§ Mr. Alfred Morris
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what regard 648W may be had to awards under the Vaccine Damage Payments Act 1979 for child and adult, respectively, in assessment of means (a) for supplementary benefit and (b) for local authority residential care; and if there will be any change after 24 November.
§ Mrs. Chalker
Payments under the Vaccine Damage Payments Act are normally held in trust and, in determining entitlement to supplementary benefit, the Supplementary Benefits Commission has discretion to treat them as the resource of the vaccine-damaged person. Where the vaccine-damaged person is a child whose parent is receiving supplementary benefit, the commission wholly disregards the payment. Where he is 16 or over, and receiving supplementary benefit in his own right, the commission has regard to the payment, except that it disregards any amounts specifically earmarked for major items of expenditure related to the vaccine-damaged person's disablement, such as adaptations to the home.
From 24 November 1980 the present practice of disregarding vaccine-damage payments held on trust for a child whose parent is receiving supplementary benefit will be secured by legislation. Where a vaccine-damaged person is receiving supplementary benefit in his own right, the relevant regulations now before Parliament will provide that heshall be treated as possessing"—the resource held on trust—in whole or in part having regard to.. the terms of the trust, either express or implied.This should enable amounts earmarked for appropriate purposes to be disregarded as at present. I must stress that the interpretation of the regulations will be for the independent supplementary benefit officer who will replace the Supplementary Benefits Commission as the initial authority for determining claims and, on appeal, the Supplementary Benefit Appeal Tribunal and the Social Security Commissioner.
The treatment by a local authority of an interest in a trust in assessing a resident's ability to pay charges for residential accommodation will depend on the 649W extent of the trustees' discretion. If there is discretion to release capital, or capital and income, for the benefit of the resident, the capital value of the trust fund would be treated as part of the resident's capital resources. The income released would then be ignored. If there is discretion to release only income for the benefit of the resident, the total income releasable under the terms of the trust would be taken into account as income, subject to a disregard of £4 per week. The capital value of the trust would then be ignored. There will be no change in those arrangements after 24 November 1980.
§ Mr. Dobson
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the average time for a determination under the Vaccine Damage Payments Act 1979; how many cases have been referred to tribunals under section 4 (a) by the Secretary of State and (b) by the claimant; and how many cases have been the subject of a reconsideration under section 5, and with what result.
§ Dr. Vaughan
The time taken for a determination varies greatly, particularly for cases referred for tribunal hearings. Statistics are not available in a form which
Number of claims received … … … 2,656 Number upheld … … … 498 (includes 165 awards by tribunals) Number disallowed or withdrawn … … … 2,138 (includes 451 disallowed by tribunals Notes: 20 claims await initial decision. 655 claims await tribunal review.
Claims disallowed or withdrawn: (a) Disablement not due to vaccination … … … … 1,732 (b) Disablement due to vaccination less than 80 per cent. … … … … 304 (c) Claimant under age of 2 … … … … 6 (d) Other section 2 conditions not fulfilled … … … … 89 (e) Claims withdrawn … … … … 7
§ Mr. Dobson
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will institute a full review of the Vaccine Damage Payments Act 1979; if he will adjust the payment of £10,000 in line with the rate of inflation; and if he will make a statement.
§ Dr. Vaughan
My right hon. Friend has no plans to review the Act or to amend it to adjust the amount of the payment for which it provides. I expect the total number of awards to be of the order of 650 and am aware of no evidence to suggest that the Act is not meeting its intended purpose.650W
enables an average readily to be calculated.
Requests, all by claimants, for review by tribunals number 1,271 of which 655 await hearings, a number of which have been deferred at the claimant's request.
One case has been referred to a further tribunal review under section 5 and awaits a hearing.
Five cases have been reviewed by the Secretary of State under section 5, of which two have resulted in awards and three in further disallowances.
§ Mr. Dobson
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many people have made claims under the Vaccine Damage Payments Act; how many claims have been upheld and how many rejected; and how many were rejected in each of the following categories (a) disablement was not as a result of a vaccination to which the Act applies, (b) disablement did not satisfy the 80 per cent. standard, (c) the claimant was not over the age of 2 when the claim was made and (d) any other condition under section 2 of the Act was not fulfilled.