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Incapacity Reviews

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many incapacity reviews were undertaken in each of the last five years; and what the average time was to complete these reviews in each year. [70836]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The medical assessment procedure involves several stages including gathering information from the person and their GP or other health care professional and arranging and carrying out examinations. The most recent study of a sample of cases found that on average the whole process took 11.4 weeks where entitlement was confirmed and 17.5 weeks where benefit was withdrawn. The available information on the number of medical examinations carried out is in the table.

Number of medical examinations

YearNumber of medical examinations
1999(124)432,210
2000372,934
2001455,454

Source:

Figures are taken from IMPACT 100 per cent. counts.

Notes:

1. Figures for the number of medical examinations performed are not available until the beginning of April 1999. Therefore, figures for the period 1 January to 31 March 1999 have been estimated.

2. Figures include Severe Disablement Allowance.


Disability Benefits

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what plans his Department has to review the operation of the disability living allowance, in

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particular the methods for resolving contradictions between medical reports provided by GPs and departmentally approved doctors; [69278]

Maria Eagle [holding answer 16 July 2002]: The role of the Departmental approved doctor differs from the more familiar role of the GP, whose primary function is to make a diagnosis and arrange treatment. The Departmental doctor is a medical analyst who has received special training and is therefore able to provide a fully explained opinion of the person's functional ability, within the framework of the relevant legislation. Such opinion, together with any other evidence considered necessary, enables the Department to make an informed decision as to whether a person satisfies the criteria for entitlement to the benefit.

The Department is aware of, and has taken account of, concerns expressed by GPs about difficulties in answering the functionally-based questions, such as how far someone can walk and whether they can prepare a main meal, currently contained in reports. Subject to satisfactory evaluation of trials we intend to introduce a new GP report, which asks for purely factual clinical information. The introduction of the new report will be accompanied by training for Decision Makers covering most appropriate sources of evidence, the interpretation of such evidence and how to resolve conflict in the evidence.

Disability Living Allowance can be paid to severely disabled people both in and out of work. Entitlement depends on the extent to which a person needs help with personal care, needs supervision or has difficulties with walking. There have therefore been no applicants who have been refused Disability Living Allowance on grounds of ability to work.

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The available information is in the table.

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Numbers of claims for Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, and Incapacity Benefit awarded and disallowed each year from 1992–93

Disability Living(125) Allowance Attendance(125) Allowance Incapacity Benefit(126)
YearAwardedDisallowedAwardedDisallowedAwarded 3Disallowed(128)
March 1992–February 1993277,150208,730379,455119,300
March 1993–February 1994212,735213,440323,495132,785
March 1994–February 1995232,795256,410334,405146,925
March 1995–February 1996247,890255,280331,405134,570
March 1996–February 1997239,670276,125319,900137,160495,600441,530
March 1997–February 1998211,250255,710296,170116,810455,400434,725
March 1998–February 1999175,600208,200292,555104,260410,000396,840
March 1999–February 2000181,040190,390281,45096,815380,000396,280
March 2000–February 2001211,340206,145316,675103,115388,700376,655
March 2001–February 2002211,190192,320292,14089,130359,900355,765

Notes:

(125)ASD Information Centre, 100 per cent. data rounded to nearest five.

(126)Incapacity Benefit was introduced in April 1995. Figures for Incapacity Benefit may include a small number of overseas cases.

(127)PSCS computer system, 5 per cent. data rounded to nearest hundred. Figures include awards of all types except "credits only" and some cases which are returned to the computer system with a new start date. They exclude a small number of clerically held cases and late notifications on to the system.

(128)PSCS computer system, 100 per cent. data rounded to nearest five. Figures include cases where the claimant has failed the contribution conditions but may be awarded "credits only". They exclude a small number of clerically held cases.


The available information is in the table. Following the introduction of the new system of decision making and appeals in October 1999, the number of appeals-received on Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Attendance Allowance (AA) cases increased significantly. The number of appeals upheld by tribunals also increased. Initial awards of Incapacity Benefit depend principally on submission of a medical certificate and satisfaction of the National Insurance contribution conditions, and there is no formal review process comparable with that for DLA and AA.

Numbers of awards of Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance on review and appeal each year from 1992–93, and numbers of appeals involving Incapacity Benefit which were found in favour of the appellant

Disability Living(128) AllowanceAttendance(128) AllowanceIncapacity Benefit(129)
YearAwards on review(130)Awards on appealAwards on review(130)Awards on appealAppeals found in favour of appellant
March 1992–February 1993*****
March 1993–February 199440,7006,200***
March 1994–February 199540,00010,200***
March 1995–February 199641,30011,800***
March 1996–February 199739,20013,20033,4002,700*
March 1997–February 199837,70013,10024,7002,700*
March 1998–February 199927,00015,40017,1003,200*
March 1999–February 200024,50015,90014,5002,400*
March 2000–February 200116,60025,90010,5005,20015,555
March 2001–February 200210,400(131)24,200(131)6,400(131)4,500(131)14,520

Notes:

* Not available

(129)ASD Information Centre, five per cent. data rounded to nearest hundred.

(130)Generic Appeals Processing System (GAPS), 100 per cent. data rounded to nearest five. Figures refer to all types of appeal and are not available prior to 2000 as a change in the method of recording the type of appeal in GAPS, as part of the introduction of the new system of decision making and appeals, resulted in certain benefits being mapped incorrectly.

(131)Figures include awards following reconsiderations under the new system of decision making and appeals.

7. Latest available data to 30 November 2001.


Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) by how many adults have received the income support enhanced disability premium since April 2001. [70823]

Malcolm Wicks: The available information on recipients of the Income Support enhanced disability and disabled child premia is in the table.

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Thousands

QuarterPeople receiving the enhanced disability premiumPeople receiving the enhanced disabled child premium
May 2001119.531.2
August 2001123.332.8
November 2001126.634.1
February 2002128.634.7

Source:

Income Support Statistics Quarterly Enquiries, May 2001 to February 2002.

Notes:

1. Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred and expressed in thousands.

2. Figures are based on a 5 per cent. sample and subject to a degree of sampling variation.

3. Figures represent a snapshot of people receiving the relevant premium at the time the sample was taken and do not therefore show the cumulative number of recipients.

Since April 2001, expenditure on the enhanced disability and disabled child premia in Income Support is estimated to have been £100 million. Equivalent figures for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit are not currently available.

Source:

Income Support Statistics Quarterly Enquiries, May 2001 to February 2002.

Notes:

1. Estimate is derived from the Income Support Quarterly Statistical Enquiries.

2. Figure is rounded to the nearest £5 million.

3. Figure is based on a 5 per cent. sample and subject to a degree of sampling variation.


Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the purpose is of the six month period between a grant of higher rate disability living allowance and the commencement of payments; and if he will make a statement; [71649]

Maria Eagle: Disability Living Allowance is a contribution towards the extra costs incurred by people who have long-term severe disabilities. Disability Living Allowance is paid from the date from which it is awarded. There is no delay of six months or any other period and, hence, the circumstances cited by the hon. Member do not arise.

However, Disability Living Allowance cannot be awarded unless a severely disabled person has satisfied the conditions of entitlement for a period of at least three months and is likely to continue to satisfy them for a further period of at least six months. In some cases, therefore, people can be notified that they have been awarded Disability Living Allowance from a prospective date and the payment will start from that date. These qualifying rules establish that the severe disability and the extra costs arising from it are of a long-term nature and ensure that Disability Living Allowance is only awarded to people with long-term severe disabilities.

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Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many disabled children aged (a) three and (b) four years have been awarded disability living allowance higher rate mobility components since April 2001, and how much this costs. [70819]

Maria Eagle: The latest available information, based on a five per cent sample taken on 28 February 2002, is that about 3,100 disabled children aged three and approximately 3,500 aged four are receiving higher-rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance. This represents a total annual expenditure of around £13.5 million.


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