§ Mr. Morgan
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what provision he proposes in the period up to 31 March for those requiring assistance equivalent to that provided by the independent living fund up until 31 December 1992; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Scott
The provision of domiciliary care for all disabled people is a matter for local authorities and for my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health. However, as previously announced and subject to parliamentary approval, two new funds will come into existence on 1 April. The independent living (extension) fund will manage the existing ILF case load of some 21,000 disabled people and the independent living (1993) fund will, in co-operation with local authorities, provide extra cash help for some of the most severly disabled people.
§ Mr. Morgan
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what provision he is making for those of pensionable age who require assistance equivalent to that provided by the independent living fund up to 31 December; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Scott
Mr. John Shepherd, an ex-financial director of Remploy, and Mr. Robin Wendt, secretary of the Association of County Councils, have been appointed as the first two trustees.
I am still considering further candidates for appointment as trustees of the independent living fund successor bodies. A full announcement will be made as soon as possible.
§ Mr. Tipping
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many claims for an ex-gratia payment towards telephone expenses arising from delays in the Benefits Agency dealing with disability allowance claims have been made; how many ex-gratia payments have been paid; what is the maximum and minimum ex-gratia payment paid; and how claimants are advised of the facility to claim an ex-gratia payment.
§ Mr. Scott
The administration of disability living allowance is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member and a copy will be placed in the Library.
Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. Paddy Tipping, dated 8 March 1993.Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency, it is my responsibility to answer questions raised about relevant operational matters. I am therefore replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security, asking how many claims for an ex-gratia payment towards telephone expenses arising from delays in the Benefits Agency dealing with disability allowance claims have been made; how many ex-gratia payments have been made; what is the maximum and minimum ex-gratia payment paid; and how claimants are advised of the facility to claim an ex-gratia payment.529WUp to 3 March 1993, 79 claims have been received for ex-gratia payments towards telephone expenses arising from delays in the Benefit Agency dealing with Disability Living Allowance claims. Forty-one such payments have been made and four requests have been refused. There arc 34 claims presently being considered. The maximum ex-gratia payment made has been £116.24 and the minimum £4.33.Customers are not individually advised about the facility to claim ex-gratia payments, but there is advice within the Benefits Agency Customer Charter which advises what to do "If things go wrong". If the customer feels this to be applicable, contact with the Customer Service Manager is advised. The Benefits Agency Customer Charter was distributed to Welfare Organisations, other organisations representing customer interests, and to staff of the Benefits Agency. It is readily available from Disability Benefits Centres and District Offices.The DLAU has issued written instructions to its staff, detailing the procedures to be followed when a claim for an ex-gratia payment is received. These instructions were recently updated and circulated to staff. A reminder is to be issued to staff about the update in the near future.I hope you find this reply helpful. A copy will appear in the Official Report and a copy will also be placed in the library.