Disability benefits roll out delayed due to Covid-19


Our Policy & Campaigns Officer, Rona Johnson looks at how the roll out of new benefits being devolved to Scotland have been delayed due to COVID-19.

In a recent post we discussed new benefits being devolved to Scotland, including Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

The replacement for DLA, to be called Disability Payments for Children and Young People, was due to open for new claims this Summer.

New claims for PIP replacement, Disability Payment for Working Age People, was due to open for new claims at the start of 2021.

The roll out of these benefits have been delayed due to COVID-19.

Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People, said this decision had to be taken as efforts of health care professionals, local authorities, the Scottish Government and the DWP are focussed on responding to the pandemic.

UK Ministers have committed to administering these benefits to people in Scotland over a longer transition period. This means there will be no disruption to payments.

At the moment, no revised timetable has been released. Scottish Child Payment is likely to be prioritised with a view to opening applications at the end of the year with first payments made in early 2021.

The Cabinet Secretary’s full statement can be found here.



Epilepsy Scotland’s response

Epilepsy Scotland’s Chief Executive, Lesslie Young, said: “We are disappointed COVID-19 has delayed the devolution of key disability benefits to Scotland.

“Working closely with the Scottish Government and Social Security Scotland for some time now, we know they are committed to developing a fairer system for all.

“Throughout its development, they have relied on the expertise of senior health professionals and the experience of those who live with disabilities. Incorporating direct lived experience into this new system is essential for it to work for everyone.

“We understand transferring the administration of these benefits in the midst of this pandemic is not possible. Delaying roll out ensures the system will be structured and implemented properly at a time when the Government and the Agency have appropriate resources.

“However, we urge the Scottish Government to do all they can, as soon as they can, to limit the time that people in Scotland are subjected to the system currently run by the DWP, which remains unfit for purpose.”

Please get in touch with our Policy & Campaigns Officer, Rona Johnson by emailing rjohnson@epilepsyscotland.org.uk if you have any questions.