THE Scottish Greens have called on the Scottish Government to use this week’s pilot launch of the new Child Disability Payment (CDP) as an opportunity to improve the support on offer to the families of disabled children.

CDP replaces UK Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children in Scotland. It is being opened to new applicants on a pilot basis in three local authority areas in Dundee, Perth and Kinross and Na h-Eileanan Siar from this week.

Later this year, applications will open nationwide and existing child DLA recipients will also be transferred over.

The payment provides non-means-tested financial support for children with mobility and/or care needs as a result of disability, or who have a terminal illness.

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Disability charity Scope estimates that families of disabled children face an average cost of £581 a month to support their child, with one in five families experiencing costs of more than £1000.

Similar payments will also be available for working-age and elderly disabled people in the coming years.

Around 577,000 Scots currently claim one of their UK predecessor benefits.

Social Security Scotland, Scotland’s new social security agency based in Dundee, will take over the running of the benefits from the UK’s Department for Work and Pensions.

Scottish Greens social security spokesperson Maggie Chapman MSP said: “It is absolutely crucial that the Scottish Government uses fully its new powers over social security to provide genuine support to those who need it and to repair the terrible damage done by UK welfare reforms.

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“The Child Disability Payment launching this week largely replicates the UK benefit it replaces, and so the pilot phase must be used by the Scottish Government as an opportunity to find out from families what needs to be done to better support disabled children.

“The Payment will not always meet the costs of supporting a disabled child, which can run to over £1000 a month, so improving the adequacy of the payment should be top of the agenda.

“Simply taking over the administration of broken UK benefits and making some minor improvements would be a betrayal of the SNP’s promises to rebuild our social security system on the principles of dignity and respect.

"We must make the system radically fairer, and the Child Disability Payment is an early test of that aim.”