HC Deb 05 November 2002 vol 392 c194W
Mr. Willetts

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many recipients of severe disablement allowance aged under 20 years on 16 April 2001 have been automatically transferred to incapacity benefit; and how many of these are estimated to have previously claimed(a) free prescriptions, (b) free dental treatment, (c) free eye tests, (d) other healthcare benefits and (e) other passported benefits. [78330]

Maria Eagle

We reformed Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA) in order to provide more support to young people disabled early in life who have never had the opportunity to work. 20,8001 SDA recipients aged under 20 years on 6 April 2001 were automatically transferred to long-term Incapacity Benefit (IB) in April 2002, making them up to £28.10 per week better off.

Depending on their circumstances, young disabled people receiving IB will still be able to qualify for help with NHS charges (for example. prescriptions, dental treatment, sight tests, money-off vouchers for glasses, wigs, fabric supports and help with the cost of travel to hospital for NHS treatment) on the grounds of low income. We recognise that some will no longer have automatic entitlement to this help but many in this group will already be considerably better off as a result of the changes we have introduced and it would be unfair to treat these people differently to other IB recipients.

1 This figure is based on a 5 per cent. sample of the benefit computer system and will exclude a small number of clerically held cases. This figure is rounded to the nearest hundred.

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