Disability Assistance for Children and Young People (Scotland) Regulations 2020: scrutiny report

The Scottish Commission on Social Security's scrutiny report on the draft Disability Assistance for Children and Young People (Scotland) Regulations 2020 with recommendations for the Scottish Government.

Consistency and coherence

In our Scrutiny Report on Scottish Child Payment draft regulations, the Commission drew attention to a need to routinely review whether there is scope to increase consistency and coherence across regulations unless there is good reason for differences between them. The same applies to these draft regulations. Below we note some provisions which could be better aligned across social security assistance already in place. Obviously, as important will be consistency across disability assistance regulations yet to come. We suggest that these draft regulations be kept under review as new disability assistance regulations are drafted to avoid needless divergence:

a. CDP regulation 35(1) gives people 42 days to request a redetermination. For Best Start Grant, Funeral Support Payment
and Young Carer Grant, the time limit is 31 days. Having decided to increase the time limit for CDP, there is good reason to bring other social security assistance in line. Claimants and their advisers are often confused by the different time limits that already exist, which risks people missing crucial deadlines.

b. Under CDP regulation 35(1), the 42-day time limit runs from ‘the day after the day on which a statement of determination was issued’. The equivalent Best Start Grant provision has the time limit running from a day ‘the individual is informed in accordance with section 40’ of the Act, which by section 62 of the Act would be 48 hours after the notification is sent.

c. CDP regulation 35(2), which gives the time allowed for Social Security Scotland to make a redetermination, is drafted differently from the equivalent Best Start Grant provision in two respects as follows:

  • Firstly, the Best Start Grant period is expressed in terms of 16 working days while the CDP period refers to 56 calendar
    days. CDP is a more complex benefit than Best Start Grant and it is reasonable that it will take longer to make a fully
    informed decision. However, it seems to be needless complexity to express one time limit in terms of calendar
    days and another in terms of working days.
  • Secondly, the time allowed runs from a later date for Best Start Grant if the request for redetermination is late. This allows time to decide the question of whether the individual had a good reason for the late request. This useful provision has been missed from the CDP regulations.

Recommendation 33: The Scottish Government should improve consistency and coherence across regulations with regard to time limits for redeterminations.

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