A new benefit for children with disabilities has opened for residents in pilot areas, including Dundee and Perth and Kinross.
The new Child Disability Payment will provide financial support to the families of children with a disability or long-term health condition.
It replaces the UK Government’s Disability Living Allowance for children.
People in Dundee City and Perth and Kinross can apply to the new system now, as well as the third pilot area, the Western Isles.
‘A system that meets their needs’
This is the first application-based disability benefit to be introduced by the Scottish Government following the devolution of some welfare powers.
It will be administered by Social Security Scotland.
The pilot will be followed by a nationwide rollout in the autumn and is for families applying for the first time for this benefit.
Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison said: “Parents and carers of a child with a disability or long term health condition already experience a number of challenges and accessing the financial support that they are entitled to shouldn’t be another one.
“By including them at every step of the process, we have been able to focus on what suits parents and carers and have designed a system that meets their needs.
“It is fantastic to see the pilot in Dundee City, Perth and Kinross and the Western Isles begin for people with new claims.
“It will allow us to make sure the new disability benefit system is fully ready for Child Disability Payment’s full national rollout this autumn, and ahead of the transfer of existing clients.”
Social Security Scotland has also launched a new service in the three pilot areas, providing people with advice on all benefits face-to-face at a location in their community or via video call.
The service will also be available nationally from autumn.
Tracy McNally, director of Dundee Citizens Advice Bureau, hopes the new benefit is a better fit for families.
She said: “The devolution of these social security payments is a massive opportunity to get the system right for people.
“The Citizens Advice network across Scotland helps people with social security concerns every day, with disability benefits being one of the biggest issues people seek advice from, so people should feel confident in knowing they’ll always be able to turn to us for help if they need it with the new payment.”
New applicants only
Those already in receipt of Disability Living Allowance for children do not need to apply. They will be contacted directly and their benefit will be transferred automatically to Social Security Scotland.
Child Disability Payments will continue to be made at the same rate and time as Disability Living Allowances.
Information and applications can be found online or by calling 0800 182 2222.