HC Deb 22 February 1999 vol 326 c169W
Mr. Field

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the numbers of individuals who will lose entitlement under his changes to incapacity benefit and the numbers who, as a result, will claim means-tested assistance. [72191]

Mr. Bayley

Most of the people who would be affected by the proposal to take some account of occupational and personal pensions over £50 a week will continue to receive Incapacity Benefit. The estimated reduction in the number of people on Incapacity Benefit as a result of the proposed change to the National Insurance contribution conditions is 30,000 in year one, 60,000 in year three and 120,000 in year ten. Approximately 70 per cent. of these people will already be receiving income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or Income Support when their claim for Incapacity Benefit is made and we would expect their entitlement to means-tested benefit to continue.

Mr. Oaten

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the change in the number of people claiming incapacity benefit(a) in the six pilot areas of the New Deal for Disabled People and (b) in control areas. [72356]

Mr. Bayley

We are piloting a Personal Adviser Service under the New Deal for Disabled People in 12 areas. The first six pilots were launched on 28 September, and pilots in the remaining six areas are expected to start in the Spring. The latest available information about Incapacity Benefit caseloads in the pilot areas relates to August 1998, before the pilots started. Data are collected quarterly, and information for the quarter ending November 1998 will be available at the end of March.

Mr. Rendel

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many widows currently receive incapacity benefit on the basis of their husband's contributions; what is the total cost of the payments; and what is the average payment received; [72354]

(2) how many widows and widowers he estimates will not be able to claim incapacity benefit on the basis of their spouses' contributions as result of the changes proposed in the Welfare Reform and Pensions Bill. [72353]

Mr. Bayley

Information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is as follows. It is estimated there may be up to 2,000 successful claims a year to Incapacity Benefit on the basis of a late spouse's contributions. We estimate that about 1,500 people will be affected in the first year and 5,000 in the long run by the proposed changes to the contribution conditions.