HC Deb 11 November 1977 vol 938 cc282-4W
Mr. Kenneth Clarke

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will ask the Attendance Allowance Board to reconsider its recent guidelines for applications for allowance from people undergoing haemodialysis sessions; and to reduce the lower limit for the duration of sessions that would qualify for allowance.

Mr. Alfred Morris:

The medical requirements for attendance allowance relate to the amount of attention and/or supervision which an individual requires and are laid down in the Social Security Act 1975. Under the Act it is for the Attendance Allowance Board to decide whether or not these requirements are satisfied in each individual case. The Board is an independent statutory body and it would not be proper for me to attempt to influence decisions. The guidelines referred to indicate the sort of claim which is expected to succeed on the Board's present interpretation of the law; but each case has to be decided on the facts of the case and in accordance with the law. Any one who is dissatisfied with the Board's decision can ask for that decision to be reviewed; and if he or she considers that the Board's decision on review is erroneous in law, he or she can apply for leave to appeal to the National Insurance Commissioner on questions of law.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many people who undergo haemodialysis sessions have been awarded attendance allowance in each of the last three years; and what reduction in the number of people qualify for attendance allowance who undergo haemodialysis sessions he expects to follow as a result of the Attendance Allowance Board issuing guidelines in June 1977 restricting the eligibility for allowance in such cases.

Mr. Alfred Morris:

Information on the number of such awards made over each of the past three years is not available but, as at 30th September each year, the number of people in receipt of attendance allowance whose main need of attention and/or supervision was shown as being due to haemodialysis are given in the table below. It is not possible to make any estimate for the future of the effect the Board's present interpretation of the law will have on these numbers. Each case must be decided by the Board on the facts of that case in accordance with the law set out in the Social Security Act 1975.




Rate 1975 1976 1977
Higher rate 200 200 200
Lower rate 1,400 1,700 2,000
Total 1,600 1,900 2,200