DAS has submitted comments to the Social Security Committee on the Social Security Bill (Scotland) and related issues.

The written evidence can be downloaded and read here. Key points we have raised relate to:

- Getting the right balance between primary and secondary legislation and guidance to ensure sufficient scrutiny, drawing on lived experience and technical expertise, and preventing unintended consequences.
- The need for more about the purpose of social security, including alleviating high levels of poverty among disabled people. There should be a statement of purpose for disability benefits within the text of the Bill, or subsequent regulations, coproduced by people currently assisted by the social security system. We are also calling for a commitment from the Scottish Government on the nature of consultation and timescales for regulations; and key principles for Disability Assistance placed in primary legislation.
- We welcome the generally positive language and principles, with some suggested amendments, and are keen that the principles and a human rights approach are fully realised for everyone accessing the new system.
- A call for an independent, comprehensive review of the system within 3-5 years of it being in operation.
- Accessibility and communications will be key for the success of the new system.
- Collecting evidence and information sharing should be improved in the new system.
- There needs to be a legal right for independent advice and advocacy in the Bill.
- We believe more information on timescales, for instance on processing applications, and uprating is needed.
- There is a pressing need to improve disability benefits, particularly the application and assessment process for Personal Independence Payments (PIP), and opportunities for longer term reform.
- DAS calls on the Scottish Government to use its top-up powers to mitigate cuts to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for those in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG).
- There should be improved coordination between social security and other services including employment and training support.
- The section in the Bill on overpayments should be separated from the points about fraud.

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