Scottish Government vows to remove the DLA ‘takeaway’ rule

Social Justice Secretary, Alex Neil MSP, has announced that as part of the fairer approach to social security in Scotland, the Scottish Government will remove the rule that prevents Disability Living Allowance (DLA) from being paid to disabled children during lengthy stays in hospital, sometimes referred to as the DLA ‘takeaway’.

Currently, DLA payments stop once a disabled child has been receiving medical treatment in hospital for more than a total of 84 days. Carers Allowance is also affected, as it is assumed that hospital staff, rather than the family, have taken over caring for the child.

Speaking after the announcement, SallyAnn Kelly, Chief Executive at Aberlour Child Care Trust, said:

“Many families with a seriously disabled child will tell you that if anything, during long hospital stays, those responsibilities increase because hospital staff do not have capacity to provide round the clock and specialised care. At the same time, daily trips to hospital to assist in the care of their child can seriously impact on a parent’s ability to generate income through home-based or part-time work.”

The change will come into force once devolved powers are passed to the Scottish Parliament, and will mean that disabled children receiving medical treatment will continue to receive DLA, while Carers Allowance will also continue in payment.

The UK Government is currently reviewing the DWP policy after the Supreme Court ruled in July 2015 that it was ‘grossly unfair’ to suspend payments to the family of five-year-old Cameron Mathieson, who died in 2012. The panel of three judges found that the benefit decision had violated his human rights.