Scottish Government to introduce Child Disability Payment next summer

Child Disability Payment

Coming hot on the heels of the introduction of the Scottish Child Payment, from February next year, the Scottish Government will introduce the Child Disability Payment as of the summer of 2021.

Cabinet Secretary for Social Security, Shirley-Anne Somerville, last week addressed the Scottish Parliament, saying that applications will be taken from the summer as part of a pilot of the scheme, with a full roll-out beginning in the autumn of 2021.

The Adult Disability Payment will then follow in the spring of 2022.

Devolution of benefit payments in Scotland

The Child Disability Payment will replace the existing Disability Living Allowance – currently supplied by the Department for Work and Pensions, in Westminster, in another example of Holyrood gaining more devolved control of how Scottish people are governed and receive benefits.

Adult Disability Payments will also replace the current Personal Independence Payment.

The transfer of people who already receive these benefits from the UK Government will be completed in stages, once the new Scottish benefits are introduced. The full transfer of all people from the UK benefits to the new, Scottish system is expected to be completed by 2025.

Additionally, once the Adult Disability Payment is rolled out, anyone that receives PIP or the Working Age Disability Living Allowance, from the DWP, and reports a change in condition, has an upcoming review date, or is about to reach the end of their DWP award period, will automatically be transferred from the DWP to Social Security Scotland, so they don’t need to undergo the DWP’s face to face assessment.

Scottish Child Payment

In the same speech, Shirley-Anne Somerville also verified Social Security Scotland’s ambition to extend the Scottish Child Payment to include all children under 16 by the end of 2022 – subject to receiving the data for 6-16 year olds from the DWP.

Regarding the news of yet more benefits powers being devolved to the Scottish Government, the Cabinet Secretary said:

“I am pleased we have been able to make progress this year with our work to establish a new social security system for Scotland, despite the impacts of COVID-19. Our progress includes the introduction of three new benefits. Our Job Start Payment helps young people starting a new job after a period of unemployment. Child Winter Heating Assistance will help families of the most seriously disabled children and young people heat their homes. And through our prioritising of the game-changing Scottish Child Payment, we were able to start taking applications for children under 6 last week.

“Ahead of COVID-19 we were on track with our other new benefits too. However, the pandemic halted that. There was a limit to what we could do given the changes to our own operations and without the valuable input from delivery partners. We were forced to review our timeline for the introduction of these more complex benefits. Given how close we were to introducing the first of our major disability assistance payments, this is of course hugely disappointing to me. I know that feeling will be shared by others.

“It is clear that while the fight against this virus continues, work needs to be re-prioritised by both the Scottish Government and our partners to focus on the response and recovery. Health and social care professionals – whose expertise we need to deliver disability benefits – are rightly working on the frontline to both fight this virus and restart health services. Councils are concentrating on maintaining services, while providing the additional support people need right now. The Department for Work and Pensions, who are essential partners in the work on the transfer of benefits, face similar challenges.

“Working with these partners we have developed as ambitious a timeline as possible, while remaining cognisant that COVID-19 is still here – indeed we remain in the grip of it. The new timeline I have set out today is reasonable and realistic. 

“I am glad that I am now able to provide people with more clarity. Being transparent about our plans and what is achievable is part of ensuring our social security system continues to treat people with dignity, fairness and respect.”

You can read the full speech here.

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