asked Her Majesty's Government:
What independent information they are seeking, and with what funding, on the current needs of disabled people for income support, especially those too young, too elderly or too severely disabled to have any prospect of finding employment. [HL5326]
From 27 October 2008, income support paid on the grounds of incapacity or disability will be replaced by the new employment and support allowance for all new claims.
Employment and support allowance is a radical move away from the existing system of support. Our underlying principle is to help a person back into work where that is possible. We have made very clear that we will not write anyone off.
We recognise, however, that for the most severely disabled people, finding employment may not be an option. We will be targeting additional help and support on the most vulnerable through the support group and guaranteeing an income for those in the greatest financial need of £102.10 per week. For some people that is almost £16 a week more than the current income support rate.
In addition, severely disabled people with care or mobility needs may be eligible for disability living allowance which makes a valuable contribution towards the extra costs of disability and can be paid regardless of whether someone is in or out of work, or also receiving employment and support allowance. Similarly, attendance allowance contributes to the extra costs of disability for people who become disabled after the age of 65.
We will be evaluating the new benefit, including the commissioning of independent reports, to ensure it meets our aims and objectives and the needs of disabled people.