§ Mr. Vaz
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how the Benefits Agency proposes to publicise the new incapacity benefit being introduced in April 1995 to Britain's ethnic minority communities, with particular reference to(a) the new medical test for those sick more than six months and (b) those severe medical conditions that will exempt people from the new medical test.
§ Mr. Hague
In February 1995, a leaflet outlining the new benefit, the medical test and the groups affected will be available from BA offices and via a freephone response line. It will be translated into Punjabi, Urdu and Bengali and produced on audio tape as well as being produced in print in English and Welsh and in braille and on tape. 283W An advertising campaign aimed at advisers will also draw attention to the leaflet.
A second leaflet will be produced in June in the same formats and languages providing information about job-hunting and in-work benefits. This leaflet will be included with the letter sent to people who have been assessed as capable for work.
Local information initiatives will be undertaken in the run up to the introduction of incapacity benefit to ensure existing claimants are aware of how the changes will affect them.
§ Mr. Hague
All customers who require an assessment by Benefits Agency medical services—BAMS—will be sent an information pack with their appointment. This information pack will include an invitation to the customer to inform BAMS of any special requirements they may have, including the need for specific language skills. BAMS will then arrange for the customer to be seen at a time when someone is available to act as interpreter. In many instances, this will be a member of staff with the appropriate language skills, usually either the examining doctor or the medical examination assistant. However, if no member of staff has the appropriate language skills an interpreter will be provided.