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The Scottish Government’s next benefit, Adult Disability Payment (ADP), will open for new applications in pilot areas from 21 March 2022.

Nearly one year on from seeking views on the new disability benefit, the Scottish Government has confirmed that applications will be open in select areas from March 2022.

This new payment, to be administered by Social Security Scotland, will replace Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA), which are currently delivered by the UK Government’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

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One key difference of ADP, in contrast to the current PIP disability benefit system, will be that all disability awards will be made on a rolling basis, with no set date for an award ending. In cases where there it is unlikely that a client’s condition will improve, there will be at least five years between Light-Touch reviews, the government said at the beginning of this year.

Adults of working age with a disability or health condition, who are not already in receipt of PIP or DLA, and living in Dundee City, Perth and Kinross and the Western Isles local authority areas, will be the first to be able to apply from this date. Further council areas will be introduced in phases until Adult Disability Payment rolls out nationwide from August 2022.

Individuals with ongoing awards of PIP or DLA do not need to apply for Adult Disability Payment. Their awards will be transferred automatically to the new Scottish system from August 2022, with no break in entitlement or payment, the government outlines.

Legislation to introduce the new benefit was laid before the Scottish Parliament on 17 December 2021.

Minister for Social Security Ben Macpherson said: “Adult Disability Payment will be the twelfth Scottish benefit to be delivered by the Scottish Government, since we gained limited powers over social security and created Social Security Scotland in 2018. Adult Disability Payment will also be the most complex and largescale Scottish benefit yet, reaching up to a forecasted 339,000 people once the entitlements of all Scottish PIP and DLA recipients are transferred from the DWP.

“We know people have found applying for DWP disability benefits stressful in the past. That is why we have listened to their experiences as we have designed our new system, and we are committed to doing things differently.

“We are introducing an improved application process and, in contrast to the DWP system, we are removing the burden from individuals to provide supporting information, so that the onus will instead be on Social Security Scotland to collect the information we require. Our new, person-centred decision making process will ensure everyone is treated with dignity, fairness and respect.

“Importantly, we have abolished assessments in the form currently undertaken by the DWP. Instead, and only where required, we will hold person-centred consultations between the person and a Social Security Scotland health or social care practitioner, starting from a position of trust. Our consultations will not involve functional examinations.”

Ben added that the Adult Disability Payment system will follow the judgement of clinicians about the definition of terminal illness. Under the current PIP system, terminal illness is defined as when an individual has been advised by a healthcare professional that they might have less than six months to live. ADP is moving away from this definition being tied to fixed periods of life expectancy.

“From the outset, the eligibility criteria for ADP applicants will remain mostly the same as existing DWP disability benefits, as will payment values for awards, so that we do not create a two-tier system with varying rules whilst Scottish PIP and DLA recipients are transferred to Social Security Scotland,” continued Ben.

“We are committed to undertaking an independent review of ADP within a year of its full introduction, to consider the eligibility criteria, gather feedback from people who’ve applied and collect data to inform any proposed changes.

“We have also worked with people with lived experience and relevant organisations to develop all aspects of the application process, and make it easy and inclusive for people to access support they are entitled to.”

Adult Disability Payment applications can be done online, via post, over the phone or face-to-face.

Ben finished: “People in Scotland with existing DWP awards do not need to be concerned about reapplying or going through an application process again. They will be transferred automatically to Social Security Scotland and we will write in advance, so people know what to expect. Our focus on safe and secure delivery will ensure that everyone continues to get the payments they receive, when they expect to.”

For further details about the phased rollout of ADP in Scotland from March 2022 onwards, click here 

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