§ Lady Olga Maitland
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is(a) the target time and (b) the proportion of cases in which the target time was achieved over the past three months, for (i) attendance allowance claims and (ii) disability living allowance claims for those over 60 years of age.
§ 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 my hon. Friend and a copy will be placed in the Library.
Letter from Michael Bichard to Lady Olga Maitland, dated 15 March 1993:As Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency, it is my responsibility to answer questions about relevant operational matters. I am therefore replying to the points raised in your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social security about (a) the target time and (b) the proportion of cases in which the target time was achieved over the past three months, for (i) Attendance Allowance (AA) claims and (ii) Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for those over 60 years of age.You asked for the target time for clearing claims from DLA customers who are over 60 years of age. I should explain, however, that clearance times broken down to particular age bands of DLA customers is not routinely gathered.The primary target set for the clearance of DLA claims is 60 per cent. of claims to be cleared in 30 days. The performance figures for the last three months are shown in the table below:
Per Cent. in 30 days December 1992 55 January 1993 49 February 1993 61It will perhaps be helpful if I explain a little about the changes which took place with the onset of the new adjudication structure. With the introduction of DLA from 6 April 1992, all outstanding AA claims, reviews and appeals in215Wrespect of people under 65 were transferred to DLA for processing under the new adjudication system introduced at the same time. This was because any award of AA spanning 6 April for people under 65 would automatically become the Care Component of DLA at that time.The primary target set for the clearance of AA claims is 60 per cent. of claims to be cleared in 35 days. The performance figures for AA for the last three months are shown in the table below:
Per Cent. in 35 days December 1992 54 January 1993 44 February 1993 52As you may know the success of the advertising campaign and the policy initiatives surrounding the launch of the benefits attracted a much larger number of applications in the early stages than was expected. Backlogs of work arose as a result and this has undoubtedly affected our ability to meet the clearance targets. However I am pleased to say that the firm actions which have been taken to reduce the backlogs are now resulting in significant improvements in clearance times. At the end of February the total amount of outstanding claims to DLA stood at around 50,000 and about 45,000 for AA compared with the over 124,000 DLA claims and 153,000 claims outstanding at the end of June 1992.Finally, I hope you find this reply helpful. A copy of this letter will appear in the Official Report and a copy will also be placed in the Library.