HC Deb 20 March 2002 vol 382 c428W
Mr. Roy

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to simplify benefit application forms, with particular reference to(a) elderly and (b) disabled claimants. [37080]

Maria Eagle

All our forms are constantly reviewed and regularly researched. We frequently adopt suggestions made by members of the public as well as organisations such as the Social Security Advisory Committee.

A radically changed minimum income guarantee (MIG) form was introduced last October after consultation with pensioners and their organisations. The new form cut the number of pages pensioners had to complete from 40 to 10 and removed questions irrelevant to the vast majority of pensioners. The Department also established a MIG helpline to enable pensioners to claim over the telephone.

Improvements have been made to our standard size claim forms, particularly those relating to disability benefits. They include using a larger type size, increasing the size of answer boxes and using a background tint that gives the best possible contrast to improve legibility.

We are also currently testing a new shorter and simpler attendance allowance claim form aimed at claimants aged 75 or over. If this 16 page form, which replaces the existing 34 page form, is successful in obtaining the information we need we will be looking to apply the lessons learned to other groups of disabled people applying for disability living allowance and attendance allowance.