|Previous Section||Home Page|
Campaign |Telephone |Leaflet take-up |responses to |to date |date ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- DSS Council Tax Benefit |37,366 |3,972,379 Child Support: changes regulations |5,401 |68,337 Pension Law Review Committee |1,787 |13,248 Personal Pensions |5,893 |214,313 Disability Awareness |<2>- |<2>- State Pension Age |654 |3,524 Working with Benefits |82,632 |82,632 Family Credit |<1>101,970 |134,632 Disability Working Allowance |13,596 |37,900 Child Support Agency Introduction of Child Support Agency |40,300 |348,474 <1> Cumulative since October 1992. <2> Not yet run.
Benefits Agency 1993-94 Campaigns and Promotions |Form of |Number of |Response |responses ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Prescribed Industrial Diseases |Coupon |6,040 |(phase one) 12-Bronchitis and/or Emphysema in |Leaflets issued |473,000 Coal Workers
Mr. Scott : Severe disablement allowance was introduced in November 1984 to replace non-contributory invalidity pension. SDA is a non-means- tested benefit, paid at a basic rate, with dependency additions. In December 1990, three age-related additions were introduced to concentrate additional money on those who became disabled early in life. In April 1992, the residence and presence conditions were eased in line with the then newly introduced disability living allowance. In December 1993, changes were made to the transitional regulations to allow women who may have qualified for NCIP, but for the household duties test, to qualify for SDA, even though they did not make a claim for SDA. The upper age limits for claiming and supplying medical evidence are being equalised for men and women, following a challenge to the rules in the European Court of Justice- -case C328/91.
(2) under what circumstances (a) existing and (b) new claimants of severe disablement allowance will undertake the proposed medical test of incapacity.
Mr. Scott : I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 11 and 21 February at columns 498 and 45. New claimants will have to fulfil the requirements of the new objective medical incapacity test. In practice, we expect that there will be sufficient evidence in the majority of cases to show that the claimant fulfils the requirements of the new test without any further investigation.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer of 15 February, Official Report, columns 694-96, what was the budgeted and actual cost of each campaign listed.
Campaign |Budget (£)|Cost (£) ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- DSS Headquarters Change in legislation Council tax benefit |460,000 |456,000 Child support: changes in regulations |325,000 |117,000 Pension law review committee |145,000 |55,000 State pension age |95,000 |93,000 Personal pensions |220,000 |63,000 Disability Disability working allowance |1,200,000 |1,054,000 Family Credit Working with benefits |3,700,000 |3,679,000 Family credit |385,000 |387,000 Benefits Agency Prescribed industrial disease 12 bronchitis and/or emphysema in coal workers |350,500 |336,000 Severe cold weather payment |80,000 |76,000 Year of the elderly |582,000 |490,000 Contributions Agency Phone book advertising |150,000 |89,391 Mailing to employers |2,390,000 |<1>- Exhibitions |74,000 |44,229 Child Support Agency Introduction Child Support Agency |850,000 |803,000 <1> Exercise not completed.
Mr. Scott : Five members of the assessment panel have particular expertise in, and knowledge of, the wide range of disabilities exhibited by people with cerebral palsy, and the limiting effects these disabilities may have on body and mind function. In addition, around one third of the panel's membership are experts in the spectrum of disabilities and needs associated with disordered neuromuscular function, developmental decay, mobility and locomotion problems, intellectual and sensory dysfunction which may feature in one or more combinations in people with cerebral palsy.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will consider extending the 56-day period for qualifying for disability working allowance to assist claimants in securing a job ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if the computer error involving the loss of £44.5 million from his Department's social fund has yet been traced and rectified ; and if he will make a statement.
Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. Martin Redmond, dated 28 February 1994 :
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking about the computer fault which affected the Social Fund.
I have assumed that your question refers to the recent report by the Comptroller and Auditor General on the Social Fund Account for 1992-93. You will be aware that this highlighted a difference between the amount of loans outstanding shown in the Social Fund Account, and the corresponding figure from the local microcomputer system. The main cause of this problem has been traced to a fault in the computer program which adds up individual loan balances on the microcomputer system. This resulted in certain categories of loans (amounting to an estimated £44.5 million) being excluded from the statistical report of total loans outstanding at the end of each month.
The Comptroller and Auditor General confirms that there was no evidence that this fault has led to a cash loss ; individual loan records have not been affected. He also acknowledges the considerable progress made by the Benefits Agency in resolving these accounting problems.
The Agency is currently introducing a new Social Fund computer system which will be fully operational by May 1994. This new system has been designed to provide a fully integrated national network, resolving the weaknesses of the original microcomputer system by capturing all categories of loans outstanding.
I hope you find this reply helpful.
Mr. Jon Owen Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how long it takes the Child Support Agency to undertake a review of a maintenance assessment ; and what is the target length of time.
Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Mr. Jon Owen Jones, dated 28 February 1994 :
I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Question about the processing of reviews of child maintenance by the Child Support Agency.
Where either parent experiences a change of circumstances (for example an increase in salary) or at the annual review stage, the assessment is reviewed. You have asked for a breakdown of the time taken to perform such a review. Information on clearance times is being collected but, because of the relatively low volumes it is too early for reliable information to be available. At this stage we are, therefore, unable to estimate how long it should take to complete a review.
I am sorry I cannot be more helpful.
Mr. Hall : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how much money the Child Support Agency will recover in the financial year 1993 -94 ; how much money has so far been recovered by Child Support Agency in this financial year ; and how much money the Child Support Agency will recover in 1994-95, 1995-96 and 1996-97.
Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Mr. Mike Hall, dated 28 February 1994 :
I am replying to your question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about the amount of money the Child Support Agency will recover.
The Agency has been set a target to recover £530 million in benefit savings in the financial year 1993-94. For the period from April 1993 to December 1993, £214.5 million was recorded as recovered. This figure does not represent the total amount of savings that will be recovered during this period, as some will be calculated retrospectively.
Column 698Implementing the policy changes will have an effect on the Agency's achievement this year. Whilst it is too early to be precise about the impact, it is clear that there will be a shortfall against the target.
Figures are not available for how much money the Agency will recover in 1994-95, 1995-96 and 1996-97, although it has been estimated that in the long run around £900 million a year will be recovered.
I hope this reply is helpful.
Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many absentee fathers who have not contributed maintenance have been traced by the Child Support Agency ; (2) what is the number of fathers whose whereabouts have been reported by mothers, but from whom the Child Support Agency has not attempted to seek maintenance payments ;
(3) what proposals he has regarding fathers whose whereabouts are known to the Child Support Agency, but in respect of whom no action has been taken.
Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Mr. Jim Cunningham, dated 28 February 1994 :
I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Questions to the Secretary of State for Social Security about the Child Support Agency.
You asked how many absent parents who have not contributed maintenance have been traced by the Agency. To the end of December 1993, the Agency had issued maintenance enquiry forms to 344,000 absent parents. Figures were not kept on the proportion of these cases in which maintenance was not already being paid. We estimate, however, that about 50 per cent. of cases taken-on by the Agency were not already receiving maintenance. To the end of December 1993, the Agency's specialist tracing sections had successfully traced over 15, 000 absent parents.
You also asked for the number of absent parents whose whereabouts have been reported by parents with care, but from whom the Agency has not attempted to seek maintenance payments. I am sorry that figures are not available in the form you request. By the end of December 1993, however, the Agency had issued 711,000 application forms to parents with care. In 20,500 cases the Child Support Officer had agreed that the parent with care had good cause not to give information about the absent parent. Apart from cases in this category, and any applications found to be ineligible under the legislation, the Agency is pursuing maintenance in all cases. I hope this reply is helpful.