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

Executive summary

This report details our views on Scottish Adult Disability Living Allowance (Scottish Adult DLA) as per the draft Disability Assistance (Scottish Adult Disability Living Allowance) Regulations 2024. The draft regulations provide for the introduction of Scottish Adult DLA as a closed benefit to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in Scotland, solely for the 66,000 people who are still in receipt of DLA.

Many of the provisions in the draft regulations are broadly the same as the existing regulations for DLA – and this reflects the Scottish Government’s policy of ensuring that awards are transferred in a safe and secure fashion. There are, however, some changes, largely aiming to align the rules with existing rules for other disability benefits in Scotland. This includes the consideration of terminal illness under the Scottish rules, seeking to expedite these cases where a diagnosis has been given during the transfer process. We believe that close monitoring to ensure appropriate handling of these situations may be necessary.

Some clients will have the option to apply for Adult Disability Payment (ADP) if they wish to do so, within two years of transfer to Scottish Adult DLA. Whilst recognising both the risks and potential gains of doing so, stakeholders have expressed some concern about the level of understanding of the significance of this decision and called for tailored advice on this matter to be central. Particular attention should be placed on communicating the risks that are shouldered by individuals and the resulting need for clear messaging shared with charities, advice organisations and independent advocacy bodies of the importance of this decision and its consequences.

Our report also notes a number of technical and drafting issues with the regulations requiring to be addressed ahead of the regulations being presented to the Scottish Parliament.

To understand the views of stakeholders, SCoSS issued a targeted call for evidence with organisations with relevant experience to comment on the draft regulations. Their feedback is represented throughout our response. We would like to publicly recognise the stakeholders’ contributions as invaluable to informing our position.

In addition to this, SCoSS asked a significant number of written questions of officials which received responses to a short timescale. We would like to express our thanks to officials for the detailed responses they have given which have been helpful in improving our understanding of decisions they have made and the policy intention behind the draft regulations.

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