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Disability Allowance

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 8th November 2011.

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Photo of Virendra Sharma Virendra Sharma Labour, Ealing, Southall

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

(1) what the cost was to the public purse of severe disablement allowance payments due to a main disabling condition of chronic pain in each local authority area in the last year for which figures are available;

(2) how many people received severe disablement allowance due to a main disabling condition of chronic pain in each local authority area in the last year for which figures are available.

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

The information as requested is not available.

The term chronic pain is a general one that refers to persistent pain lasting anywhere from three to six months, therefore chronic pain can be a result of a large number of diagnoses that cause pain. The medical condition of severe disablement allowance claimants is recorded using a grouped version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD10), and the only codes that specifically indicate chronic pain are those for ‘Chronic intractable pain’ and ‘Other chronic pain’, both of which come under the general heading of ‘Pain not elsewhere classified’.

Figures for ‘Pain not elsewhere classified’ are provided in the following table; however, this is unlikely to be an accurate reflection of those individuals with chronic pain. The cost to the public purse cannot be calculated because the numbers are too small to quote for severe disablement allowance with this medical code by local authority.

The following table shows the number of severe disablement allowance claimants in Great Britain and abroad, May 2010 to February 2011

All diagnoses Pain not elsewhere classified
May 2010 233,710 1,060
August 10 231,550 1,050
November 2010 229,000 1,030
February 2011 226,300 1,020
Notes: 1. Data are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. To qualify for incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance, claimants have to undertake a medical assessment of incapacity for work called a personal capability assessment. Source: DWP Information, Governance and Security Directorate 100% Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study

Under the employment support allowance regime, new claimants have to undergo the work capability assessment. From April 2011 incapacity benefit recipients will begin also to undertake this assessment. The medical condition recorded on the claim form does not itself confer entitlement to incapacity benefit or employment support allowance. So, for example, a decision on entitlement for a customer claiming incapacity benefit on the basis of alcoholism would be based on their ability to carry out the range of activities related to physical and mental function, assessed by the personal/work capability assessment.

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