§ Mr. Tony Banks
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what steps have been taken to ensure that officials of his Department have an adequate awareness of myalgic encephalomyelitis when assessing appropriate benefit claims:
(2) what training is given to staff in his Department to help them to identify myalgic encephalomyelitis sufferers claiming sickness or other benefits to which they may be entitled.
§ Mr. Scott
[holding answer 4 March 1988]: For incapacity benefits, entitlement depends on a medical opinion that a claimant is incapable of work; for disability benefits there are medical criteria which are related to the effect of the disabling condition rather than its cause. People can thus qualify for these benefits even if the specific cause of their symptoms cannot readily be identified and the Departmental officials who deal with their claims are not therefore required to have a knowledge of particular diagnostic conditions.