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Incapacity Benefit

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security for each of the past five years for which figures are available, how many applications for

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Incapacity Benefit were refused and what proportion of total applications this represents; what proportion of applicants refused Incapacity Benefit appealed to the Appeals Service and how many were successful; and what proportion of applicants whose appeals were rejected by the Appeals Service appealed to the social security commissioners and how many were successful. [122152]

Mr. Bayley: Information on numbers of claims for Incapacity Benefit (IB), awards and disallowances are in table 1. The available information on appeals is in table 2. It should be noted that the time lags between stages of the process (e.g. between claim and disallowance, or between disallowance and the hearing of an appeal) means that there is no direct relationship between the numbers in the various categories in each. This in turn means that the figures cannot be used to derive proportions. However, it is estimated that around 22 per cent. of those referred are disallowed following a medical test, that of those disallowed around 30 per cent. appeal, and that around 3 per cent. of those who are not successful at tribunal appeal to the Social Security Commissioners. Claimants who are disallowed IB because they fail the contribution conditions may be awarded National Insurance credits ("credits only" cases): and disallowances following the All Work Test and appeals include IB recipients and credits only cases: it is not possible to disaggregate the figures.

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Claims, awards and disallowances

Claims for IB772,7261,066,3991,046,743929,500910,829
Disallowed due to failing the contribution conditions267,910438,476446,583395,665400,471
IB spells commencing in the period320,900508,900463,940417,420386,380
Disallowed following OOT test8803,2684,3464,9486,505
Disallowed following AWT54,080189,571208,545219,007196,928


1. All figures are for calendar years except for the "spells commencing" which are for the period 1 December to 30 November each year. In 1995 all figures are from April 1995 when Incapacity Benefit replaced Sickness Benefit and Invalidity Benefit.

2. The sum of IB spells commencing and disallowances due to failing the contribution conditions does not equal the number of IB claims, as the figure for claims includes some that are subsequently withdrawn and accident declarations (which are made in case a claim to benefit becomes necessary at a later date as a result of an industrial accident).


1. Claims received--100 per cent. clerical count.

2. IB spells commencing--5 per cent. sample of claimants.

3. Disallowance figures--100 per cent. of the computer system.

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Appeals and decisions

Incapacity Benefit Appeals1995(1)1996199719981999
Number of appeals lodged22,48762,30395,11992,11761,221
Number cleared at hearing8,09241,59357,28690,98773,154
Found in favour of the appellant4,28519,05923,85933,46828,992
Original decision upheld(1)--(1)--(1)--36,61832,906
Number of Commissioner's rehearing appeals lodged(1)(1)--(1)--1544561,066
Number cleared at hearing(1)--(1)--(1)--280973
Found in favour of the appellant(1)--(1)--(1)--188643

(1) Figures for 1995 include Invalidity Benefit.

(1) Information on Commissioner's appeals is only available from autumn 1997 when the GAPS system was introduced.

(1) Not available.


The number of appeals in favour of the appellant plus the number of decisions upheld does not equal the total number of appeals cleared at hearing. Appeals cleared at hearing also include cases withdrawn or struck out at hearing.


1. Figures prior to autumn 1997, 100 per cent. extract from ITS computerised records.

2. Figures after autumn 1997, 100 per cent. download from the Appeals Service Generic Appeals.

3. Processing System (GAPS) computer system.

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Disability Living Allowance

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will instruct the Benefits Agency to ensure that Disability Living Allowance is not withdrawn from a person to whom it had previously been awarded for life, without there first being a detailed personal letter explaining the reasons for the withdrawal being given to the beneficiary, and an immediate opportunity being made available to that person for a review of the decision which can consider further evidence from or on behalf of that person. [122684]

Mr. Bayley: As with any benefit, any person whose award of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is changed, in any way and for whatever reason, is offered, and may demand, a reconsideration of that decision and a right of appeal. Any representations they make will be considered as part of these processes.

It has always been the intention that "life awards" of DLA should only run as long as a person is entitled to that rate of benefit, and the law has always allowed for awards to be altered when there are ground for doing so. People receiving the benefit have always been informed that changes in their circumstances needed to be reported to the Department, and that benefit entitlement could change, even where an award had been given for life.

Nonetheless, we recognise that the "life award" terminology in DLA caused problems; in particular, that the words used suggested that entitlement could continue even when the conditions for receiving the benefit were no longer met. We therefore took powers in the Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999 to remove references to "life awards". Accordingly, from 12 January this year the terminology was altered to replace "life award" with "indefinite award" to help clarify the situation. The rules that apply to altering awards, whether made for life, or for an indefinite period, have remained unchanged.

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people who have been awarded Disability Living Allowance for life have had that benefit withdrawn during the past 12 months. [122683]

Mr. Bayley: The administration of Disability Living Allowance is a matter for Alexis Cleveland, the Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. She will write to the right hon. Member.

Letter from Alexis Cleveland to Mr. Dafydd Wigley, dated May 2000:

The Secretary of State has asked Alexis Cleveland to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about how many people who have been awarded disability living allowance (DLA) for life have had that benefit withdrawn during the past twelve months. As she is on annual leave I am replying on her behalf.
The number of people awarded DLA for life whose award was terminated in the twelve months ending November 1999 was 80,200. This is the most recent figure available and it represents termination of benefit due to death; residence and presence conditions no longer satisfied; voluntary cancellation and cancellation by the Department.
I hope this is helpful.

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Pensions (Part-time Workers)

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the effect on the solvency of the UK's pension funds of the EC ruling of 16 May on part-time workers' access to pensions; and if he will make a statement. [122779]

Mr. Rooker: This is a complex ruling which needs careful consideration. It also has to be referred back to the House of Lords for their judgment.


Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer on 18 April 2000, Official Report, column 439W, on pensions, what the National Insurance Fund balance would be, and how far above the minimum level recommended by the Government Actuary, at the end of each of the years (a) 2000-01, (b) 2001-02, (c) 2002-03 and (d) 2003-04, if the basic pension and linked benefit rates remained at their present level in 2000-01 and were uprated in line with prices thereafter. [121195]

Mr. Rooker: Precise long-term forecasts of any excess to the Fund reserves would be misleading, given the sensitivity of the differences between forecasts of receipts and expenditure to the variables involved. The Government Actuary's report 1 shows a projected Fund balance of £16.6 billion at the end of the 2000-01 financial year, which is £8.8 billion in excess of the minimum recommended.

1 Report by the Government Actuary on the drafts of the Social Security Benefits Uprating Order 2000 and the Social Security (Contributions) (Re-rating and National Insurance Funds Payments) Order 2000. Cm 4587, January 2000.

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