A new social security benefit for Scots with disabilities is being piloted across the country this year, starting with the Western Isles, Dundee, and Perth and Kinross.
Members of the public with lifelong health conditions could qualify for between £23.70 and £152.15 a week under the Scottish Government’s Adult Disability Payment scheme.
The benefit replaces the Disability Living Allowance and UK Personal Independence Payment.
Unlike some other social security payments, the benefit will be “indefinite” and those who receive it will not have to go through regular reviews to keep the benefit.
Here’s all you need to know about the Adult Disability Payment.
When is the new benefit being introduced?
Residents in Dundee, Perth and Kinross and the Western Isles will all be able to apply for the payment from March 21.
The pilot scheme will gradually be rolled out in Scotland over the next few months.
On June 20 locals in Angus will be able to apply, while anyone in Fife, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray can check if they qualify for the benefit from July 25.
The final wave of applications will then commence from August 29.
You can either apply online, over the phone, or via a paper form.
But if you already receive the Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment you will automatically receive the new benefit.
How to know if you’re eligible
The award is designed to help Scots who are struggling with a wide range of health problems.
Anyone who has a disability or physical health condition may qualify for the social security payment.
People who have mental health difficulties are also eligible to receive the benefit each week.
Scots battling terminal illnesses also qualify as well under the new rules.
Your employment status, income and savings are not taken into account when applying.
Why is the new payment being piloted?
The Scottish Government says the payment system will offer struggling people more financial certainty.
Social security minister Ben Macpherson claimed the new benefit is aimed at treating people with “dignity, fairness and respect”.
He said: “We want to ensure that people on the highest levels of Adult Disability Payment awards receive long-term and adequate support.”
Moira Tasker, chief officer at Inclusion Scotland, said: “We are glad the minister has acted on the views expressed by disabled people and adopted this measure.”
But Labour MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy claimed the benefit was a “missed opportunity” and could have gone further.
Ms Ducan-Glancy, the first wheelchair user to be elected as an MSP, raised concerns when regulations were passed in January.
“I would like the record to show that we are voting for the regulations because disabled people have waited long enough, and so we must proceed,” she said.