Scotland's new Child Disability Payment has been designed to be simple and stress-free – Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP

Families across Scotland have helped shape Child Disability Payment, the new benefit from Social Security Scotland that will replace Disability Living Allowance for Children.

Shirley-Anne Somerville is the Scottish Government’s Social Security Secretary
Shirley-Anne Somerville is the Scottish Government’s Social Security Secretary

The payment to families of children with a disability or long-term health condition is being introduced to better meet the needs of those applying for disability assistance.

We listened to the views of parents and carers from the very early stages and throughout the design of the payment, which will initially be introduced as a pilot across Dundee City, Perth and Kinross, and the Western Isles council areas from 26 July.

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By involving people every step of the way, we learned from the challenges they typically experienced, enabling us to deliver a markedly different benefit system. It will be one that makes people feel they have been treated with dignity, fairness and respect.

Clients coming to us for the first time, including people who have never applied for social security, will benefit from the input of the people who have experience of the current system, including our experience panel members, a group of volunteers who have lived experience of the existing social security system.

Child Disability Payment has a simplified process, making it less time-consuming and taking away the stress by ensuring families receive the level of support they require in the style that suits them best. From having an application form that is clear and easy to use right through to how we make sure someone is still able to access money while they appeal a decision.

This will also be the first time in Scotland that people can apply for a disability benefit online.

In the same way that we expect the NHS to be there to give health and medical support, we should all expect that if a disability or health condition has an impact on our day-to-day lives, a social security system will be there for us too.

After the initial pilot, the new Child Disability Payment will be made available from autumn throughout the country. Families currently receiving Disability Living Allowance for Children from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will start to have their benefit transferred to the Scottish system later in the year.

Individuals whose benefits are being transferred will not have to apply for Child Disability Payment. They will be paid at the same rates and at the same time as their existing Disability Living Allowance.

In the months and years ahead, it will become increasingly clear that Child Disability Payment, along with the other benefits administered by Scotland’s social security system, is designed with the needs of the people of Scotland at its heart.

Shirley-Anne Somerville is the Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and SNP MSP for Dunfermline

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