§ Mr. Hesford
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what proportion of people with ME applying for disability living allowance have been successful as(a) first time claimants and (b) reassessed claimants in the last (i) year and (ii) two years. 120W
§ Mr. Denham
The administration of Disability Living Allowance is a matter for Peter Mathison, Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member with further details.
Letter from David Riggs to Mr. Stephen Hesford, dated 23 March 1998:The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked Peter Mathison to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question regarding what proportion of people with Myalgic Encephalitis (ME) have been successful in applying for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) as (a) first time claimants and (b) reassessed claimants in the last (i) year and (ii) two years. As Mr. Mathison is away from the office on leave, I am replying.Comprehensive information is not available in the format requested. However it is estimated on a 5% sample basis, that the number of people with ME, or other chronic fatigue syndrome, who have been successful is as follows:
Number of first time customers Number of reassessed customers 1.12.95–30.11.96 1,480 850 1.12.96–30.11.97 1,320 500
Due to the small numbers involved in this assessment, the figures are subject to relatively large margins of error.
I hope you find the reply helpful.
§ Mr. Denham
The Benefit Integrity Project aims to ensure that those in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) are entitled to it. While it is right to check that people are receiving the correct amount of benefit, we are determined that those checks should be undertaken as sensitively as possible. Also, that we should ensure all decisions taken as a result of the Project are right. We have, therefore, acted to introduce an extra safeguard to improve the quality of, and confidence in, benefit decisions made by the Project.
The administration of this programme is a matter for Peter Mathison, Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member.
Letter from David Riggs to Mr. Anthony Steen, dated 23 March 1998:The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked Peter Mathison to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning the reasons for withdrawing and subsequently reinstating Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for Mrs. Archer of Brixham; and for what reasons the care component of the allowance has not been reinstated.On receipt of, the completed Benefit Integrity Project questionnaire, further medical evidence from Mrs. Archer's General Practitioner (GP) and a Benefits Agency Medical Officer, the Adjudication Officer's (AO's) opinion was that the customer's condition had improved and Mrs. Archer was subsequently notified of this decision.Following the application made by Mrs. Archer to review her entitlement to benefit, a different AO requested an Examining Medical Practitioner (EMP) report. This, together with a further letter from the customer's GP and previous evidence, showed that Mrs. Archer did satisfy the conditions for the higher rate mobility component. It would appear that the original AO had misinterpreted the evidence given by the GP in connection with the customer's 121W mobility, and the higher rate mobility component of DLA was reinstated. However, the AO reviewing the case decided there were insufficient care needs to qualify for any rate of the care component. Therefore this was not reinstated.All claims to benefit are decided by AOs who are statutory office holders. They are required to make impartial decisions based on the application of the law to the facts of the individual case. It is the AO's responsibility to consider whether a decision can be made on the available evidence, or whether further information should be obtained from the customer, the customer's doctor, or whether a doctor from the Benefits Agency Medical Services should be asked to examine the customer.I hope you find this reply helpful.