The Disability Assistance (Scottish Adult Disability Living Allowance) Regulations 2024: scrutiny report

The Scottish Commission on Social Security's scrutiny report on the draft Disability Assistance (Scottish Adult Disability Living Allowance) Regulations 2024

5. Communications

Throughout this report we have noted the complexity of the transfer process between DLA and Scottish Adult DLA and the circumstances surrounding transfer of some cases to ADP. This demands a priority be placed upon clear communication with clients, advice agencies and independent advisers about the new rules and their role in ensuring others understand the likely outcomes.

In response to SCoSS questions on this matter, the Scottish Government said:

“We will formally notify each relevant individual of our intention to transfer their entitlement from DLA to Scottish Adult DLA by sending them a transfer notice… this informs people that their award has been selected for transfer from DLA to Scottish Adult DLA, explains what case transfer is, and how long the transfer should take.”1Scottish Government response to SCoSS question, received 20 May 2024

Alongside this, the Scottish Government will provide information on the case transfer process through, raise awareness through media and social media channels and marketing resources, as well as holding launch roadshows.

For many clients their entitlement to DLA has remained constant for some time, despite the wider changes to disability benefits in the intervening period.  As expressed in the Scottish Government’s Equality Impact Assessment, their continued receipt of DLA may signal some concern on their part about the differences in rules between new benefits, which has caused them not to transfer previously.

Recent SCoSS engagement with clients who are moving at different paces through the PIP to ADP case transfer process has highlighted some confusion as to the different timelines that people are being transferred at and requests for further information as to when they will be moved on to the new benefit. The Scottish Government noted, in response to SCoSS questions, that:

“DLA awards will be selected for transfer to Scottish Adult DLA where there is a Scottish postcode as part of the DLA record, and awards will be selected randomly but in agreed volumes, so this process can be monitored.”2Scottish Government response to SCoSS question, received 3 May 2024

We have received feedback in the course of our wider charter research that in some circumstances, particularly for couples who are both in receipt of disability benefits, these differences in timelines can be confusing. Particular care should be taken to communicate the reasons why this is the preferred approach and that people should expect changes to happen at different times.

There is a significant proportion of the adults in receipt of DLA in Scotland who are people with learning disabilities (9%)3Scottish Government response to SCoSS question, received 3 May 2024 and who are, therefore, more likely to require tailored messaging and support from advisers and independent advocates to consider their options.

ENABLE noted, in response to our call for evidence, that “while some claimants with a learning disability would be likely to be worse off on the Adult Disability Payment, there are a greater number who would be likely to see an increase in entitlement.” 4ENABLE response to SCoSS call for evidence, received 21 May 2024 This strengthens the requirement for clear advice and support to this group to ensure that they can make informed choices, particularly where choosing to move to ADP.

In these circumstances, stakeholders have highlighted that there is a risk of people choosing to move to ADP because of a positive perception of Social Security Scotland. This may cause them to decide to move to ADP when it could result in a worse outcome.

“…in general terms, ADP is viewed positively when compared to PIP due to the more collegiate approach Social Security Scotland adopts in comparison to the DWP. This may result in people wanting to make this change without fully understanding the impact that this may have.”

Given the possible consequences of this decision, we would like to see clear messaging shared with charities, advice organisations and independent advocacy bodies of the importance of this decision and its consequences. Recommendations are included throughout this report on the importance of clear communication (with particular emphasis in section 1.2.2 on the social security principles and section 3.3.1 on the option to transfer to ADP).

Recommendation 6: The Scottish Government should work with a range of stakeholders to develop inclusive communications to both the ‘working age’ and ‘65+ groups’ transferring to Scottish Adult DLA to ensure that information about case transfer, entitlement and access to advice and advocacy is tailored as far as possible to individual circumstances.

Back to top Skip to content