To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what research has been commissioned to ascertain the reasons for the variations in take-up of targeted benefits; and if he will make a statement on the findings. 
The Department for Social Development has commissioned no research to ascertain individuals' reasons for claiming or not claiming targeted benefits. It has, however, commissioned research to estimate the level of benefit take-up and to establish the extent to which there is variation in that level and to determine factors which appear to be contributing to such variations. The research commissioned was to estimate the take-up of income support and jobseeker's allowance (income based) in Northern Ireland, and the results of the research were published in May 2002.The findings of the research published in 2002 indicated that:
the take-up of income support was estimated at 76 per cent. by caseload and 84 per cent. by spending; and
the take-up of jobseeker's allowance (income based) was estimated at 75 per cent. by caseload and 79 per cent. by spending.
In addition, the Social Security Agency has commissioned research to investigate the degree of variation in take-up of disability living allowance, both within Northern Ireland and between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. This work is in progress.