You are here

Good riddance to PIP - but Scotland's new disability benefit is not perfect

by Stephanie Millar, CAS policy manager (Social Justice team).

This article was first published in the Herald on 29 August 2022.

Today sees the full rollout in Scotland of the Adult Disability Payment – the replacement for Personal Independence Payment (PIP). For claimants and advisers it feels like a momentous moment - no more new claims for PIP. I feel I need to say that again, to take it in. No more new PIP claims in Scotland! And over the next couple of years people already on PIP will be transferred to ADP meaning that by 2025 no disabled people in Scotland will be on PIP.

Why is this so significant? Well, I don’t want to dwell too much on PIP and the problems with the claiming and decision making process, but reflecting on it a little will show why I’m relieved at its demise.

Disabled people generally need to spend more money than others, just to live their lives. e.g. for specialist equipment, help with daily living or to access a car or additional transport. This extra cost averages at around £500 per month but in some cases is in excess of £1,000. PIP, and now ADP, are intended to help cover some of these costs. So it’s an essential benefit for disabled people.

Despite this however, many felt that the PIP application process was difficult and stressful. People had to go through medical assessments that some described as de-humanising and which often didn’t provide any additional information above what had already been provided by the claimant and their medical professionals. Saying goodbye to this will be a relief for many.

ADP has been designed to be a person-centred process, limiting what the claimant needs to source and provide. So a key difference is that people no longer need to tie themselves in knots collecting, and often paying for, additional medical information to support their claim. This removes a huge burden from the claimant, as Social Security Scotland will take the information provided and collect the additional information itself. And as all evidence will be treated equally, information from family or carers is given the same weight as that of a medical professional.

The second major difference is that medical assessments will be used as a last resort and only if a decision can’t be made on the evidence gathered. And they will be carried out by people with knowledge and experience of the claimant’s specific health conditions.

CAS is monitoring the rollout, and of course anyone who is having problems with ADP can get free, confidential and impartial help from the CAB network. We will feed our information to Social Security Scotland to ensure ADP works as well as intended.

Having said all of that, I wouldn’t be doing my job properly if I didn’t say that there are some concerns over ADP. While the decision-making process is a world away from that of PIP, ADP has been designed using the same rules for claiming that PIP has. So there are fears that people with fluctuating conditions, such as Multiple Sclerosis and mental health conditions, will continue to find that ADP isn’t flexible enough to accommodate their support needs. If ADP is to truly be the supportive benefit it is intended to be, these rules also need to change.

Did I mention there will be no more new claims for PIP?