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  • New definition of terminal illness for disability benefits

    Created: 21/10/2021

    There is a new definition of terminal illness for disability benefits that are delivered by Social Security Scotland. 

    This new definition relies on the clinical judgement of a healthcare professional – there is no time limit on life expectancy and it moves away from the six-month limit currently used by the Department for Work and Pensions.

    This change in the terminal illness definition has already started through the pilot for the new Child Disability Payment and will also apply to the Adult Disability Payment, which will be introduced from next spring as a pilot and rolled out nationally from the summer.

    Once a person’s application is successfully completed:

    • they’ll automatically receive the highest award for a care or daily living component; and/or
    • they’ll automatically receive the higher rate for the mobility component where there is one; and/or
    • Social Security Scotland will not set a review date for the benefit they are receiving.

    Guidance, which clinicians must follow when reaching their clinical judgement, has been developed by the Chief Medical Officer and is available through Social Security Scotland's website.

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