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Mr. Welsh: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what steps are being undertaken to establish the means by which pensioners prefer to have their pensions paid. [129452]

Mr. Rooker: Pensioners are routinely asked to specify which method of payment they prefer when making a claim to Retirement Pension from the choices of Post Office or ACT into a bank or building society.

Currently over 50 per cent. of new pensioners are choosing to have their pension paid into a bank or building society account.

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Incapacity Benefit

Mr. Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many claimants over the last five years in (a) the United Kingdom, (b) Scotland and (c) South West Scotland District have had their Incapacity Benefit withdrawn after an all work test carried out by the Benefits Agency Medical Services; how many of these claimants requested a review; how many went to appeal; and how many of these (i) reviews and (ii) appeals resulted in benefit being re-instated. [129498]

Mr. Bayley: The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is as follows.

Entitlement to Incapacity Benefit requires the claimant to provide evidence of incapacity. An initial award of benefit is made if there is acceptable medical evidence to support the claim. Subsequently, incapacity is assessed under the relevant medical test: during the first 28 weeks of incapacity, where the claimant has a recent work record, this is the own occupation test; after 28 weeks, or from the start of the claim where the claimant has not recently worked, it is the All Work Test (AWT) which was replaced from 3 April 2000 by the Personal Capability Assessment. If the relevant test is not satisfied, benefit is disallowed from that point. Incapacity is reassessed from time to time to check continuing entitlement.

Information on disallowances following the All Work Test is in table 1 (Great Britain) and table 2 (Scotland). The national data on benefit disallowances shown in table 1 are derived from a different source, and are collected over a different period from the available data for Scotland in table 2. The two tables are therefore not directly comparable. Disallowances include claimants who have failed to return the All Work Test questionnaire or attend for medical examination.

Data on appeals are in table 3. The time lag between disallowance, lodging and hearing an appeal means there is no direct relationship between decisions to disallow benefit and appeals made and heard in each year.

There has never been a requirement in Incapacity Benefit for a person who is dissatisfied with their decision to apply for a review. Since September 1999 a claimant may ask for an unfavourable decision to be reconsidered and revised within a one month time limit.

Table 1.

Great BritainTotal AWT disallowances

(16) From the introduction of Incapacity Benefit (IB) on 13 April 1995


Includes credits only disallowances


These figures for All Work Test disallowances are taken from a 100 per cent. count of adjudication decisions from the benefit computer system. Multiple decisions are given where increases for dependants are also claimed

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Table 2.

Total AWT disallowances30,70026,02020,760
South West Scotland District
Total AWT disallowances2,8402,8202,380


1. The year is taken from 1 March to 28(9) February in each year. Data on disallowances are not available from this source for the period 13 April 1995 (the introduction data of IB) up to and including 31 August 1996. Because of changes to the recording system, terminations due to the All Work Test are unreliable for November 1998.

2. The Government Office Region figures from February 2000, are derived using the claimant's postcode. Prior to this date the GOR figures were derived using the local office serial number.

3. Includes credits only disallowances.


Five per cent. scan of the benefit computer system of benefit spells ending and will exclude some clerically held cases. Figures are not directly comparable to those in Table 1.

Table 3.

All Work Test appeals19951996199719981999
Great Britain
Number cleared at hearing3,03838,47351,15362,60357,151
Found in favour of the appellant1,47118,02422,16225,17523,646
Percentage found in favour48.446.843.340.241.4
Number cleared at hearing1,1737,3137,8979,69611,321
Found in favour of the appellant5983,2733,8374,5555,729
Percentage found in favour51.044.848.647.050.6


1. Appeals data are in calendar years. Figures for 1999 are up to and including September 1999.

2. There is no breakdown of South West Scotland available.

3. Figures are based on cases at the Glasgow office of The Appeals Service, which covers all Scotland.


1. For figures prior to Autumn 1997, 100 per cent. extract from ITS computerised records.

2. For figures after Autumn 1997, 100 per cent. download from the Appeals Service GAPS computer system.

Child Support Agency

Mr. Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many non-resident parents who have not co-operated with the Child Support Agency have (a) been processed through Child Support Agency enforcement procedures, (b) been made to pay maintenance, (c) had arrest warrants issued against them and (d) been imprisoned. [129249]

Angela Eagle: The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive, Mrs. Faith Boardman. She will write my the hon. Friend.

Letter from Mike Isaac to Mr. Chris Ruane, dated 10 July 2000:

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