HC Deb 01 February 1972 vol 830 cc221-2
7. Mr. Douglas-Mann

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps are taken or contemplated by his Department to ensure that those who are or may be entitled to industrial disablement benefit or special hardship allowance are made aware of their rights.

Mr. Dean

It is standard procedure to include advice in the covering letters sent to claimants with their first and final injury benefit payments about possible title to disablement benefit and where they can obtain further information and claim forms. Further, claim forms for both disablement benefit and special hardship allowance are sent, without request, to a claimant who is still receiving injury benefit 19 weeks after his accident and in certain other cases where injury benefit ceases earlier and there is clear title to disablement benefit.

Mr. Douglas-Mann

Is the Under-Secretary satisfied that certain offices are not restricting their notification of entitlement to disablement benefits to those who have been away from work for at least 20 weeks? Does not he consider that the probability is that a great many more are entitled to disablement benefit and special hardship allowance than are receiving them, and that this explains why only one-fifth of those who receive industrial injury benefit receive disablement benefit?

Mr. Dean

No, the reason for that is largely that many injuries, fortunately, clear up within a comparatively short time and those concerned are able to return to work. There was a case, about which the hon. Gentleman has corresponded with me, in which I freely admit that our local office did not carry out the full procedures, and I am taking steps to ensure that that does not happen again.