Social Security Benefits: Disability

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 6th July 2018.

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Photo of Jim Fitzpatrick Jim Fitzpatrick Labour, Poplar and Limehouse

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, when HM Courts and Tribunals Service started writing to disabled and unwell appellants to request that they complete and return a new enquiry form requiring confirmation that they wish to continue with their appeal for personal independence payments or employment and support allowance and who have already provided the required information in an SSCS1; and how many of those forms have been sent to date.

Photo of Rory Stewart Rory Stewart The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

The Social Security and Child Benefit (SSCS) Direct Lodgement Centre (DLC), based in Bradford, has since April 2013 dealt with the receipt, compliance checking and case creation of all SSCS appeals for England and Wales. This includes appeals against decisions on all Department for Work and Pensions administered benefits, alongside the following from HMRC: Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits, and Child Benefit.

Following the launch and acceptance of a lodged appeal the DLC will forward to one of 7 Regional Centres for progression of the case. The prescribed form for a lodgment of an appeal is the SSCS1 form, and on receipt of a compliant appeal in this form the DLC would not issue a further hearing enquiry form. However to ensure access to justice, the DLC accepts appeals in any format, usually received in the form of a letter. This may not contain all the relevant information and in these circumstances a Hearing Enquiry form is sent to the appellant asking for the details to be completed, allowing 14 days for a response, and is not restricted to Personal Independence Payments or Employment Support allowance, when not received on the prescribed for the enquiry form is sent on any type of benefit appeal.

Within the Direct Lodgment Process, we are not aware of any process were enquiry forms are routinely sent on an appeal received on an SSCS1 form. The process to send a hearing enquiry form out when an appeal is received in letter has been the process from July 2013. The number of forms that have been sent out since 2013 is 108,202.

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