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New system to offer short term assistance to those challenging disability benefit decisions

By David Porter

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People challenging disability benefit decisions will be able to claim a new Short Term Assistance payment under Scotland’s new social security system.

Short Term Assistance will mean people continue to receive the amount of money they were getting before the decision was made to lower or stop their payment.

To ensure people are not put off seeking an appeal or re-determination, they will not have to repay Short Term Assistance if the re-determination or appeal upholds the decision to lower or stop their social security payment.

This is a first for benefit delivery in the UK and it will be introduced alongside Child Disability Payment, the Scottish Government’s replacement for Disability Living Allowance for Children.

Shirley Anne-Somerville.
Shirley Anne-Somerville.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “People’s lives are complex and making benefit decisions, which take into consideration a whole range of unique circumstances, is difficult.

"Social Security Scotland will gather as much information as we can, working with the applicant, the wider public sector and health and social care professionals to make the right decision first time.

"However, we know that we won’t always get it right and where we don’t, we want people to feel able to challenge us to look again.

“This is why we are introducing Short Term Assistance.

"We know that it can be difficult for people who rely on disability assistance when their payment has been reduced or stopped.

"The decision to ask for a re-determination or appeal can be daunting.

"This new payment will give people the confidence to ask us to look again and to go to appeal if they feel they need to, ensuring they get everything they may be entitled while working through this process.

“We hope to drastically reduce the need for people to go through the re-determination and appeal process under our new system by getting the decisions right first time.

"Where we don’t get it right though, we will give people who rely on this service the opportunity to right this wrong, without being penalised.”

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