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CAS calls for end to 20 metre rule in new disability payments

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has welcomed encouraging changes from the Scottish Government around adult disability payments, but is urging the government to go further to improve the payment for more disabled people by scrapping the 20 metre rule.

The Scottish Government’s response to the consultation on the Adult Disability Payment draft regulations has been published today and marks a further step in the process of the devolution of disability benefits to Scotland.,

From next year, disabled adults in Scotland will be eligible for the Adult Disability Payment through Social Security Scotland, instead of Personal Independence Payments (PIP) through the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

In a welcome move, the Scottish Government confirmed work remained underway to establish how lifelong awards could be introduced for people with certain conditions.

Currently, under PIP, even those with progressive and lifelong conditions have to go through award reviews and reassessments.

The Scottish Government has also committed to reducing the length of time someone must have been in Scotland to six of the past 12 months to be eligible for disability support. The current rules mean that someone has to be resident in Scotland for two of the past three years.

However, the 20 metre walking rule remains unchanged in the latest proposals. This rule means that disabled people who can walk just over 20 metres are denied access to enhanced mobility support.

CAS Senior Policy Officer, Debbie Horne, said:

“The devolution of disability social security is an opportunity to learn from the problems that exist in the current system.

“We welcome the changes made to ensure more disabled people living in Scotland will meet residency rules and be able to access support.

“However, we would urge the Government to go further, and scrap the 20-metre rule, which currently means that disabled people who can walk just over 20 metres are denied access to enhanced mobility support.

“We also urge the government to make a firm commitment that they will introduce lifetime awards for people living with a progressive or lifelong disability.  There’s no reason why a person with a progressive or lifelong disability has to undergo award reviews and reassessment when they are already entitled to the highest level of support.

“Further changes are necessary to learn from disabled people’s experiences of PIP and make the payment work for more disabled people.”

You can view CAS’ consultation response from March 2021 here.