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House of Lords written question – answered on 6th November 2009.

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Photo of Baroness Thomas of Winchester Baroness Thomas of Winchester Spokesperson for Work and Pensions

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people with autism are claiming incapacity benefit.

Photo of Lord McKenzie of Luton Lord McKenzie of Luton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (also in the Department for Communities and Local Government), Department for Communities and Local Government, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (also in the Department for Communities and Local Government), Department for Work and Pensions, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Communities and Local Government) (also in Department for Work and Pensions), Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions) (also in the Department for Communities and Local Government)

The available information is provided in the table.

Great BritainIncapacity Benefit/Severe Disablement Allowance claimants with Pervasive Development Disorders as main condition
February 2009 4,530

Source: Department for Work and Pensions Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.


1. Caseload figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

2. Causes of incapacity are based on the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, published by the World Health Organisation.

3. To qualify for incapacity benefit (IB)/severe disablement allowance (SDA), claimants have to undertake a medical assessment of incapacity for work which is called the personal capability assessment. Therefore, the medical condition recorded on IB/SDA claim form does not itself confer entitlement to incapacity benefits, so, for example, the decision for a customer claiming IB on grounds of mental or behavioural disorders would be based on their ability to carry out the range of activities in the personal capability assessment; or on the effects of any associated mental health problems.

4. IB/SDA claimants whose main diagnosis is autism are recorded within the diagnosis code for pervasive development disorders, and which is unable to be broken down further.

5. Employment and support allowance replaced incapacity benefit and income support paid on the grounds of incapacity for new claims from 27 October 2008.

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