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Travel Expenses And Disabled Persons

Volume 929: debated on Monday 4 April 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) how many people applied for a grant under the Employment Services Agency fares to work scheme in the last year; how many were turned down; and how many received benefit;(2) what degree of adaptations is necessary before a working environment counts as fulfilling the special conditions under which a disabled person must be employed in order to qualify for an Employment Services Agency fares to work grant; and what criteria are used to assess financial hardship caused by travel to work costs before a grant is made;(3) what are the criteria for eligibility for an Employment Services Agency fares to work grant under Section 15 of the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944; and if there is any right of appeal against assessments.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that, during the year ended 28th February 1977, 270 new applications for assistance under the scheme were received. Of these, 162 were approved 108 rejected. Some 350 people had payments authorised in respect of the year 1976.Each application is looked at individually to decide if the special conditions of employment criterion is met. Adaption to the working environment is not the only factor which will qualify an in- dividual; modifications to hours of work, help with mobility within the work place or any other special consideration may also satisfy this criterion.Financial hardship is assessed by reference to a notional subsistence level derived from the allowances paid to trainees under the training opportunities scheme, which takes account of the number of dependants. The grant is the amount by which the applicant's income falls short of the sum arrived at by adding together the subsistence level, half the amount by which the income exceeds this, the cost of travel and an allowance in respect of other items such as special diet and clothing.The criteria for eligibility for a grant are that the applicant must be: registered under the Disabled Person's (Employment) Act 1944; employed under special conditions in ordinary employment, and unable to use public transport because of disability or because no such transport is available.The Act does not prescribe any right of appeal against assessments, but an application will be re-examined on request or if there is any change of circumstances.