HC Deb 25 November 2002 vol 395 cc14-5W
28. Mr. McWalter (Hemel Hempstead)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what impact on passported benefits the move from severe disablement allowance to incapacity benefit has had on the standard of living of young disabled people; and if he will make a statement. [81297]

Maria Eagle

We have reformed Incapacity Benefit and Severe Disablement Allowance in order to provide more support to young people disabled early in life who have never had the opportunity to work. We estimate that around 175,000 young people will benefit from the change over time.

Depending on their circumstances, young disabled people receiving incapacity benefit will still be able to qualify for help with NHS charges or other passported benefits on the grounds of low income.

We recognise that some young people will no longer have automatic entitlement to this help. But many of them will already be considerably better off as a result of the changes we have introduced. It would be unfair to treat these people differently to other incapacity benefit recipients.

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