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Disability

Volume 202: debated on Thursday 23 January 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what conditions a person with a disability has to satisfy if they wish to be registered under the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944; what medical evidence they have to produce; what procedures exist for an appeal against a refusal to register; and if he will make a statement.

A person who wishes to register as disabled under the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944 must meet a number of eligibility conditions, which are set out in the 1944 Act, as amended by the 1958 Act, and in regulations made under the 1944 Act. The main conditions, briefly, are as follows:

  • (1) the person must, as a result of some mental, physical or sensory disability, be substantially handicapped in obtaining or retaining employment or self employment which would otherwise be suited to the person's age, experience and qualifications;
  • (2) the disability must be likely to last for at least 12 months; and
  • (3) the person must want to work and have a reasonable prospect of obtaining and retaining suitable employment or self employment.
  • Medical evidence is not always required to help determine eligibility to register, for example if an individual has an obvious disability. When medical evidence is needed it may he obtained, with the individual's agreement, from a number of sources, including the hospital consultant if the individual is receiving treatment at a hospital. Alternatively, arrangements may be made, by agreement, for the individual to be examined by the regional medical service. Employed applicants for registration may, if they wish, obtain a medical report from their family practitioner.There is no provision in the Act for a formal appeals procedure where an application to register is refused. However, the Employment Service's disablement resettlement officers, who make decisions on applications, may not reject an application without first referring it for advice to a panel of the local committee for the employment of people with disabilities. Where applications are referred for advice to a panel, the applicant is invited to attend the meeting and put his comments to the panel. In practice, disablement resettlement officers will also consider any representations made by an individual whose application for registration has been refused.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment under what circumstances disabled persons can withdraw themselves from registration under the Disabled Persons (Employment) At 1944; in what other circumstances a disabled person's registration can lapse; if people can appeal against a decision to de-register them; and if he will make a statement.

    The 1944 Act provides for the volunary withdrawal from registration at any time on receipt, by the Employment Service's disablement resettlement officer, of a written request to do so.Registration is for a specified period, usually up to 10 years. However, registrations may be renewed, on application, if the eligibility conditions are still being met.The Act also provides for an individual's registration to be terminated if he or she ceases to meet the eligibility conditions. This provision is rarely used.There is no provision under the Act for people to appeal against a decision to de-register them before the specified period has elapsed. However, before such a decision is taken, the matter must be referred for advice to a panel of the local committee for the employment of people with disabilities, and the panel's recommendation must be referred, for a decision, to the Employment Service's regional office. Where such matters are referred for advice to a panel, the applicant is invited to attend the meeting and to put his comments to the panel.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what information he has about the number of people out of work who have a health problem which limits the type of work they can do, for each year since 1987, in each region and for Great Britain as a whole.

    The available estimates from the "Labour Force Survey" are given in the following table.

    People not in employment1 who have any health problems or disabilities which limit the kind of paid work they can do
    Thousands
    1987198819891990
    Great Britain2,3592,3762,5212,472
    Northern165187190202
    Yorkshire and Humberside237233270272
    East Midlands171162153150
    East Anglia66656672
    South East569549564526
    GLC256257256249
    Rest of South East313292308278
    South West167170168154
    West Midlands242223239243
    North West318331367363
    Wales194199209197
    Scotland232255295292
    Source: Labour Force Survey
    1 Economically inactive and unemployed (on ILO definition).