In Scotland, over one million individuals of State Pension age are looking forward to claiming two newly developed benefits that are poised to kickstart before the year comes to an end. These benefits come in the form of the Pension Age Winter Heating Payment (PAWHP), which can provide up to £300 per qualified individual, and are designed to take the place of the existing annual Winter Fuel Payment, originally introduced by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

With the advent of PAWHP, the residents of Scotland who have already proved eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment will continue to receive identical levels of support, but such payments will now be handled by Social Security Scotland. As stated by the Scottish Government, these payments will persistently be provided tax-free and without testing for means.

Although the payment guidance for PAWHP still needs to be finalised, the indications from a recent consultation have hinted that the amount one receives will hinge on their age and the current circumstances of their household. The proposed payment scales for individuals are £100, £150, £200 or £300, which means a common household, consisting of two people, could generally accumulate £200 or £300 in total. As for payment rates, examples can be located at relevant official sites.

Pension Age Disability Payment

The Pension Age Disability Payment is set to take over for Attendance Allowance within a phased launch, which will start during the autumn of 2024 for new beneficiaries, and eventually expand across the country in Spring 2025.

For this benefit, eligibility and payment scales will remain in line with those previously outlined by the DWP. Currently, the Pension Age Disability Payment comes to either £72.65 or £108.55 each week, which totals up to £290.60 or £434.20 across every four-week pay period. The chief purpose of the benefit is to aid the elderly who have extra daily living costs, thus, allowing them to remain longer in their homes.

The numbers show that approximately 140,716 people in Scotland who currently receive Attendance Allowance from the DWP will not have to apply for the fresh benefit. Over time, it has been planned that they will be transferred in stages to the IT system of Social Security Scotland.

When it comes to Pension Age Disability Payment entitlements, Social Security Scotland has made it public that their decisions will rely on the account given by the applicant regarding their circumstances, in addition to any supporting information supplied.

No face-to-face assessments will hold place, but the supporting information could include things such as:

  • an evaluation from an occupational therapist
  • a report produced by a district nurse
  • information provided by a partner

Furthermore, Social Security Scotland has stated that it will take on the responsibility of gathering data when needed, from a variety of sources suggested by the individual themselves.

Eligibility for Pension Age Disability Payment

The benefit will be provided for people who fulfil the following criteria:

  • People who have reached State Pension age and above
  • People whose condition is at least six months old
  • People who are in need of extra care

According to official guidance from Gov.Scot, it is expected that the eligibility rules for Pension Age Disability Payment will bear great resemblance to those of Attendance Allowance.

It is also suggested: “It is our aim to retain all forms of disability assistance at the same rate as the current UK equivalent of disability benefits. Accompanied by a rise in line with inflation each year.”

This migration process implemented by DWP for the individuals covered by Attendance Allowance, along with those who receive Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Carer's Allowance, will in total result in about 700,000 people in Scotland transitioning to the new welfare system of the country by the end of 2025.”

Below, you can discover a summary of what we have gathered so far when it comes to the Pension Age Disability Payment. If you are in quick need of assistance, please get in touch with DWP directly. Complete details about Attendance Allowance can be found on GOV.UK right here.

A man and woman are sitting looking at a computer screen smiling
The Pension Age Winter Heating Payment and Pension Age Disability Payment are only available to those residing in Glasgow and the rest of Scotland.
(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Pension Age Disability Payment

Beneficiaries already receiving Attendance Allowance in Scotland will find that their transition to the upcoming system will be automatic, hence there is no need for them to apply for the newly introduced benefit. It should be noted that individuals currently receiving the financial assistance in England and Wales will not be subjected to the change and will continue to accept regular payments from the DWP.

When will Pension Age Disability Payment replace Attendance Allowance?

While Social Security Scotland is yet to lay out a specific timeline for the rollout of Pension Age Disability Payment, it is known that the pilot scheme will initiate in the Autumn of 2024 and be fully launched by early 2025.

Once the fresh benefit has been put into place, the existing claimants who obtain Attendance Allowance currently will be moved gradually into the reformed system in stages.

Who will be eligible to make a claim for the Pension Age Disability Payment?

The eligibility rules for the Pension Age Disability Payment are presumed to strongly resemble those of Attendance Allowance. This benefit will be aimed at people who are of State Pension age or above, who have had their condition for no less than six months and are in need of additional care.

How will claims be assessed?

In order to determine the eligibility for the Pension Age Disability Payment, Social Security Scotland will review the applicant’s account of their circumstances and any supporting information provided.

It should be noted, as the applicant, you will not have to undergo any face-to-face assessments during the course of the application process.

Guidance concerning the newly reformed disability benefits on GOV.SCOT clarifies: "We are simplifying the application process to the maximum extent to help and encourage individuals to apply for the payments they are entitled to. The application process for disability assistance should be inclusive, accessible, provided in multiple formats and extended through various routes (online, phone, post and in-person).

Payment rates for Pension Age Disability Payment

The Pension Age Disability Payment will be provided by Social Security Scotland at the same weekly scale as that of Attendance Allowance. Currently, the same extension is also happening for the Child Disability Payment and Adult Disability Payment, which were developed by the region.

The existing weekly payment rates for Attendance Allowance include:

  • Lower rate – £72.65

  • Higher rate – £108.55

How do I apply for the Pension Age Disability Payment?

At this point in time, applications for the new disability assistance benefit are not yet open.

For those who are over State Pension age and possess a disability that requires them to seek assistance with their self-care, or supervision for safety purposes, it is advised that you continue to apply for the Attendance Allowance via the DWP.

For the latest updates on the new Disability Assistance being introduced by Social Security Scotland, please visit the official website by clicking here.