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Short-term Assistance (Scotland) - help or hindrance?

Short-term Assistance is a payment someone can get in Scotland if their Child or Adult Disability Payment has been reduced or stopped and they’ve asked for that decision to be looked at again.

It doesn't need to be paid back - whatever the outcome of that challenge i.e., even if Social Security Scotland or the First-tier Tribunal (Social Security Chamber) decides not to change the decision to reduce or stop the disability payment. 

BUT Short-term Assistance is not a passporting benefit to any other entitlements. 

More information here.

 

Risks of asking for Short Term Assistance

CDP and ADP are 'Disability Assistance' paid under s31 of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018, while "Short-term Assistance" is a payment made under s36. Any entitlements that rely on disability assistance being in place will not be paid if Short-term Assistance is paid instead.

This means that payment of Short-term Assistance will prevent some claimants from receiving arrears of other benefits following a successful challenge.

 

Who could miss out?

If the outcome of the redetermination or appeal is that entitlement to CDP/ADP is the same or less than before it was stopped or reduced, then for the periods where Short-term Assistance was paid there will be no further entitlement to arrears of CDP/ADP.

As the Short-term Assistance prevents ADP/CDP from being awarded for those periods, no associated premiums or benefits can be paid either. This could result in gaps in entitlement to:

  • The Child Disability Elements of CTC, or of UC
  • Carers Allowance / Carers Element of UC / Carers Support Payment
  • Young Carer Grant
  • A Disability Premium 
  • A Severe Disability Premium
  • An Enhanced Disability Premium
  • The Disability Element of WTC* 

* where entitlement relies solely on Case C in reg 9 of the WTC(AMR) Regs 2002. See the example of Noah on this page.

IMPORTANT: If the claimant was otherwise entitled to any of the above, then they may become worse off overall by having received the Short-term Assistance. When deciding whether to request Short-term Assistance a claimant may need advice on how it could affect their future entitlements to other benefits.

AND in some cases, such as Working Tax Credit or Income Support, entitlement to this other benefit could entirely end if the claimant is not entitled to them by another route.

 

EXAMPLE:

Stephen's daughter Bethany has been getting the Middle Rate Care Component of CDP. Stephen's UC includes a Carers Element and a Disabled Child Element in respect of Bethany. She has her CDP award reviewed, with the result that she is no longer entitled. Stephen therefore loses the Carer and Disabled Child Elements from his UC. Stephen disagrees that Bethany's care needs have reduced, and asks for this decision to be redetermined.

Social Security Scotland do not change their decision, so Stephen then begins a Tribunal appeal. When he applied for the redetermination, and also when he applied for the appeal, Stephen ticked the boxes to ask for Short-term Assistance (STA).

During the month that they are waiting for the redetermination, and then for the 6 months waiting for the appeal hearing, they receive STA equivalent to CDP at the rate of the Middle Rate Care component.

The appeal is successful, and the tribunal awards Bethany the Middle Rate Care component of CDP. Because the STA was paid at the same rate, Bethany does not receive any arrears of CDP for the periods while they were challenging the decision.

Therefore Stephen does not receive any arrears of UC either, and he is worse off overall by having asked for the STA. At the 2023/24 rates he has missed out on £2,325 of UC for those 7 months.

If Stephen had not asked for STA, then following the tribunal decision they would have received arrears of CDP, and also arrears of the Carers and Disabled Child Elements of UC.

If the Tribunal had instead decided that Bethany had night time care needs and awarded the Highest Rate of the CDP Care Component, then arrears of CDP would have been paid to make up the difference between the STA and Highest Rate CDP. Stephen would then have received arrears of the Carer and High Disabled Child (High Rate) Elements of UC.

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