A NEW disability benefit is set to be rolled out in five Scottish council areas as part of a pilot scheme.

The Pension Age Disability Payment, which will replace the Attendance Allowance, is set to be introduced in Argyll & Bute, Highland, Aberdeen City, Orkney and Shetland on October 21.

The Scottish Government said it will then become available in 12 more local authority areas on March 24 next year before being implemented across the entirety of Scotland by April 22, 2025.

The payment is intended for people of pension age who have a disability or long-term health condition that means they need help looking after themselves or supervision to stay safe.

It is worth between £290 and £434 per month depending on the needs of the individual and is not subject to means testing.

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At present, more than 150,000 people in Scotland receive Attendance Allowance from the UK Government’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

However, those currently receiving this payment do not need to take any action as their awards will automatically be moved from the DWP to Social Security Scotland.

“In the midst of the cost of living crisis it is more important than ever that older people get the support they’re entitled to,” said Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville (below).

“We developed Pension Age Disability Payment by listening to the people who would be applying for it and those who support them.

“We made changes including making it easier for an eligible person to nominate a third party representative, something people told us was important for many older people.

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“The pilot phase will allow us to put our different approach into practice, learning and improving before the benefit is rolled out across Scotland.

“If you think you might be eligible for support right now, I encourage you to apply for Attendance Allowance from the Department for Work and Pensions.

“Anyone getting that benefit will automatically have their award transferred to Pension Age Disability Payment next year so there is no reason to wait.”

It is hoped the new scheme will streamline the process, allowing people to nominate a third-party representative who can help them communicate with Social Security Scotland.

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Social Security Scotland also has a separate, accelerated application process for people who are terminally ill.

This is open to any eligible person who has a terminal diagnosis, no matter how long they’re expected to live.

This is different to the DWP who only class someone as terminally ill if they are expected to live for 12 months or less.

Eligible people automatically get the highest amount of Pension Age Disability Benefit.