Families with children living with bowel or stomach disease are being encouraged to apply for a new disability benefit which opens next week.
The new Scottish child disability payment will be trialed in Dundee and Perth and Kinross from Monday before being rolled out nationwide in the autumn.
Managed by Social Security Scotland, it will replace the disability living allowance for children, which is currently delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions.
Ahead of the trial, leading bowel disease charity Crohn’s & Colitis UK is encouraging families in Dundee and Perthshire who have children living with these illnesses to apply.
The payment will be available to families of children with bowel or stomach disease.
A “hidden disability”
Elaine Steven, policy lead for Scotland and Northern Ireland at the charity, said: “We’re really pleased to see bowel and stomach diseases, which include Crohn’s and Colitis, included in the eligibility criteria for the new child disability payment.
“As hidden disabilities, sometimes even friends or family members might not consider their loved one who is living with Crohn’s or Colitis to have a disability.
“We want families of children with Crohn’s or Colitis to be aware that if their child’s condition gives rise to extra care and support costs, for instance extra washing, clothing or personal support with the ongoing emotional effects of the condition, then they are eligible to apply for this payment.
“This new benefit is being piloted in Dundee and will be available across Scotland from November, so families caring for a child with Crohn’s or Colitis can get much needed support.”
Recent research conducted by NHS Lothian found that one in every 125 people living in Scotland has inflammatory bowel disease. This is approximately 44,000 people.
Most diagnoses happen between the ages of 15 and 40, meaning many will live with the condition for most of their life.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Child disability payment will open for new applications from people living in the pilot areas of Dundee City, Perth and Kinross and the Western Isles from 26 July who are applying for the first time. It will be rolled out nationally from autumn.
“Child disability payment is the replacement for the UK Government’s disability living allowance for children. Those already in receipt of this benefit do not need to apply, their case will be transferred from the UK Government to the Scottish Government.
“As hidden disabilities, sometimes even friends or family members might not consider their loved one who is living with Crohn’s or Colitis to have a disability.”
Elaine Steven, policy lead for Scotland and Northern Ireland at Crohn’s & Colitis UK
“Child disability payment provides money to help with the extra care and mobility costs for children and young people, up to the age of 18, with a disability.
“Social Security Scotland will provide clients with clear and accessible guidance about what supporting information will help us make fairer decisions.
“We will assist applicants to gather existing supporting information from a professional who best knows the impact of a child’s disability.”
Applying for child disability payment can be done online or by post, phone, or face to face.
Families currently getting disability living allowance for children do not have to take any action.