Disabled people with lifelong conditions won't face benefits reviews

Currently, those with lifelong conditions require reassessment in order to keep receiving their benefits.

Disabled people in Scotland with lifelong serious conditions won’t face benefits reviews under new system iStock

Fixed term benefits reviews will be ended for disabled people in Scotland who have serious lifelong conditions.

It comes ahead of responsibility for adult disability benefits starting to be passed from the UK Government to the Scottish Government next week.

Social security minister Ben Macpherson pledged that the Scottish Government is determined to build a “more compassionate system” in the country.

Under the current system, those with lifelong conditions are required to be reassessed in order to keep receiving their benefits.

But, Scottish ministers have now outlined plans to scrap that requirement.

Scotland’s Adult Disability Payment will replace the UK Government’s Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

A pilot for the new payment will be introduced in Dundee, Perth and Kinross, and the Western Isles, from Monday, March 21.

Those aged between 16 and state pension age who are disabled, have a long-term health condition or a terminal illness, who live in those areas will be able to apply for the payment from that date.

People with ongoing awards of Personal Independence Payment or Disability Living Allowance do not need to apply for Adult Disability Payment.

Their awards will be transferred automatically to Social Security Scotland, starting in August.

They will be written to in advance of their payment transferring.

Ben Macpherson explained that the Scottish Government has engaged with a wide range of people with lived experience of the current benefits system.

“The introduction of indefinite awards, as part of Adult Disability Payment, underlines our commitment to deliver on the principles of Scotland’s social security system to treat people with dignity, fairness and respect,” he said.

“In making this decision, we have engaged with a wide range of people with lived experience of the current system and will continue to listen as we design and build a social security system that works for disabled people.

“We want to ensure that people on the highest levels of Adult Disability Payment awards receive long-term and adequate support, because those with lifelong conditions, or disabilities resulting in needs highly unlikely to change, should not be subject to unnecessary reviews when it is reasonably expected that their situation will not change.”

MacPherson outlined the stress and anxiety that can be caused to disabled people by review periods.

He said: “Under the UK Government’s Personal Independence Payment, similar awards have generally been reviewed between every two to 10 years.

“However, disabled people tell us that even review periods of 10 years can create stress and anxiety.

“That is why we have decided to introduce indefinite awards – we are determined to do things differently and build a more compassionate system in Scotland.”

A DWP spokesperson explained that reviews help to ensure that payments accurately match the needs of claimants.

“We support millions of people every year and our priority is they get the benefits to which they are entitled as soon as possible, and to ensure they receive a supportive and compassionate service,” they said.

“Award rates and durations are based on individual circumstances and needs, and the likelihood of those needs changing.

“For PIP they can vary from nine months to an ongoing award, with a light touch review after ten years.

“Reviews are a key feature of the benefit and ensure that payments accurately match the current needs of claimants.” 

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