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Incapacity Benefit

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what estimate the Government have made of the (a) prevalence and (b) value of incapacity benefit fraud among those benefit recipients who do not live in the UK; [8992]

(2) how the Government seek to prevent fraud by incapacity benefit recipients who do not live in the UK; and how much has been spent in each year since 1997 on the prevention of such fraud. [8993]

Mrs. McGuire: The 2001 National Benefit Review of IB Fraud indicated that fraud in IB is very low. There is no reason to believe it would be any higher in those claiming abroad who are subject to the same periodic medical examinations to confirm they remain entitled to benefit as are UK based claimants.

No estimates have been made of the level of fraud amongst those claiming incapacity benefits from abroad and there are no additional measures in place to counter such fraud. Therefore information is not available as to how much has been spent on the prevention of such fraud.

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people living abroad are receiving incapacity benefit; and if he will make a statement. [9691]

Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 5 July 2005]: As at February 2005, there were 9,800 incapacity benefit and severe disability allowance claimants living overseas.

Incapacity benefit is payable to recipients living in European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland under the European Community's social security regulations. It is also
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payable under bilateral social security agreements to recipients who live in the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands or in one of the countries in the list.

Non-EU/EEA countries where incapacity benefit is payable under bi-lateral agreements:

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many incapacity benefits claimants there are in each local authority area; and what proportion of the working age population they represent. [9864]

Mrs. McGuire: The information has been placed in the Library.
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Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the projected numbers of people on incapacity benefit are for (a) 2010–11, (b) 2020–21, (c) 2030–31, (d) 2040–41 and (e) 2050–51, broken down by rate of benefit. [9949]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 5 July 2005]: Between 1979 and 1997 the number of people receiving incapacity benefit rose from 700,000 to 2.5 million—the equivalent of an additional 2,000 inactive people every single week. However, between November 1997 and November 2004 inflows declined by around 30 per cent. This has resulted in the slowing down of the growth in the caseload since 1997. In fact in the year to February 2005 the caseload fell by 29,000—a small but significant change, reflecting the success of our management of the economy and the success of our welfare to work policies.

Projections of the number of claimants ignore the progress we have made since 1997. At least a million claimants (the Shaw Trust estimate 1.5 million) receiving incapacity benefit say they expect to work in the future, given the right support. We are already providing this support in the Pathways to Work pilots, which are doubling their recorded job entries, but we want to do even more and that's why we will be publishing a Green Paper in the autumn outlining our proposals. Our ambition is to move a million people off incapacity benefit and into work.

The available information is in the following table.
Projected incapacity benefit claimants in the UK for years shown, broken down by benefit rate.

Invalidity benefit—basic2307411(13)0
Incapacity benefit—short-term lower rate100113108107108
Incapacity benefit—short-term higher rate99118117115119
Incapacity benefit—long-term1,2631,7831,8921,8641,951
Incapacity benefit—earnings-related19465900

(13)Indicates figures below 500.
1.Figures are rounded to the nearest thousand and shown in thousands.
2.These projections do not take account of any future changes to the welfare system.
DWP projections based on figures underlying HM Treasury's Annex A in the Budget Report.

Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether there is an established mechanism by which the view of disabled people on the proposed incapacity benefit reforms are taken in to account; whether a report has been commissioned to consider the views of the disabled people in reform of the incapacity benefit system; and if he will make a statement. [10757]

Margaret Hodge: The views of disabled people are central to the development of our proposals for the reform of incapacity benefit and the consultation process follows the guidance set out in the code of practice on consultation published by the Cabinet Office in January 2004.

Consultation on this issue has been ongoing since the publication of our Green Paper on Pathways to Work in November 2002. Since the publication of the five year strategy and as we continue to develop our proposals the Department is engaged in a range of meetings and events with stakeholders to ensure that we capture as much input as possible.

Once our forthcoming Green Paper is published in the autumn we will undertake a formal consultation period of 12 weeks in line with the code of practice on consultation. The Green Paper will be available in a range of formats and will be publicised through a number of events for stakeholders and through a range of activities on the internet, including stakeholder websites.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what plans he has to (a) pilot and (b) evaluate the effects of benefit sanctions within incapacity benefit; and what research he has commissioned into the effect on incapacity benefit recipients of being sanctioned for failure to attend a work-focused interview; [11851]

(2) pursuant to his answer of 22 June 2005, Official Report, column 1076W, on Pathways to Work, what the diagnoses were of those sanctioned; and what proportion were receiving incapacity benefit for mental health conditions. [11861]

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Mrs. McGuire: People claiming incapacity benefit in Pathways to Work areas may be sanctioned for failing to attend or take part in a work focused interview (WFI) with a Jobcentre Plus personal adviser. Specific information on the diagnosis of those sanctioned is not available.

There have been an insufficient number of sanctions to warrant a specific study of their effects. However, the Department is regularly monitoring the numbers and is currently reviewing priorities for future evaluation. As part of the evaluation of the Pathways pilots the Department has commissioned studies to examine the experiences of incapacity benefit customers and personal advisers, including sanctions imposed.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his estimate is of the proportion of incapacity benefit claimants in the UK who were aged over (a) 40, (b) 50, (c) 55, (d) 60 and (e) 65 in (i) 1985–86, (ii) 1990–91, (iii) 2000–01 and (iv) the latest year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [963]

Mrs. McGuire: The information is not available in the format requested. The available information is in the table.
Sickness benefit (SB), invalidity benefit (IVB), severe disability allowance (SDA) and incapacity benefit (IB) claimants in Great Britain by age group at dates shown

Year ending
Quarter ending
March 1991February 2001November 2004
All ages1,398,2001,972,0002,692,1002,696,500
Under 40327,900432,500780,500782,600
65 and over99,300221,70027,40030,100

1.Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
2.Claimant" figures include all credits only cases.
3.Sickness/invalidity benefit was replaced by incapacity benefit in April 1995.
Information directorate 1 per cent. sample for 1986 and 1991. 5 per cent. sample for 2001 and 2004.

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