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Incapacity Benefit

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 2 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people received incapacity benefits or severe disablement allowance on the grounds of dependency on (a) drugs and (b) alcohol in each year since 1997 for which information is available. (185923)

The Government’s drugs strategy was published on 27 February 2008. It stresses the need for the benefit system to support re-integration and personalisation. We will ensure that it provides the right level of support, and also creates incentives for people with drug problems to move towards treatment.

We will put in place arrangements which require drugs misusers on benefits who are not already in treatment to attend a discussion with an appropriate specialist treatment provider or partner organisation.

Entitlement to incapacity benefit is not linked to any specific diagnosis or condition. Entitlement, which is assessed by the personal capability assessment, depends on the effect that a person’s condition has on their ability to carry out a number of activities relevant to work. Most people with drug or alcohol dependency also have other conditions, such as mental illness; and it is these other conditions which result in entitlement to benefits.

We do record the diagnosis of incapacity that is written on a claimant’s medical certificate. The table shows the number of people receiving incapacity benefits whose recorded diagnosis includes drug or alcohol dependency.

Working age incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance claims which includes a recorded diagnosis of alcoholism or drug abuse from the claimant’s medical certificate.Number as of May:AlcoholismDrug abuseAlcoholism as proportion of caseloadDrug Abuse as proportion of caseload199726,80021,9001.030.84199829,80025,3001.130.96199932,50027,9001.231.05200035,58030,9501.321.15200138,66036,2301.401.32200241,04040,6901.481.47200343,42043,8901.571.58200445,94046,1201.661.66200547,74047,9801.741.75200649,20048,5501.831.81200751,41049,8901.941.89Notes:1. May 1997 to May 1999 (inclusive) numbers are uprated to WPLS totals and rounded to the nearest hundred.2. May 2000 to May 2007 (inclusive) numbers are rounded to the nearest 10.3. Totals may not sum due to rounding.4. May 1997 to May 1999 (inclusive) numbers are based on a 5 per cent. sample, and are therefore subject to a degree of sampling variation.5. These figures should be used as a guide to the current situation only.6. Causes of incapacity are based on the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, published by the World Health Organisation. Source: DWP Information Directorate 5 per cent. sample and 100 per cent. Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study