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Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what training and guidance his Department gives on length of awards to staff making decisions on the award of disability living allowance and attendance allowance; and if he will make a statement; 
Jonathan Shaw: All claims for disability living allowance (DLA) and attendance allowance (AA) are decided by decision makers who are required to make decisions fairly and impartially based on the application of the law to the facts of the individual case.
The Department provides decision makers with guidance on deciding the duration of awards within the Decision Makers Guide and the Decision Makers Procedural Guide. In addition, comprehensive up to date medical guidance has been developed and approved by medical experts in their field, for the majority of impairments that give rise to claims for DLA and AA. The guidance for each impairment includes interpretation of clinical information, definitions of clinical technology and guidance on the likely duration of the care and/or mobility needs arising from that impairment.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how often recipients of the mobility component of disability living allowance who list as a disability (a) AIDS, (b) arthritis, (c) back problems, (d) blindness, (e) chest disease, (f) deafness, (g) diabetes, (h) epilepsy, (i) frailty, (j) heart disease, (k) learning difficulties, (l) malignant disease, (m) mental health causes, (n) multiple sclerosis and (o) muscle, joint or bone problems have their awards reassessed. 
Once entitlement to disability living allowance is established, the frequency of reassessment varies according to the individual circumstances of the case. For example, a claim may be reassessed if a customer reports a change in their circumstances, or information is received suggesting that there has been a change of circumstances since the original award of benefit was made. In addition, where a fixed period award is nearing its end point, the customer is invited to submit a new claim which is then assessed on the current evidence before a new decision is made on entitlement. Other claims may continue throughout the period of the award without being reassessed.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of applications for (a) disability living allowance and (b) attendance allowance have been refused in each of the last three years. 
|Unsuccessful claims for disability living allowance and attendance allowance|
| Notes: 1. Claims received: It is not possible for a claimant to make concurrent multiple claims. A customer can make more than one claim in a year. However, a new claim cannot be made until a decision on the previous claim has been made. 2. Success rates are the number of claims awarded as a percentage of the number of decisions in that yearnot a percentage of the number of claims received. Source: Management Information Statistics. This information is generated by the disability living allowance/attendance allowance computer system for management purposes. It is not a National Statistic. Management information records and counts events. This means that the number of claims refused are not directly comparable to the number of claims received because a decision to refuse or accept a claim is not necessarily made in the same time period.|
Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many residents of Bexleyheath and Crayford receive the (a) lower and (b) higher rate of the mobility component of the disability living allowance. 
|Disability living allowance: Cases in payment by mobility component type, Bexleyheath and Crayford parliamentary constituency, February 2008|
| Notes: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Some additional disclosure control has been applied. 3. Totals show the number of people in receipt of an allowance, and exclude people with entitlement where the payment has been suspended, for example if they are in hospital. 4. Figures are published on the DWP website at:|
Source: DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many staff were employed by the (a) Employment Service and (b) Benefits Agency in each year for which records are available, broken down by region; 
Jonathan Shaw: The Benefits Agency was established on 10 April 1991. The Employment Service was established on 2 April 1990. Both ceased to exist after March 31 2002 when Jobcentre Plus and The Pension Service were launched.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidelines have been issued to Jobcentre Plus employees in relation to making individuals better off in work calculations; which benefits or funding streams are (a) included and (b) excluded from the calculation; and if he will make a statement. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what guidelines have been issued to Jobcentre Plus employees in relation to making individuals better off in work calculations; which benefits or funding streams are (a) included and (b) excluded from the calculation; and if he will make a statement. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
An extensive range of learning is available to equip Personal Advisers to use the Better Off Calculator effectively. Personal Advisers attend a two-day technical event which instructs them
on how to use the calculator. Up-to-date learning material and comprehensive technical guidance is also available. The Better Off Calculator has been designed to navigate the user through a series of pre-set screens and this helps to ensure that all relevant information is captured.
A Better Off Calculation takes into account the following benefits, credits and statutory payments:
Child Special Allowance
Child Tax Credit
Constant Attendance Allowance
Council Tax Benefit
Disability Living Allowance
Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance
Employment and Support Allowance
Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
Second Adult Rebate
Severe Disablement Allowance
Statutory Adoption Pay
Statutory Maternity Pay
Statutory Paternity Pay
Statutory Sick Pay
War Disablement Pension
War Widows Pension
Widowed Parents Allowance
Working Tax Credit
It also takes in to consideration the following income types:
Child Maintenance payments
Benefits in payment
Tax Credits (including 50+ additional WTC) in payment
Income from Borders
Income from current/previous tax year-
Taxable Social Security Benefit
Benefits in kind
Self employed earnings
All other incomes are not taken in to consideration.
At present, there are some limitations to the calculations the Better Off Calculator can perform, especially where there are complex rules or when discretion has to be applied; for example, with self-employment cases, students or persons from abroad when a calculation has to be done manually. Jobcentre Plus updates the Better Off Calculator twice each year to capture legislative changes, new initiatives and to implement further improvements.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the (a) total and (b) average amount paid to households receiving local housing allowance above the five bed rate was in the most recent month for which figures are available, broken down by the smallest geographical area for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) how many households are in receipt of local housing allowance above the five bed rate (a) nationally and (b) broken down by the smallest geographical area for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Kitty Ussher [holding answer 3 November 2008]: Two of the intended effects of the local housing allowance are to promote financial independence and personal responsibility. Therefore payments are normally made directly to tenants so they have personal responsibility for paying their rent. However, we recognise that there will always be a small proportion of tenants who will struggle with this, so there are circumstances in which the local authority has the power to pay benefit direct to the landlord.
These are if the local authority either considers that the tenant is likely to have difficulty in relation to the management of their own affairsfor example, the tenant is known to have a learning disorder or a drug/alcohol problem that would mean they are likely to have difficulty handling a budgetor considers it improbable that the tenant will pay their rent; for example, the local authority is aware that the tenant has consistently failed to pay the rent on past occasions without good reason.
Additionally, in housing benefit generally, payment direct to the landlord is a statutory requirement if a tenant has built up rent arrears of eight weeks or more, or is having deductions from their income support or jobseeker's allowance to pay off rent arrears. If this occurs, the local authority has the discretion to continue paying direct to the landlord when the level of arrears drops to below eight weeks.
Jonathan Shaw: Incapacity benefit is a benefit for people whom, due to ill health or disability, it would be unreasonable to require to work. People who are able to work can claim jobseekers allowance.
However, with help and support, many people on incapacity benefits are able to move into work. Through
Pathways to Work, we support people on incapacity benefits to prepare to return to work. Pathways to Work has helped over 94,000 claimants into work since October 2003.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) if he will make a statement on his plans for the reorganisation of Jobcentre Plus offices and processing centres in the South East of England; 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 20 October 2008]: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your questions asking if he will make a statement on his plans for the reorganisation of Jobcentre Plus offices and processing centres in the South East of England; and if he will make a statement on the future of the Jobcentre Plus office at Sunley House, Aylesbury. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
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