Our policy on indefinite awards will avoid unnecessary reviews for severely disabled people who have needs that are highly unlikely to change. The approach will provide dignity, be proportionate to people’s needs and provide the security of long-term financial support. Our approach is supported by disabled people.
The decision-making process for adult disability payment will be person-centred and compassionate, to meet the needs of individuals. The number of awards will therefore depend on the circumstances of the people who apply. The Scottish Fiscal Commission is responsible for forecasting adult disability payment, and our policy on indefinite awards will be part of its next forecast.
I am slightly surprised by the minister’s answer. I asked only for an estimate, so a rough idea would have been helpful.
If the payment is indefinite, how will an individual who applies and gets a lower rate be able to have it reviewed? Their condition might get worse, although they might not know that. Will the new social security system allow for the department to do reviews so that it can benefit the claimant and not take away from them?
I presume that there is implicit praise for the Scottish Government from Mr Balfour on this issue, as there has been from across the United Kingdom. He makes some important points, and I would be happy to have further discussion with him on them.
We are in the launch period of the adult disability payment; we will then undertake case transfer. People can apply during the first phase of the adult disability payment pilot for indefinite awards; then, as part of the case transfer process, when they are reviewed after they have been transferred, they will be able to apply for an indefinite award. We are making awards only at the higher rate at the point of transfer, but we continue to engage with stakeholders on potential indefinite awards for those on the lower rate in due course. That is a further consideration.
In addition—this is an important point—we are cognisant of Mr Balfour’s point that, if someone feels that their condition has changed, they should be able to provoke a review to seek more support if they think that they are eligible for it. Those issues are all being considered, as they should be, and I would be happy to discuss them further with Mr Balfour.
I register an interest as someone who is in receipt of personal independence payment.
The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Chloe Smith, has confirmed that it will be for the Department for Work and Pensions to determine who is eligible for passported benefits should the Scottish Government wish to implement different eligibility for adult disability payment, and she has asked for notice of intention around that. Will the minister confirm whether it is his intention to change eligibility for adult disability payment, including getting rid of the 20m rule? Has he indicated such to the DWP?
That is not entirely relevant to the question about indefinite awards. Ms Duncan-Glancy is aware of the engagement that we have had with the committee and the UK Government on adult disability payment and the eligibility criteria for it. As she knows, we have committed to starting a review of adult disability payment later this year and into next year, and eligibility criteria will be assessed as part of that. We will consider matters, including passporting, going forward from there.