HC Deb 06 November 2000 vol 356 cc96-7W
Mr. Coaker

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on the Government's plans to abolish Severe Disablement Allowance. [135538]

Mr. Bayley

The reform of Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA) will refocus benefit on people disabled early in life who have never had the opportunity to work and gain entitlement to incapacity benefits through the payment of contributions.

At present, the poorest 70 per cent. of those receiving SDA also receive Income Support (IS). The IS rules require every pound of their SDA to be deducted from their IS so, in practice, they receive no benefit from SDA.

From April 2001, young disabled people under 20 (or 25 if they were in education or training that continued beyond their 20th birthday) will be given access to Incapacity Benefit without having to satisfy the normal contribution conditions. Based on current rates, they will gain up to £26.70 a week. No new SDA claims will be accepted but existing recipients will be protected and will continue to receive SDA for as long as they continue to satisfy the conditions of entitlement. In addition there are special linking periods of eight weeks, one year and two years for people who leave SDA before April 2001 to try work or training which would allow them to return to SDA if they are still within their linking period.

Mr. Boswell

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many(a) new claims and (b) awards of Severe Disablement Allowance there were in each of the last 18 months. [136304]

Mr. Bayley

The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is in the table.

Severe Disablement Allowance, new claims and awards
New claims received (Number) Spells commencing
December 1998 2,896 1,900
January 1999 3,527 1,100
February 1999 3,857 1,100
March 1999 4,227 1,300
April 1999 3,342 1,100
May 1999 3,318 600
June 1999 3,916 800
July 1999 4,228 800
August 1999 3,910 700
September 1999 4,064 1,300
October 1999 4,354 1,000
November 1999 4,377 1,100
December 1999 3,016 1,300
January 2000 3,548 1,000
February 2000 4,155 600
March 2000 4,692 1,200
April 2000 3,481 1,100
May 2000 3,913 800


1. New claims figures are a 100 per cent. count from Central Data Unit.

2. Awards figures are taken from a 5 per cent. scan of the benefit computer system and excludes a small number of cases held clerically. These figures are shown in thousands and have been rounded to the nearest hundred.

3. Awards in a particular month do not necessarily relate to claims received in that month.