HC Deb 27 November 1998 vol 321 cc26-9W
Mrs. Fyfe

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will introduce a trigger in the benefits system to ensure that those who are not in receipt of income support at the time of disability living allowance being awarded are invited to claim income support. [60917]

Mr. Timms

There are no current plans to invite claims to Income Support (IS) when an award of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) has been made. DLA provides a contribution towards the extra costs associated with disability. When a claim to DLA is received from a customer there is insufficient data to indicate whether the customer would be entitled to IS. However, the leaflet issued with DLA award notices contains information about other benefits, including Income Support.

Mrs. Fyfe

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to means-test disability living allowance. [60918]

Mr. Timms

We have concluded and made clear in the Green Paper "New Ambitions for our Country: A New Contract For Welfare" (Cm 3805) that Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance will remain universal, national benefits and as such they will not be subject to a means test.

Mrs. Fyfe

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has for benefits for those who are severely disabled and are older than 20 years of age. [60915]

Mr. Timms

The proposals for the reform of Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA) as set out in the Consultation Paper—"Support for Disabled People", would apply to new claims only. Existing SDA recipients aged 20 or over at the point of change would be protected and continue to receive benefit as now. Under the new arrangements, people who become severely disabled after the age of 20 would no longer be able to claim SDA.

However, around 70 per cent. of those currently receiving SDA also receive Income Support (IS) and it is likely that the same proportion would continue to qualify for IS following the introduction of the proposals. This group would, therefore, see no change to their overall level of income. Disability Living Allowance is also available to help with the additional costs of disability.

Mrs. Fyfe

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what plans he has for the relative levels of(a) disability living allowance and (b) incapacity benefit; and what decisions he has made about the minimum level of each; [60914]

(2) what plans he has for the future level of incapacity benefit. [60888]

Mr. Timms

Disability Living Allowance and Incapacity Benefit are awarded where specific entitlement conditions are met. There is no relationship between the relative levels of the benefits. There are no plans to change the amounts of the benefits, but they will continue to be reviewed as part of the normal uprating process.

Mr. Webb

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many current recipients of(a) incapacity benefit and (b) invalidity benefit who are aged under state pension age, are receiving occupational or personal pensions of (i) £0.01 to £9.99, (ii) £10 to £19.99, (iii) £20 to £29.99, (iv) £30 to £39.99, (v) £40 to £49.99, (vi) £50 to £59.99, (vii) £60 to £69.99 and (viii) £70 or above per week. [60922]

Mr. Timms

Information is not available in the format requested. Such information that is available is in the table.

Incapacity benefit recipients' pension income 1996–97
£ per week Occupational pensions Personal/other pensions Total
0.01–9.99 42 23 53
10–19.99 41 13 52
20–29.99 36 5 40
30–39.99 43 3 45
40–49.99 53 3 55
50–59.99 47 6 52
60–69.99 50 1 52
70 or more 290 4 293


1. Incapacity Benefit replaced Sickness Benefit and Invalidity Benefit in April 1995. All existing recipients at that date became Incapacity Benefit recipients.

2. Figures include 11,000 Severe Disablement Allowance recipients.

3. Other pensions includes Widows, Trade Union and Friendly Society pensions and Annuities regulated by the Pensions Act 1995 but not purchased with tax relieved pension savings.

4. Some Incapacity Benefit recipients will receive both occupational and personal/other pensions. Aggregating occupational and other pension income causes some cases to be shifted into a different band, consequently the total in the third column is not the sum of the first two.

5. Figures include a number of former Invalidity Benefit recipients above State pension age who were able to elect to remain on benefit for up to 5 years. From April 1995 Incapacity Benefit is not payable above State pension age.

6. No existing recipient of Incapacity Benefit at the point of change will have their entitlement affected by the proposal to take some account of occupational and personal pension income above £50 a week in assessing future Incapacity Benefit claims.


1996–97 Family Resources Survey

Mrs. Fyfe

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are the criteria for the award of incapacity benefit and disability living allowance; and in what circumstances a person may be awarded both. [60889]

Mr. Timms

Incapacity Benefit is a contributory benefit to help replace the income of people unable to work because of an illness or disability. It is paid to people who have the necessary National Insurance contributions and who pass the appropriate test of incapacity.

Disability Living Allowance is a non-means-tested, non-contributory benefit which can be claimed by people aged under 65 for extra care or mobility needs arising from their disability.

Both benefits may be paid if the conditions for entitlement are satisfied. Entitlement to one does not affect, and is not dependent on, entitlement to the other.

Mrs. Fyfe

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if carers who have not made national insurance contributions in the recent past will be refused incapacity benefit, but will be eligible for disability living allowance. [60913]

Mr. Timms

Carers currently have to pay a minimum amount of National Insurance contributions at some point prior to the claim, in order to qualify for Incapacity Benefit. This will continue to be the case in the future. However, as we made clear in our consultation paper "A New Contract for Welfare: Support for Disabled People" we are planning to modify the proposed new contribution test so that carers who received Invalid Care Allowance are not disadvantaged because they were unable to pay contributions due to their caring responsibilities in one of the two tax years before the claim.

In addition, disabled carers will continue to be eligible for Disability Living Allowance if they meet the conditions of entitlement for that benefit.

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