HC Deb 26 June 1997 vol 296 c642W
Ms Julie Morgan

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if she will reform the administration of the Social Fund to enhance the rights of appeal given to claimants. [5498]

Mr. Keith Bradley

The Social Fund is made up of two parts—the regulated and discretionary schemes. The regulated scheme is based on rules of entitlement. Payments are not cash limited and are subject to the appeal procedures relevant to all regulated Social Security benefits.

Decisions on discretionary Social Fund payments are made from a cash-limited budget. These payments are subject to a special review procedure specifically designed to suit the cash limited and discretionary nature of the scheme. Applicants who are dissatisfied with the discretionary decision already have access to immediate redress locally, and a further right of review by the Independent Review Service if they are still dissatisfied.

The Social Fund review process provides a comprehensive system of redress which is quick, fair and reasonable. It is well suited to a cash-limited discretionary scheme. We have no plans to integrate it into the Social Security appeals system.