To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is yet in a position to make a statement, based on legal advice from the independent adjudication authorities, concerning the definition of regular care in respect of existing invalid care allowance legislation; and if he will make a statement on the related freezing of backdated ICA payments.
[holding answer 10 December 1987]: The independent chief adjudication officer has issued guidance to adjudication officers deciding claims to invalid care allowance (ICA) about the statutory requirement that claimants must be "regularly … engaged in caring". There has never been any doubt that this requirement is satisfied where the claimant is providing 35 or more hours of care for an AA recipient every week, or virtually every week. The new guidance has confirmed that the requirement is also satisfied where the claimant provides 35 or more hours care weekly throughout the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays for an AA recipient who is otherwise normally away from home at, for example, a special school. Care undertaken during other visits home will also qualify, provided the basic weekly requirement of 35 or more hours is satisfied. Isolated or infrequent spells of care will not qualify.Claims that have been held pending this guidance will now be submitted for adjudication, and will be eligible for arrears in the same way as other ICA claims.