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Disability Living Allowance

Volume 405: debated on Thursday 15 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate (a) the additional cost and (b) the number of beneficiaries of reforming attendance allowance by (i) reducing the amount of time a person has to be ill to receive the benefit of three months, (ii) introducing a lower rate care component, (iii) introducing a lower and higher rate mobility component and (iv) abolishing attendance allowance and removing the upper age limit on claiming disability living allowance; and if he will set out the take-up assumptions used in making these estimates. [111678]

Estimates are not available in the form requested. However, if the qualifying period for Attendance Allowance, during which a severely disabled person must meet the main qualifying conditions (ie must require, or be likely to require either frequent attention from another person in connection with their bodily functions or continual supervision or watching over to avoid substantial danger to themselves or others) was reduced from 6 months to 3 months, the annual extra spend on the benefit would be about £50 million1 at current benefit rates and some 320,000 successful claimants a year would be affected2.Up-to-date estimates are not available. However, information from the 1996/97 Disability Survey suggested that with a take-up rate of 50 per cent, the annual cost of extending entitlement to the mobility component and to the lowest rate care component of Disability Living Allowance to people who claim after the age of 65 would be in the region of £3.1 billion

3 at current benefit rates. Some 1.35 million people would gain a mobility component and about 0.3 million people would gain the lowest rate care component.

1 Costs are rounded to the nearest £10 million.
2 Caseloads based on data taken from Attendance Allowance administrative records, and projected forward to 2003/04 by PBR forecast changes in new claims.
3 Costs are rounded to the nearest £100 million and are subject to a significant margin of error reflecting underlying uncertainties of modelling entitlement from available survey data. Costs include effects on income related benefits.