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Incapacity Benefit

Volume 264: debated on Tuesday 24 October 1995

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the latest estimate of the number of medical examinations for the all-work test of incapacity which have been scheduled but have not yet taken place. [38508]

The administration of incapacity benefit is a matter for Mr. Peter Mathison, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Ursula Brennan to Mr. Keith Bradley, dated 23 October 1995:

The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked Peter Mathison, the Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency, to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the latest estimate of the number of medical examinations for the all-work test of incapacity which have been scheduled but have not yet taken place. Mr. Mathison is away from Leeds on Benefits Agency business and he has asked me to reply on his behalf.

The number of medical examinations scheduled but not yet carried out as at 1 October 1995 was 64,247. This figure is made up of four weeks appointments scheduled from 1 October 1995 and includes an extra 33 per cent, which our experience has shown, fail to attend their appointment. The figure is provisional and subject to change.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people (a) passed and (b) failed the new incapacity benefits all work test in the Greater Manchester areas. [38587]

The administration of incapacity benefit is a matter for Mr. Peter Mathison, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member with such information as is available.

Letter from Ursula Brennan to Mr. Robert Litherland, dated 23 October 1995:

The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked Peter Mathison, the Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency, to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the number of people that a) passed and b) failed the new Incapacity Benefit All Work Test in the Greater Manchester area. Mr. Mathison is away from Leeds on Benefits Agency business and he has asked me to reply on his behalf.
Information is not available in the form that you requested for the Greater Manchester area. However, I can tell you that, for the period from 13 April to 30 September 1995, 16,984 people passed the all work test and 1,556 failed the all work test in the Manchester Lead Site. The Lead Site includes the Manchester Disability Benefits Centre and the following Benefits Agency District Offices, many of which are located within the Greater Manchester area:
  • South Cheshire
  • Manchester Central
  • Manchester Trinity
  • Manchester South
  • Oldham
  • Sale/East Cheshire
  • Salford
  • Stockport
  • Tame side
  • Blackburn/Accrington
  • Bolton/Farnworth
  • Burnley/Pendle/Rossendale
  • West Pennine
  • Wigan/Leigh

I hope you find this reply helpful.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many medical reports in respect of incapacity benefit have been carried out in each region; what is the average delay in producing a report; and how many are outstanding at the latest date. [37090]

The administration of incapacity benefit is a matter for Mr. Peter Mathison, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Peter Mathison to Mr. Jeff Rooker, dated 23 October 1995:

The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about how many medical reports in respect of Incapacity Benefit have been carried out in each region; what is the average delay in producing a report; and how many are outstanding at the latest date.

Figures for the Benefits Agency's Medical Services (BAMS) operations are not available by region, they are however, available for each of the 11 major medical services centres. The BAMS computer system records the number of medical examinations carried out rather than the number of reports. A medical report is produced following each medical examination and reports are normally written on the day the examination is carried out.

Figures for the number of medical examinations carried out this year, in the period ending 31 August, are at Annex A.

However, figures are not available for the average delay in producing a report, nor for the number of reports outstanding.

I hope you find this reply helpful.

Number of medical examinations carried out in respect of incapacity benefit

Management unit

May 1995

June 1995

July 1995

August 1995

Total

Birmingham317401,7752,8165,362
Bootle371,2712,5213,3527,181
Bristol154651,3852,3834,248
Cardiff08992,7243,9217,544
Edinburgh1128091,6661,8194,406
Glasgow4351,9092,2413,6148,199
Leeds621,6702,4914,0468,269
Manchester961,3382,0293,8207,283
Newcastle429131,5182,7245,197
Sutton321,0992,8643,4877,482
Wembley437412,2044,1907,178
Total90511,85423,41836,17272,349

This data is provisional and is subject to change.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if leaflet 1B214 describing the new all work test is available in all DSS/Benefits Agency offices, including those in Birmingham; and from what date. [36616]

IB 214 is a detailed leaflet on the incapacity benefit all-work medical test, produced primarily for advisers. The leaflet has been available since May to anyone who rings the freeline number—0800 868868—and it has been available from DSS local offices since mid-August 1995.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how the new incapacity benefit will affect those suffering from asthma. [38312]

The new medical test of incapacity takes account of the effect of all medical conditions. The basis of the test is the effect of a medical condition on the ability to work and not he medical condition itself. The symptoms of conditions such as asthma may vary in intensity across time from mild to severe. The new test is designed to take account of the variability of symptoms and is not a snapshot of the claimant's capacity to work at a point in time.