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Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make it his policy to publish information on the level of shortfalls experienced by (a) existing housing benefit claimants and (b) local housing allowance claimants by (i) number of bedrooms, (ii) local authority area and (iii) broad rental market area for each quarter of 2008-09. 
The Department is, however, considering publication of information on average shortfalls as part of the Two Year Review of the Local Housing Allowance. The format in which this data will be published has yet to be finalised but we will give consideration to quarterly monitoring at broad market rental area level.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will issue guidance to local authorities on identifying claimants who may be able to make a backdated claim for housing benefit or council tax benefit. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The Department for Work and Pensions claim forms for housing benefit and council tax benefit make it clear that benefit can be paid from an earlier date than the date the claim is received where there is good reason to do so.
A separate section of the claim form asks customers who want to have their claims paid earlier to provide a date from which they wish to claim benefit and to provide the reasons why they have not claimed sooner.
Local authorities can issue their own claim forms where the customer contacts them direct rather than through the Department for Work and Pensions. In these circumstances, guidance recommends that the content of those forms is similar to the Department for Work and Pensions claim forms. So in practice, customers should be offered the choice of having their claim backdated where appropriate.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 2 April 2008, Official Report, column 780W, on social security benefits, how many people were claiming incapacity benefit while living abroad in each year since 1998, broken down by reason for their claim. 
Mrs. McGuire: The primary diagnosis does not of itself confer entitlement to incapacity benefits. Entitlement is dependent upon the medical test of incapacity for work, the Personal Capability Assessment. The available information is in the following table.
|Working age incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance (IB/SDA) claimants who are living abroad by primary diagnosis|
|As at May each year|
1. Caseload figures prior to May 2000 are rounded to the nearest 100, and to the nearest 10 thereafter.
2. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
3. IB/SDA claimant figures include all IB and SDA (including IB credits only cases).
4. Caseload figures prior to May 2000 have been produced using 5 per cent. data and rated up proportionally using 100 per cent. WPLS totals.
5. Causes of incapacity are based on the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, published by the World Health Organisation.
6. Others are those recipients not categorised in any of the above.
DWP Information Directorate, Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study, 100 per cent. dataMay 2000 onwards
IAD Information Centre 5 per cent samples - May 1998 to May 1999
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