Devolution of two key disability entitlements will be delayed by COVID-19.
The Scottish Government had been preparing for the introduction of disability payments for children and young people, working age people and older people before Summer 2021. In a statement to the Scottish Parliament, however, Cabinet Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP revealed that the timeline would be shifted as a result of the ongoing pandemic.
The Scottish Government, DWP, local authorities and health and social care practitioners – who are all required to develop and deliver these benefits – are currently focused on the response and recovery from COVID-19. As a result, the introduction of Child Disability Payment and the Scottish Government’s replacement for Personal Independence Payments will be delayed. UK Ministers have agreed that they will continue to deliver disability benefits to Scottish clients over a longer transition period.
Scottish Child Payment, which was due to be introduced from this autumn, will also be delayed. The Scottish Government will focus its resources to deliver this as soon as practicably possible. The aim is to start taking applications by the end of 2020 with payments being made from 2021, subject to sufficient staff being in place.
Responding to the change the ALLIANCE’s Chief Executive Professor Ian Welsh OBE said: “It is desperately disappointing that the devolution of disability entitlements will be delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The creation of a new social security system in Scotland requires far greater input from disabled people, people with long term conditions, unpaid carers and those who know them best – including health and social care staff. They are the people most at risk from COVID-19 and those working hardest to prevent its worst impacts.
Reluctantly we agree that the timeline should be delayed if this will allow the Scottish Government ensure that the roll out of new devolved social security entitlements achieves its aims of dignity, fairness and respect.”