Benefit Eligibility

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 19th November 2001.

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Photo of Ms Annabelle Ewing Ms Annabelle Ewing Scottish National Party, Perth

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the procedural steps for assessing eligibility, reviewing, appealing and making payment of (a) severe disablement allowance, (b) maternity allowance, (c) industrial injuries disablement allowance, (d) reduced earnings allowance/retirement allowance, (e) attendance allowance and (f) disability working allowance, indicating which of the offices of his Department and his agencies in Scotland handle each of these steps.

Photo of Maria Eagle Maria Eagle The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

holding answer 2 November 2001

This is a matter for Alexis Cleveland, Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Alexis Cleveland to Annabelle Ewing, dated 16 November 2001

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has asked me to respond to your recent Parliamentary Question asking if he will list the procedural steps for assessing eligibility, reviewing, appealing and making payment of (a) severe disablement allowance (b) maternity allowance (c) industrial injuries disablement allowance (d) reduced earnings allowance/retirement allowance (e) attendance allowance and (f) disability working allowance, indicating which of the offices of his Department and his agencies in Scotland handle each of these steps.

Information is not available about Disability Working Allowance as this was replaced by the Disabled Person's Tax Credit in October 1999, and is now administered by the Inland Revenue. Details of eligibility and payments for the other benefits listed have been placed in the House of Commons Library.

The revision and appeals process is the same for all benefits. When an appeal is received in the Benefits Agency (BA), the Decision Maker considers whether there are any new grounds raised that would enable the decision to be revised. If not, a written submission is prepared and it and copies of the evidence are sent to The Appeals Service. At the same time a copy of the submission and the evidence is sent to the appellant and any known representative. The appellant is also sent a pre-hearing enquiry form to complete and return to the Appeals Service to indicate whether he/she wants his/her appeal to be dealt with by an oral or paper hearing.

On receipt of the appeal submission and documents, the appeal is registered by the Appeals Service. When the pre-hearing enquiry form is received from the appellant, the appropriate type of hearing is arranged. Where an oral hearing has been requested, the panel member(s) who will form the appeal tribunal are allocated according to type of appeal and all interested parties (appellant, representative and BA) are notified of the date, time and place of the hearing.

The panel members who form the appeal tribunal are independent of the Department for Work and Pensions and are appointed by the Lord Chancellor. When they have made their decision, all interested parties are notified. If the appeal tribunal finds in the appellant's favour, the BA is then responsible for implementing the tribunal's decision.

I hope this is helpful.

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