A new benefit system aimed at providing financial support to those who are disabled, have a long-term health condition or have a terminal illness has been rolled out across Scotland for the first time.
The Adult Disability Payment replaces the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) to mark the full devolution of the payment for new claimants from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
Social Security Scotland will now take charge of the system, which has been launched for new applications after pilot schemes in 13 council areas.
The process of transferring more than 300,000 existing PIP claimants from the (DWP) began in mid-June and is expected to be completed by summer 2024.
Those already receiving PIP do not need to apply for the new benefit and will not see any lapses or delays while the changeover is ongoing.
Ben Macpherson, Holyrood’s minister for social security, said the launch was a “significant milestone” in the introduction of a system designed to “treat everyone with dignity, fairness and respect”.
He added “degrading functional examinations” carried out by private healthcare companies were “a thing of the past”.
Macpherson said: “People will only be invited to a consultation on occasions when we require more information so we can make a decision.
“This will be a conversation with a health and social care professional to understand how a person’s disability or health condition impacts them.”
The benefit is worth between £24.45 and £157.90 per week to claimants and boast the same eligibility and payment rates as the current PIP structure.
Moira Tasker, chief executive of Inclusion Scotland, described the benefit as a “leap forward”.
“It has the potential to enable disabled people and Scots with long-term health conditions to participate in their communities and wider Scottish society,” she said.
“Whether that is through work, education, family life, or simply a life lived without fear of phone calls or letters demanding repeated assessments and sanctions.”