§ Mr. Alfred Morris
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what problems have arisen in relation to assessment, administration or any other aspect of the introduction of the severe disablement allowance.
§ Mr. Newton
The introduction of any new benefit can present some initial difficulties while staff get used to the rules and procedures. For severe disablement allowance these difficulties were exacerbated by the disruption of the work of local offices arising from the protracted dispute at our Newcastle central office; and by medical boarding arrangements which led to unexpected delays in the 605W settlement of certain claims. Mistakes have also been made in recording the numbers of claims. Steps have been taken to remedy these problems, and we are doing our best to ensure that claimants have their claims decided with the minimum of delay. I am keeping a close watch on the situation.