Joint call for Scottish Government to improve devolved older age disability payment
Published on 03 November 2023 09:42 AM
A coalition of 15 national charities and organisations coordinated by Age Scotland is calling on the Scottish Government to improve their plans for the new Pension Age Disability Payment by including extra mobility and travel support for recipients. They believe that it would make the system fairer and offer disabled older people a better quality of life.
This extra support, called a mobility component, is available to younger people and people below State Pension age in receipt of disability linked social security such as Personal Independence Payment and Child and Adult Disability Payment, but has not previously been part of the older age equivalent, Attendance Allowance.
Pension Age Disability Payment (PADP) is set to replace Attendance Allowance as a social security benefit in Scotland when it is devolved from next year to Social Security Scotland from the Department for Work and Pensions.
The organisations supporting the call for a mobility component are Age Scotland, Citizens Advice Scotland, The ALLIANCE, Parkinson’s UK Scotland, Inclusion Scotland, Voluntary Health Scotland, Sight Scotland, Sight Scotland Veterans, MS Society Scotland, Disability Equality Scotland, Asthma + Lung UK Scotland, Scottish Women’s Convention, Stroke Association, Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland and Marie Curie.
They believe including a mobility component would help safeguard older people’s independence and participation in society, enhance wellbeing, tackle social isolation and loneliness, and relieve pressure on frontline services, all while combatting poverty and low income challenges.
Attendance Allowance is a much-valued payment which helps many disabled older people with costs and promotes independence. However, although the equivalent disability benefits for children and working age people include a mobility component, Attendance Allowance does not.
A mobility component could potentially give disabled people over State Pension age – who cannot currently get any help through the benefits system with their mobility needs – access to the Motability Scheme, automatic eligibility for a Blue Badge, and the opportunity to apply for an exemption from paying vehicle tax.
The organisations have produced a paper making the case for a mobility component to be included in the new payment and written to the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice urging the Scottish Government to commit to exploring this proposal. The Social Justice and Social Security Committee has also received a copy of the paper.
The paper is available at www.age.scot/FairerPADP.
Age Scotland’s Chief Executive, Katherine Crawford, said:
“Our national helpline regularly hears from older people in receipt of Attendance Allowance looking for information on what is available to support their mobility needs.
“People tell us they feel the current system is deeply unfair, and even ageist, with many unable to access support with their mobility through the benefits system and unsure why they do not qualify for help due to their age.
“Including this component would bring PADP into line with Child Disability Payment, Adult Disability Payment, and DLA – and as such we believe this would align with the stated foundations of the Scottish social security system of dignity, fairness, and respect.
“We believe the Scottish Government can promote fairness and improve the quality of life for older disabled people by including a mobility component within PADP and would strongly urge them to commit to exploring this proposal.”
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Notes to editors:
Case study 1 – Alex
Alex is 79 and receives Attendance Allowance. He continued to work up until the age of 77, but had to retire two years ago due to ill health. Recently, he has been trying to get a Motability vehicle. As there is no mobility component within Attendance Allowance this has not been possible. Alex says he has “been down every avenue” looking for support with his mobility needs. He feels the fact he cannot get a Motability vehicle because he is above State Pension Age is an example of age discrimination. He is frustrated with the current system and thinks it is unfair that because he was not claiming a disability benefit before turning 65, he is not entitled to the same support with his mobility needs. He feels it is unjust that despite working until he was 77, paying taxes and contributing to the economy, he is facing this situation. He thinks something needs to change and has written to his MSP asking them to make representations.
Case study 2 – Alison
Alison had been in receipt of Disability Living Allowance since the early 2000s and had a Motability vehicle through her award. When she was 68, she was reassessed and lost her DLA and Motability vehicle “overnight” in what she describes as a “double whammy” blow. In Alison’s view, Attendance Allowance is unfair as it doesn’t take into account that disabled older people need to be able to leave the house. Alison lives in a small village in the Highlands and she says it can be hard for her to get out and about without her Motability vehicle. Local bus services are infrequent, finish at 17:30, and do not run at weekends. Additionally, buses are not always suitable for wheelchair users – Alison says that if you book in advance, you might be able to get on, but this is not always the case. For Alison, just walking to the bus stop is “like running a marathon” as a result of her arthritis and ME. Even a trip to the shops can be difficult without a Motability vehicle, due to the need to walk to the bus stop, then from the bus stop to the supermarket, around the supermarket, and then having to make the return journey. She attends a writer’s group in the nearest town, but as this takes place in the evening when buses do not run, she has to take a taxi which works out at £30 each way. If Attendance Allowance or PADP had a mobility component, she would be able to use her Motability vehicle for these trips. Alison also points out that many older people need to be able to access a vehicle to get to work or to volunteer. She feels the implicit assumption that people over the State Pension age do not need to get out or socialise is ageist.
List of paper co-signatories:
- Age Scotland
- Citizens Advice Scotland
- Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (The ALLIANCE)
- Parkinson’s UK Scotland
- Inclusion Scotland
- Voluntary Health Scotland
- Sight Scotland
- Sight Scotland Veterans
- MS Society Scotland
- Disability Equality Scotland
- Marie Curie
- Asthma + Lung UK Scotland
- Scottish Women’s Convention
- Stroke Association
- Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland