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Group of people outside the Scottish Parliament holiding signs about ending the PIP 20 metre rule

Have your say on the Scottish Government’s replacement for PIP

Keith Park

Over the past few years the Scottish Government have been engaging with people across the country as it prepares to roll out Adult Disability Payments (ADP). This is the Scottish government’s replacement for PIP (Personal Independence Payment).

Throughout, the MS community have been involved in sharing your experience of the benefits system in an effort to make welfare make sense.

You’ve given evidence to parliamentary committees, campaigned at Holyrood, shared your views at experience panels alongside people with other neurological conditions, and helped us feedback to government consultations.

Having worked through all these stages of consultation, the Scottish Government have now published their draft Disability Assistance regulations for consultation. The Government have said they intend the regulations to be person centred and to reflect the principles of dignity, fairness and respect.

What’s changing?

In our engagement with the Scottish Government, we’ve consistently highlighted areas that you’ve said need to improve when ADP is rolled out. We’re pleased that the draft regulations address many concerns people living with MS have about PIP. Changes include:

  • all awards will be made on a rolling basis
  • where a person’s condition is unlikely to improve there will be at least 5 years between ‘light-touch reviews’
  • there will be no functional assessments. This means you’ll no longer be asked to carry out physical tasks to support your claim
  • you’ll be able to apply for ADP on multiple channels (including paper, online and telephone applications) depending on what is best suited to your needs and preferences. If you’re applying online you’ll be able to save your application numerous times so you can take a break
  • if you want to appeal the result of your application you’ll have more time to do so
  • a consultation (a discussion to gather further information) will only take place when it’s believed to be the only way to gather the information needed to make a decision. In the majority of cases the supporting information you provide with your application will be used to make the decision
  • consultations will be carried out by people who are ‘suitably qualified’. They can take place by phone, video consultation or face to face, removing the need for people to travel unnecessarily

We welcome these changes. Thank you to everyone in the MS community who shared their thoughts and experiences with us on how to improve disability assistance in Scotland.

What’s not changing?

We’re really disappointed the Scottish Government have decided to adopt the same rules and eligibility criteria as PIP for the new Adult Disability Payment. This means they’ve failed to change the 20 metre rule.

The 20 metre rule means if you can walk one step over 20 metres, you won’t receive the higher rate of mobility component. Under PIP, the 20 metre rule has failed people living with MS, and as a result many people have lost vital financial support and their independence.

This senseless and arbitrary measure of mobility fails to take into account fluctuating conditions like MS and the impact invisible symptoms like fatigue can have on a person’s mobility.

The Scottish Government have said making any changes to the assessment framework will risk the safe and secure transition of payments from the UK’s Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to Social Security Scotland. They believe the changes to the application and assessment process will make sure the system better meets the needs of the people of Scotland.

In 2023, the Government have committed to an independent review of Adult Disability Payment to address the rules and eligibility criteria in the longer term. This review will use feedback from people who’ve been receiving payments to inform its recommendations and will look at all aspects of ADP.

Have your say

As a community we have the opportunity to say what we think of the draft plans by submitting a response to the consultation. Can you share your views and experiences with us?

Read the consultation in full 

The main questions we’d like you to consider are:

  • Does the 20 metre rule need to be changed now?
  • Do the changes to the assessment and application process go far enough to lessen the impact of the 20 metre rule?
  • Is the commitment to review Adult Disability Payment in its entirety, including the assessment framework and the 20 metre rule, in 2023 enough - given its impact on people living with MS in the short term?
  • The Scottish Government wants to develop a system based on the principles of dignity, fairness and respect which is person centred. Are the proposed changes enough to achieve this goal?

You can send us your views by email, phone call or in a group discussion with others. Get in touch with us at [email protected] or call 07554 116 108.

Thank you.