The Disability Assistance for Older People (Scotland) Regulations 2024: scrutiny report

The Scottish Commission on Social Security's scrutiny report on the draft Disability Assistance for Older People (Scotland) Regulations 2024

Executive summary

This report details our views on Pension Age Disability Payment (PADP) as per the draft Disability Assistance for Older People (Scotland) Regulations 2024.

The draft regulations (The Disability Assistance for Older People (Scotland) Regulations 2024) provide for the introduction of PADP which replaces Attendance Allowance (AA) in Scotland. AA aims to provide assistance to contribute towards additional costs incurred by people over State Pension age who have a long-term disability or health condition.

Many of the provisions in the draft regulations are broadly the same as the existing regulations for AA – and this reflects the Scottish Government’s policy of ensuring that AA awards are transferred to PADP in a safe and secure fashion. However, AA was designed at a very different time and context. Although some changes from AA are to be introduced from its launch, SCoSS has recommended that, following case transfer, the Scottish Government should review PADP’s aims for consistency with the social security principles.

Discussions with stakeholder organisations highlighted that benefits designed for older people are often have low take-up and SCoSS recommends that the Scottish Government revisit its take-up strategy to ensure that it takes into account the needs of older people.

SCoSS is concerned about the potential for financial detriment that could be experienced by people who have received Short-term Assistance (STA) during a redetermination or appeal period, won their award back and, because of the STA, lose out on passported benefits for that period. As such, we have recommended that information on STA while challenging a decision includes the possibility of not regaining passported benefits at the end of the process so that people can make an informed decision about whether to apply.

The draft regulations follow the AA position in excluding mobility needs. Whilst SCoSS understands the rationale for not including a mobility component the introduction of PADP presents an opportunity to re-consider the justifications inherited from AA in the context of the social security principles. Noting these concerns, SCoSS believes that the Government should work closely with stakeholders to consider other forms of transport assistance which could be available to older disabled people with mobility needs.

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