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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 Older People

Respondents were told that the Scottish Government intends to change the name of Attendance Allowance to Disability Assistance for Older People.

Disability Assistance for Older People – Likes

We asked respondents what they liked about the name Disability Assistance for Older People. 156 of the 278 respondents answered this open text question. For those who provided a positive comment, a number of themes were identified.

Most respondents liked the word 'assistance' and felt the name to be simple and easy to understand. Respondents said the name is 'more user friendly' than Attendance Allowance and described it as 'straightforward' and 'simple'. Many respondents said that the name is 'fine' or 'better' but did not provide any further information about why they thought this.

"It's more specific/self-explanatory than AA."

"Much more descriptive of what it is and who it's for."

"This sounds and reads better as the word assistance can help future clients not feel as though they have to have someone attending to them all the time before they can claim this benefit."

Additional themes

A few respondents said that the name is more inclusive and that they appreciate the consistency with the other proposed benefit names.

"Definitely sounds better and more caring."

"Keeps in line with name of benefits for other age groups, so easier for understanding. All age groups being referred to in same fashion will be helpful for older applicants, and their families/carers. Uptake may increase."

Disability Assistance for Older People – Dislikes

We asked respondents what they disliked about the name Disability Assistance for Older People. 152 of the 278 respondents answered this open text question. For those who provided a negative comment, a number of themes were identified.

Most respondents disliked the inclusion of the words 'disability' and 'older people.' As discussed, some respondents felt that the word 'disability' is offensive, divisive and labelling.

"It highlights age and disability."

"Sounds discriminatory - disability and older."

"Disability and age is a wee bit demeaning."

Many respondents also disliked the word 'older people.' They felt that the term is vague, subjective and there is no clear definition of the age range encompassed by 'older people.' A few respondents questioned why each benefit has to be distinguished by age.

"What does 'older people' mean, i.e. at what age do you become 'older'?"

"Older People is pretty vague and many people have differing thoughts on what constitutes an older person."

Respondents also felt that referring to people as 'older' is potentially discriminatory. Some described the proposed name as being 'patronising', 'demeaning' and 'disrespectful'.

"Makes you feel old and useless."

"Labelling a person as disabled and old places them at an immediate disadvantage and can reinforce how they consider themselves."

The other themes that emerged mirrored those discussed in the sections on Disability Assistance for Children and Young People and Disability Assistance for Working Age People.

Most respondents disliked that the name was long. They described it as 'clunky,' 'wordy' and 'cumbersome'.

"This naming convention is awful. I don't like anything about it. These new terms are too long and verbose and can't be easily turned in to an acronym."

A small number of respondents said that it is not clear that 'assistance' refers to financial assistance alone and that this is misleading.

"Sounds more like a service than a benefit."

"Doesn't sound like a regular payment."

Preference

We asked respondents which name they prefer, 'Disability Assistance for Older People' or 'something else'. One third of respondents were in favour of the name Disability Assistance for Older People (33 per cent). Around two thirds of respondents would prefer something else (67 per cent).

Table 11: Which name do you prefer (n=260)

Response %
Disability Assistance for Older People 33
Something else 67
Total 100

Of those who would prefer something else, 20 per cent said it should remain called Attendance Allowance. This accounted for 11 per cent of all responses. The full list of names proposed by respondents can be found at Annex C.

Contact

Email: socialsecurityexperience@gov.scot

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