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The new Adult Disability Payment, which is replacing the current Personal Independence Payment (PIP) benefit system, will open for applications in three pilot areas from 21 March 2022, the Scottish Government has confirmed.

Legislation unanimously approved by the Scottish Parliament means that working-age disabled people, those with a long-term health condition and people who have a terminal illness should apply for disability assistance to the new Scottish system.

Applications will open first for those living in Dundee City, Perth and Kinross and the Western Isles council areas.

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This payment will be the twelfth to be delivered by the Scottish Government and will replace PIP, which is currently delivered by the UK Government’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Adults of working age with a disability or health condition, who are not already in receipt of PIP or Disability Living Allowance (DLA), and living in the pilot areas, will be the first to be able to apply.

Further council areas will be introduced in phases until Adult Disability Payment rolls out nationwide on 29 August.

People already receiving DWP payments will not need to apply for Adult Disability Payment, the government has confirmed. Their awards will transfer to the Scottish social security system automatically, beginning in August.

This will be done safely and securely so that people will still get the same amount of money, to the same account, according to the government. The date of their first payment will be confirmed in writing before they transfer.

Minister for Social Security Ben Macpherson said: “The unanimous passing of the regulations for Adult Disability Payment is a significant milestone for Scotland’s social security system. It means we can now take a very different approach to delivering disability benefits – in comparison to the current DWP system – and our focus is on providing a positive and compassionate experience for people applying for and receiving our new benefit.

“We know people have found applying for DWP disability benefits stressful in the past. That is why we have listened to their experiences and designed our new system to work for people, not against them. We are committed to doing things differently – we are ensuring that accessing Adult Disability Payment is as straightforward as possible and we will always start from a position of trust.”

A new definition of terminal illness has been introduced to the Adult Disability Payment, removing the time requirement that a person must reasonably be expected to die within six months and instead using the clinical judgement of doctors and registered nurses involved in the individual’s care.

Ben continued: “Importantly, we have abolished assessments in the form currently undertaken by the DWP. Instead, and only where required, we will hold consultations between the person and a Social Security Scotland health or social care practitioner. Our consultations will not involve functional examinations.

“To ensure we don’t create a two tiered system as we complete safe and secure transfer, we are largely keeping the eligibility criteria for Adult Disability Payment the same, ahead of a two stage independent review of Adult Disability Benefit. This review will begin later in the year, to consider what further changes and improvements could, and should, be made in the future.”

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