HC Deb 19 December 2000 vol 360 cc95-7W
Mr. Boswell

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what action his Department is taking to improve access to Disability Living Allowance for those with a history of mental illness. [143180]

(b) actual manning levels are for each of the three regular parachute battalions. [143030]

Mr. Spellar

[holding answer 15 December 2000]: The establishments and actual staffing levels for each of the three Regular Parachute battalions, as at 1 November 2000, are shown in the table. The figures exclude Locally Employed Personnel and Royal Irish (Home Service).

Mr. Bayley

We recognise that it can be difficult accurately to asses the needs of people with mental health problems, and that for some of these people the process of claiming itself can be difficult to understand and stressful. That is why people claiming Disability Living Allowance (DLA) are given six weeks to return the claim form to the Benefits Agency. Claimants with mental health problems are also encouraged to ask others, for example their carer or Community Psychiatric Nurse, for help in completing the claim form or to add comments on their behalf. In DLA/Attendance Allowance (AA), as with all benefits, claimants who are not able to manage their own affairs can have someone appointed to act on their behalf.

When gathering information to assess a claim for DLA, decision-making staff are encouraged to contact Community Psychiatric Nurses or other healthcare professionals who may have a good understanding of an individual's personal care and support arising from their mental health problems. As part of the Disability Benefits Modernisation programme we are always considering improvements in the taking of DLA/AA claims to provide all claimants, including those with mental health problems, with the necessary support to ensure they receive their correct entitlement.

Following recommendations from the Social Security Select Committee, we are looking at the possibility of assessing entitlement to DLA and AA in a different way—using a set of daily activities undertaken by disabled people in managing their lives as a means of assessing need. We are looking for an approach which would be more transparent, easier for disabled people to understand and could be administered with greater consistency. Clearly, we would not wish to make such a major change without clear evidence that it would lead to better assessments. Any changes would be made only after their impact on disabled people, including those with mental disabilities, had been thoroughly tested and discussed with the representative organisations. The new system is being developed in consultation with disability organisations.

Mr. Alasdair Morgan

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what the average cost in administration is of(a) reviewing life awards for Disability Living Allowance and (b) appeals against the outcome of reviews of Disability Living Allowance; [142998]

(2) how many reviews of life awards for Disability Living Allowance have been conducted in (a) Scotland and (b) the UK in each year since 1993. [142997]

Mr. Bayley

The information is not available.

Mr. Alasdair Morgan

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people in(a) Scotland and (b) the UK are in possession of a life award of Disability Living Allowance, broken down by rate. [142996]

Mr. Bayley

The information is:

People in receipt of an indefinite award of disability living allowance in Scotland and Great Britain1
Great Britain Scotland
All awards 1,564,100 181,600
Care component2
Higher rate 286,800 34,500
Middle rate 394,400 48,100
Lower rate 375,500 41,100
Mobility component3
Higher rate 1,147,500 136,400
Lower rate 264,800 30,600
1 Figures relate to 31 May 2000. A clarification, introduced by the Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999, means that awards are now made "for an indefinite period" instead of "for life".
2 Includes people who also receive the mobility component.
3 Includes people who also receive the care component.


DSS Information Centre: 5 per cent. data.

Social Security in Northern Ireland is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

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