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All-work Test

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he expects the replacement for the all-work test to come into operation. [58212]

Mr. Timms: We aim to introduce reforms to the test alongside national roll-out of the New Deal for Disabled People personal adviser service, which is being considered for April 2000. Different approaches are likely to be trailled before then as part of the development of the enhanced test.

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what consultation documents he proposes to publish on the test he intends to use to replace the all-work test. [58129]

Mr. Timms: In our consultation document "A new contract for welfare: Support for Disabled People", we set out our plans to reform the All-Work Test so that it provides positive information about what people can do, as well as assessing what they cannot do. We have no plans to change the way in which the test determines entitlement to benefit. "Support for Disabled People" makes clear our intention to work with disability organisations and to consult them as we take forward work on the enhancements to be made to the test. We do not envisage a further formal consultation document on these changes.

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his estimate of the number of people currently drawing benefit who will move into work as a result of the new test which will replace the all-work test for each of the first five years after the introduction of the new test. [58125]

Mr. Timms: The All-Work Test will continue as now to assess the level of an individual's incapacity, to determine entitlement to incapacity benefits. The intention in reforming the test is to ensure that it also produces

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positive information about the person's functional capacities. This information will feed into a wider assessment of employability by a personal adviser, who will help people with long term illness and disability to plan a return to work. No assumptions have been made about the numbers who will leave incapacity benefits as a result of these initiatives.

Means-tested Benefits

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the numbers of individuals currently living in households claiming one or more means-tested benefit and the estimated figures for (a) five and (b) 10 years hence. [58135]

Angela Eagle: The information is not available in the form requested. The number of beneficiaries of one or more means-tested benefit totalled 14,490,000, as at May 1997.



















"Support for Disabled People"

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his estimate of the increase in the take-up of the disability working allowance as a result of the changes announced in "Support for Disabled People". [58123]

Mr. Timms: The information is not available.

Disability Working Allowance will be replaced by the Disabled Person's Tax Credit before the introduction of the changes announced in "Support for Disabled People".

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on his estimate of the increase in the numbers claiming means-tested benefits, as a result of the changes by benefit set out in "Support for Disabled People" for each of the first five years after implementation. [58127]

Mr. Timms: The information is not available in the format requested.

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We do not expect any significant increase in the total numbers making a new claim for means-tested benefits as a result of the changes set out in the consultation document "Support for Disabled People".

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his estimate of the cost arising from an increased take-up of those services referred to in paragraph 17 of "Support for Disabled People". [58131]

Mr. Timms: Additional resources will be made available to meet the cost of possible increased take-up of training and other services in the single gateway pilots. Detailed work on costs is still being undertaken. An important reason for piloting the single gateway is to measure any additional take-up of services and the associated costs in order to inform decisions about national implementation.

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people under 20 claiming the severe disablement allowance will also be (a) eligible and (b) claiming income support after he has introduced the changes set out in Support for Disabled People. [58126]

Mr. Timms: The information is not available in the form requested.

It is estimated that, after the introduction of the proposed changes set out in the Consultation Paper "Support for Disabled People", there will be approximately 8,000 new claims for Incapacity Benefit a year from people under the age of 20 who are disabled from birth or early in life or long term sick and who cannot work. In the first year of their claim, Income Support will provide a higher rate of benefit and at any one time about 6,000 are likely to receive it. After a year, they will receive a higher rate of Incapacity Benefit of (£78.30 at April 1998 rates) which, in most cases, will remove the need for Income Support.

Those young people aged 16 to 19 who are on Severe Disablement Allowance at the point of change will also be transferred to the new higher rate of benefit after one year. It is estimated that approximately 14,000 of that group will receive Income Support prior to transfer.

Gateway to Work

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on the penalties for those who do not turn up for interviews as proposed in the Gateway to Work. [58124]

Angela Eagle: It will be a condition of benefit that individuals of working age not in full-time work attend an interview in order to discuss the help that is available to them. It is not unreasonable to expect clients who seek state support to attend an interview with a personal adviser to discuss their options, and to make it a condition of benefit that they should do so.

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his estimate of the additional costs in staff time which will be required to initiate the personal adviser scheme detailed in the Gateway to Work. [58130]

Angela Eagle: Additional resources will be made available to fund the provision of personal advisers for all benefit claimants of working age in the single gateway

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pilot areas. Detailed work on costs is still being undertaken. An important reason for piloting the single gateway is to measure costs in order to inform decisions about national implementation.

Disabled People (Income Support)

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many of the incapacity benefit recipients who will cease claiming as a result of the changes set out in support for disabled people will (a) begin and (b) continue to draw income support. [58128]

Mr. Timms: No existing recipient will cease to receive Incapacity Benefit or Incapacity Benefit paid with Income Support as a result of the changes to the contribution conditions and treatment of occupational and personal pension income proposed in our Consultation Paper "A New Contract for Welfare: Support for Disabled People".

Incapacity Benefit

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he expects to begin monitoring the most cost-effective ways of keeping in contact with people on incapacity benefit; and when he expects to be able to report on these experiments. [58132]

Mr. Timms: Currently, contact with people receiving Incapacity Benefit is limited to occasional checks on their level of incapacity. We believe the current system too often consigns people to a life on benefit and we want to maintain closer contact with them throughout their claim. In this way, we can ensure we are up to date about their circumstances, and provide them with advice; for example about the help available with return to work and about the benefits to which they may be entitled. We will try out different methods of contacting people and consider how best to develop the methods which seem most helpful and successful. We consider this to be no more than good practice and do not plan a formal report on it.

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if those individuals drawing private health insurance which has been individually arranged may continue to draw incapacity benefit under the current rules. [58134]

Mr. Timms: As our Consultation Paper "A New Contract for Welfare: Support for Disabled People" made clear we propose, on future claims to Incapacity Benefit, to take some account of payments from permanent health insurance arranged by employers, as well as occupational and personal pensions. We have no plans to take account of permanent health insurance or other forms of health insurance where this is arranged by the individual.


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