Scottish benefit applicants will not face ‘degrading functional examinations’

Scots eligible for disability benefit will not be subject to “degrading functional examinations”, a minister has pledged as applications for the new payment open today.

The Adult Disability Payment replaces the Personal Independence Payment, and is designed to provide financial support to people aged between 16 and state pension age who are disabled, have a long-term health condition or have a terminal illness.

Ben Macpherson, Holyrood’s minister for social security, said the launch was a “significant milestone in the development of our new social security system, that will treat everyone with dignity, fairness and respect”.

Those already receiving the Personal Independence Payment and Disability Living Allowance will be automatically transferred from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to Social Security Scotland.

More than 300,000 Scots receive disability payments, including those living with cancer and other terminal diseases

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“In our Scottish system no-one will be subject to DWP style assessments or degrading functional examinations, and we will never use the private sector to carry out health examinations,” the MSP promised.

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, which is worth between £24.45 and £157.90 per week, will be paid out to more than 300,000 people north of the border once the transfer is completed by the end of 2025.

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The benefit is being launched for applications after pilot schemes in 13 council areas, which began in March.

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 – whether that is through work, education, family life, or simply a life lived without fear of phone calls or letters demanding demanding repeated assessments and sanctions,” she said.

The Adult Disability Payment will be administered through Social Security Scotland and will replace the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which is delivered by the UK government.

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It will be open to people aged between 16 and state pension age, and who are disabled, have a long-term health condition or a terminal illness.

A pilot ran in the Dundee City, Perth and Kinross and Western Isles council areas earlier this year as Social Security Scotland sought to iron out any wrinkles in the system and the transfer of existing recipients from the UK-wide PIP payments benefit.

People with ongoing awards of PIP and Disability Living Allowance do not need to make an application for the Adult Disability Payment, as their awards will transfer to the Scottish social security system automatically from this summer.

It is the 12th benefit to be introduced by the Scottish Government and those in receipt of PIP payments, which are made direct to bank accounts monthly, should find a slight rise in the amount they get.

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More than 300,000 people in Scotland are expected to be receiving PIP when applications for the Adult Disability Payment open nationwide.

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