HC Deb 23 June 1997 vol 296 cc405-6W
Mr. Robert McCartney

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many disability living allowance reviews and appeals took place last year; what percentage were successful; what is the average cost of each such procedure; and if she will make a statement on the impact on the work of her Department of the total number of decisions which were overturned. [3828]

Mr. Worthington

Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Social Security Agency under its Chief Executive, Mr. Alec Wylie, and I have asked him to arrange for a response to be given.

Letter from Alec Wylie to Mr. Robert McCartney, dated 17 June 1997: I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question about Disability Living Allowance reviews and appeals. The information you requested on the number of reviews and appeals is set out in the attached tables. I regret that information on the cost of review and appeal procedures is not maintained separately and to provide this would require a major clerical exercise generating disproportionate costs. As many customers provide additional evidence throughout the adjudication process, it is inevitable that some of the original decisions will be overturned at the review and appeal stages. Experience also shows that most customers routinely ask for a review or appeal where the higher rates of Disability Living Allowance have not been awarded. In most cases, arrears of benefit arising from overturned decisions are calculated and paid by computer which means that the impact of this work on the Social Security Agency is minimal. I hope this explains the position for you but I would be happy to provide any further information you require.

Table No. 1: Review decisions implemented during 1996
Year Number of review decisions Success rate
1996 (January to December) 22,253 33.7 per cent. (7,497)

Table No. 2: Tribunal decisions implemented during 1996
Year Decisions of appeal tribunal implemented Success rate
1996 (January to December) 3,358 36.6 per cent. (1,230)