asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will give the number of children currently receiving attendance allowance because of severe deafness and the numbers of (a) deaf children who have been given the allowance and (b) deaf children who have had it withdrawn, for each of the last five years;(2) if he will seek to amend the conditions of the attendance allowance so as to cover the special social, educational and emotional problems of deaf children;(3) whether there has been any change in the criteria governing the award of attendance allowance to deaf children.
Entitlement to attendance allowance depends on the need for attendance or supervision rather than the existence of a particular disability and the attendance allowance board already recognises the special problems caused by deafness in children. The board has not changed its criteria for deciding whether deaf children satisfy the qualifying conditions for the benefit. Separate figures about deaf children are not available, but at 31 March 1982 about 3,500 people receiving attendance allowance were suffering from a disease of the ear. Most of these would have been children. Details of awards and withdrawals of the benefit to persons with a disease of the ear are not available.