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Disabled sixteen-year-olds no longer need to apply for PIP

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Disabled sixteen-year-olds no longer need to apply for PIP

The Scottish Government is using newly devolved benefits powers to remove the need for children to take part in disability assessments before their 16th birthdays

Sixteen-year-olds will no longer need to apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) to continue receiving disability benefit, the Scottish Government has announced.

The Scottish Government is using newly devolved benefits powers to remove the need for children to take part in disability assessments before their 16th birthdays.

Instead, eligible young people will be able to continue getting the Disability Living Allowance child payment up to the age of 18.

This removes the need for 15-year-olds to do a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) assessment in the months before their 16th birthday, as is currently the case.

The change comes in to action on 1 April, when further welfare powers are transferred from Westminster to Holyrood.

Parents can expect to receive information from the DWP on the changes from 2 March.

Sixteen-year-olds will still be able to apply for PIP if they want to until 2021 when the Scottish Government launches its version of PIP.

Social Security Secretary Shirley Anne Somerville said: “We know from people like June Jamieson, a parent who has had direct experience of the current system, that making the transition from child to adult services can be a challenging time for their child and family.

“Adding to this, young people may be going through changes in a number of other areas of their life at the same time. We’ve also been told that the fact that this transition is to PIP creates even more stress and anxiety.

“This is why we are using our new social security powers to extend the eligibility, ease the pressure on families and make sure young people in Scotland have adequate time to move from children to adult social security support.

“Our priority for people already getting this support from the DWP is to move them over in a safe and secure way and make sure that people get the financial support they expect, when and where they expect it.”

Jamieson, from Edinburgh, has recently applied for PIP for her son Alex, who turned 16 in January. She said: “So many things are happening in a child with additional needs life when they turn 16,  for example they need to think if they are staying on at school, and parents may need to apply for guardianship.

“It will really take the pressure off lots of other families not to have to worry about this.

“Although Alex won’t benefit from the changes I am really pleased that other people will. I have the fear of the unknown waiting to hear the outcome of his PIP application.”

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