Scotland

Call to halt new disability benefit rollout in Scotland

A person in a wheelchair Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Changing the benefit twice in two years would be of "major detriment to claimants" according to CAS

Moving disabled Scots on to new benefits before control of the payments are transferred to Holyrood would be a "waste of time and money", according to Citizens Advice Scotland.

CAS wants the UK government to halt the introduction of Personal Independence Payments (PIP) which replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

The PIP system was introduced as part of wider reforms to the welfare system.

The Smith Commission proposed control of this benefit be devolved.

'Waste of resources'

CAS has argued that Scottish claimants would be switched to the new system now, only to be moved again in two years' time when control over the benefit is handed to the Scottish government.

It warned this could lead to delays and uncertainty.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) began a rollout of the PIP in Scotland in January 2014.

CAS chief executive Margaret Lynch said: "As we know that the Scottish government will be developing and introducing its own PIP equivalent, we don't want to see disabled claimants having to go through changes in their payments twice in a short period of time.

"I think this will be of major detriment to claimants and is unnecessary and possibly very distressing.

"In addition it seems a waste of resources to pay for the assessments of tens of thousands of disabled people to transfer them on to a system that they will not be staying on. "

Ms Lynch has written to Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith urging them to halt the introduction of PIP in Scotland.

However, a DWP spokesman said: "Under the Personal Independence Payment, claimants receive a face-to-face assessment and regular reviews to ensure support is directed according to need.

"Latest figures show just that, with over 22% of people getting the highest level of support under PIP, compared to 16% under the outgoing DLA system.

"To halt this progress now would be to disadvantage disabled people across Scotland."

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