to be reminded of this, as the name implies that recipients should be working, when often they do not have a choice.

"The benefits title sets a tone for people who are disabled that "working" is preferable to not working when for many people with disabilities, they have no choice about working or not working."

"Don't like the disability label and it implies that you 'should' be working even though you may not be able to."

"Do not like this, prefer P.I.P. Some disabled people of working age may never be able to find suitable employment or are unable to be employed. Reminding them of this in the benefit they receive could have a negative effect."

Additional themes

The other themes that emerged echoed what respondents disliked about Disability Assistance for Children and Young People, that Disability Assistance for Working Age People is too long, and contained negative words.

Most respondents who made a negative comment said that they disliked the name because it is too long and does not produce an easy acronym which is shorter to say and easier to remember.

"Too cumbersome and does not produce a snappy acronym."

"It's too long. Especially as the disabled person might have difficulty saying all that! I have memory problems and difficulty processing information if things are not kept simple."

The vast majority of respondents disliked names which include the word 'disability'.

"Disabled people don't like to be reminded of disablement."

"The use of "disabled" defines and pigeon holes."

Whilst most respondents preferred the term 'assistance' over 'allowance', some highlighted that 'assistance' may be confusing because it potentially implies more than financial help.

"The assistance provided is purely financial. The proposed benefits title implies all sorts of assistance, like someone coming to your home to help you out."

"The word assistance means a lot of people will think they are getting nurses, support workers etc."

Preference

We asked respondents which name they prefer, 'Disability Assistance for Working Age People' or 'something else'. Less than three in ten respondents were in favour of the name Disability Assistance for Working Age People (27 per cent). Around seven in ten respondents would prefer something else (73 per cent).

Table 10: Which name do you prefer (n=263)

Response %
Disability Assistance for Working Age People 27
Something else 73
Total 100

Of those who would prefer something else, 19 per cent said it should remain called Personal Independence Payment. This accounted for 13 per cent of all responses. The full list of names proposed by respondents can be found at Annex B.

Contact

Email: socialsecurityexperience@gov.scot

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