Matheson welcomes fairer approach to disability and carer benefits

The rule that penalises families whose disabled children are in hospital will be abolished as part of a fairer approach to social security in Scotland.
Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil has announced the Scottish Government will scrap the “84-day rule”.

The current UK Government rule prevents families with a seriously ill or disabled child from receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Carer’s Allowance payments once they have been in hospital or received medical treatment for the same condition for more than 84 days.

The change will come into force once the powers are passed to the Scottish Parliament, and means families whose children are seriously ill will continue to receive DLA. It will also mean that the child’s family can continue to receive Carer’s Allowance.

In welcoming this news Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson said: “It is an absolute disgrace that a local family already going through the distress and pain of visiting their seriously ill child in hospital every day should be financially penalised.

“This new rule will not affect many families but for those that it does affect, it is a very difficult experience and I’m delighted that the Scottish Government is taking action as a matter of principle.

“Local families can be assured that the Scottish Government refuses to take an approach that punishes the vulnerable in our society which is why they will abolish the 84-day rule as soon as these powers are passed to the Scottish Parliament.

“These new powers mean parents who face higher living costs due to their child’s illness or disability, and are unable to work due to their caring responsibilities, will not be penalised when their child goes into a hospital like Forth Valley Royal or has necessary medical treatment. Those families, who are visiting their children in hospital day in and day out, will no longer face financial discrimination and will continue to receive DLA and Carer’s Allowance.

“I hope by abolishing the 84-day rule it is seen an early signal that the Scottish Government will take a fairer approach to social security and that they are committed to developing disability and carer benefits more suited to Scotland’s needs.”