Written questions and answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2017-19 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
Asked by Stella Creasy
(Walthamstow)
Asked on: 02 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: EEA Nationals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proof of settled status is required for an EEA national who has been granted settled status and is applying for benefits.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 09 September 2019

Eligibility for income-related (means-tested) benefits, such as Universal Credit, depends on a person’s immigration status in the UK.

EEA nationals who are habitually resident in the UK and have been granted settled status are eligible to access income-related benefits.

Mechanisms are in place between DWP and the Home Office to verify settled status through the Habitual Residence Test Process.

Q
Asked by Diana Johnson
(Kingston upon Hull North)
Asked on: 02 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance: Medical Examinations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of employment support allowance assessment meetings were carried out (a) at the claimant’s home and (b) in assessment centres in the last 12 months.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 09 September 2019

Between August 2018 and July 2019, 2.2 per cent of face-to-face Work Capability Assessments for Employment and Support Allowance claims were carried out at the claimant’s home and 97.8 per cent were carried out in an assessment centre.

Q
(Hornsey and Wood Green)
Asked on: 02 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Low Incomes
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Government plans to take to mitigate the potential effect of increased prices in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal on people on low incomes in receipt of out of work or disability benefits.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 09 September 2019

The Government has been clear that leaving the EU with a deal is its preferred option.

However, as a responsible government we continue to plan for a range of exit scenarios, including a no-deal. As part of the process we continue to monitor the effects of EU exit on the economy. Rates of benefits continue to be reviewed in line with the relevant legislation for uprating.

DWP has contingency plans in place to ensure we can continue to provide our vital services to those who need them. Individuals will continue to be able to access DWP benefits and services on the same basis as they do now.

Q
(Hornsey and Wood Green)
Asked on: 02 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Disability Living Allowance: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the target time for processing a claim to renew disability living allowance for a child under 16 years of age is; and what estimate he has made of the (a) proportion and (b) total number of renewal claims which were processed within that target time in (i) 2010, (ii) 2015 and (iii) 2019.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 09 September 2019

We do not hold robust data in relation to the number of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) claims for a child under 16 years of age for 2010. At this time the figures for DLA included all renewals with no split in allocation for child versus adult.

Please find attached a table containing the data that we hold in relation to the number of DLA renewals for a child under 16 years of age for the financial years 2014/15 and 2018/19. Note that the target time for clearance reduced from 44 days in 2014/15 to 40 days in 2018-19

DLA Child New Renewals

2014-2015

2018-2019

Total Renewal Cleared

68,148

70,389

% Renewals Cleared within 40 days target

82.6%

% Renewals Cleared within 44 days target

86.1%

Total Renewals Cleared within target

58,680

58,171

Q
(Hornsey and Wood Green)
Asked on: 02 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Disability Living Allowance: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her Department's target time is for processing new claims for disability living allowance from a child under the age of 16; and what (a) percentage and (b) total number of new claims were dealt with within that target time in (i) 2010, (ii) 2015 and (iii) 2019.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 09 September 2019

We do not hold robust data in relation to the number of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) claims for a child under 16 years of age for 2010. At this time the figures for DLA included all claims with no split in allocation for child versus adult.

Please find attached a table containing the data that we hold in relation to the number of DLA new claims for a child under 16 years of age for the financial years 2014/15 and 2018/19.

DLA Child New Claims

-

2014-2015

2018-2019

Total New Claims Cleared

95,161

113,815

% New Claims Cleared within 40 days target

76.6%

96.2%

Total New Claims Cleared within target

72,920

109,444

Source:

Disability Living Allowance Computer System (DLACS)

Notes:

New Claims - includes Normal Rules and Special Rules

Please note that the data supplied are derived from unpublished management information which was collected for internal Departmental use only, and have not been quality assured to National Statistics or Official Statistics publication standard. They should therefore be treated with caution.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 02 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Department for Work and Pensions: Brexit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what meetings her Department has had with Bristol City Council to discuss preparations for the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 09 September 2019

The Government has been clear that leaving the EU with a deal is its preferred option. The Government is, however, continuing to plan for a range of scenarios, including a no deal exit from the EU. These contingencies ensure that DWP can continue to provide our vital services and that individuals will continue to be able to access DWP benefits and services on the same basis as they do now.

MHCLG are the department responsible for EU exit preparedness for Local Authorities.

Q
(York Central)
Asked on: 02 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Personal Independence Payment: Medical Examinations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will ensure that all personal independence payment assessments are recorded on the request of a claimant.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 09 September 2019

The audio recording of face-to-face consultations is not currently part of the contractual specification for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments. However, claimants may use their own equipment to audio record their face-to-face consultation, should they wish to, subject to any reasonable conditions the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) chooses to impose on such recordings.

We want to improve the service that PIP claimants receive and in response to the Paul Gray Independent review and feedback from the Work and Pensions Select Committee, we announced in June 2018 that we would be piloting video recording of PIP assessments. The pilot commenced on 26 November 2018 and 192 video recordings have been completed.

We are currently evaluating the findings from the video recording pilot and will provide an update on our future plans once this has been completed.

Q
(Washington and Sunderland West)
Asked on: 02 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Low Incomes
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 22 August 2019 to Question 277684 on low incomes, whether the hardship payments are (a) new policy and (b) in addition to support already available; and how much those payments will be.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 09 September 2019

As confirmed in the response to the previous question, The Government has put in place contingency plans for a range of exit scenarios. These contingencies ensure that DWP can continue to provide our vital services and that individuals will continue to be able to access DWP benefits and services on the same basis as they do now.

DWP continues to monitor the effects of EU exit on the economy.

Q
(Motherwell and Wishaw)
Asked on: 02 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment: Disability
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Disability Employment Adviser Leaders are based in (a) Scotland, (b) Wales, (c) Northern Ireland, and (d) each region of England; and what estimate she has made of the number of Disability Employment Adviser Leaders in those areas in each of the next three years.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 09 September 2019

Each area receives an appropriate allocation of DEA’s and DEAL’s based on its size and claimant caseload. As at the end of August 2019 the Department has 104.29 full time equivalent (FTE) Disability Employment Adviser Leaders in place across the Jobcentre Network.

The following table provides a breakdown of the number of FTE DEAL’s allocated by area as at the end of August 2019.

Area

DEAL (FTE)

Scotland

9.26

Wales

7.00

North West

9.26

North East

9.24

North Central

9.90

West Midlands

12.04

North and East Midlands

13.44

London and Essex

14.42

South East

10.23

South West

9.50

The figures provided are taken from the Departments ‘Activity Based Management’ (ABM) system. The data is derived from unpublished management information, collected and intended for internal departmental use and has not been quality assured to National Statistics or Official Statistics publication standard.

The Northern Irish Assembly has devolved responsibility for social security benefits. As such any questions relating to staffing figures should be directed to the Department for Communities in Northern Ireland.

Grouped Questions: 285339
Q
(Motherwell and Wishaw)
Asked on: 02 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment: Disability
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what criteria her Department uses to assign Disability Employment Advisor Leaders to locations throughout the UK.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 09 September 2019

Each area receives an appropriate allocation of DEA’s and DEAL’s based on its size and claimant caseload. As at the end of August 2019 the Department has 104.29 full time equivalent (FTE) Disability Employment Adviser Leaders in place across the Jobcentre Network.

The following table provides a breakdown of the number of FTE DEAL’s allocated by area as at the end of August 2019.

Area

DEAL (FTE)

Scotland

9.26

Wales

7.00

North West

9.26

North East

9.24

North Central

9.90

West Midlands

12.04

North and East Midlands

13.44

London and Essex

14.42

South East

10.23

South West

9.50

The figures provided are taken from the Departments ‘Activity Based Management’ (ABM) system. The data is derived from unpublished management information, collected and intended for internal departmental use and has not been quality assured to National Statistics or Official Statistics publication standard.

The Northern Irish Assembly has devolved responsibility for social security benefits. As such any questions relating to staffing figures should be directed to the Department for Communities in Northern Ireland.

Grouped Questions: 285338
Q
Asked by Bob Stewart
(Beckenham)
Asked on: 03 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Dementia
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of benefit application procedures on (a) claimants with Alzheimer's disease and memory loss related illnesses and (b) their family and carers.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 09 September 2019

There is no specific policy covering the service offer for people suffering from or impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. However, it is DWP Policy to ensure customers who may be vulnerable or who have additional support needs, including those with Alzheimer's disease, are offered extra help and advice about claiming DWP benefits. This is regularly updated through Gov.uk.

Grouped Questions: 286186 | 286187
Q
Asked by Bob Stewart
(Beckenham)
Asked on: 03 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Dementia
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the merits of having a designated person in job centres and social security offices to provide information to claimants with Alzheimer's disease and memory loss-related illnesses and their carers.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 09 September 2019

DWP is committed to providing the best possible support for all our claimants, including the most vulnerable in society. We are continuously reviewing and improving the service for vulnerable people, including its claims processes, to ensure that it is accessible and responsive to their needs.

Work coaches undergo a comprehensive learning journey which equips them with the tools, skills and behaviours required to support claimants with a range of disabilities and health conditions. This includes tailoring the support we provide to the needs of the customer, and the disabilities and health conditions they present with, and also extends to signposting to expert partner organisations for further support. Where the claimant is unable to attend the job centre due to their disability or health condition, we are able to offer a home visit from a DWP Visiting Officer.

Q
Asked by Bob Stewart
(Beckenham)
Asked on: 03 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Dementia
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will take steps to simplify the benefit claims process for (a) claimants with Alzheimer's disease and other memory loss related illnesses and (b) their families and carers.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 09 September 2019

There is no specific policy covering the service offer for people suffering from or impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. However, it is DWP Policy to ensure customers who may be vulnerable or who have additional support needs, including those with Alzheimer's disease, are offered extra help and advice about claiming DWP benefits. This is regularly updated through Gov.uk.

Grouped Questions: 286184 | 286187
Q
Asked by Bob Stewart
(Beckenham)
Asked on: 03 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Dementia
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her Department's policy to target early advice on benefit entitlements to (a) sufferers of Alzheimer's disease and memory loss-related illnesses and (b) their families and carers.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 09 September 2019

There is no specific policy covering the service offer for people suffering from or impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. However, it is DWP Policy to ensure customers who may be vulnerable or who have additional support needs, including those with Alzheimer's disease, are offered extra help and advice about claiming DWP benefits. This is regularly updated through Gov.uk.

Grouped Questions: 286184 | 286186
Q
Asked by Stephen Timms
(East Ham)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 03 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Chronic Illnesses and Disability
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the working age benefit freeze on people with (a) disabilities and (b) long term health conditions.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 09 September 2019

An Impact Assessment of the benefit freeze was published in 2015, this is available in the link below.

https://www.parliament.uk/documents/impact-assessments/IA15-006C.pdf

This benefit freeze excluded Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance, the Support Group component of Employment and Support Allowance (for those not expected to look for work), disability premia in working-age benefits and the disabled elements of tax credits. This provides protection for those facing the additional cost of disability.

Q
(Woking)
Asked on: 03 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Personal Independence Payment: Medical Examinations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the assessment procedure for personal independence payment.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 09 September 2019

Since introducing the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Assessment in 2013, we have made significant improvements to our services in response to stakeholder feedback.

In particular, we have carefully considered and learnt from two independent reviews of PIP as well as the 2018 Work and Pensions Select Committee’s Report on PIP assessments. To offer a transformed service to people with disabilities and health conditions, the DWP Health Transformation Programme will be integrating the services that deliver PIP and WCA from 2021.

Q
Asked by Paul Girvan
(South Antrim)
Asked on: 04 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Personal Independence Payment: Medical Examinations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will take steps to ensure that future contracts for carrying out personal independence payment assessments contain provision for financial penalties for cases where inaccurate advice has been given to the Department in relation to their decision on an applicant's health and well-being.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 09 September 2019

The current contracts for Personal Independence Payment assessments include numerous financial remedies, including several related to the quality of the assessment report. The terms and conditions of the future contracts for health assessments are still being worked through, but will include financial remedies and will build on what we have learned from previous contracts.

Q
Asked by Paul Girvan
(South Antrim)
Asked on: 04 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Personal Independence Payment: Appeals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average cost was to her Department of personal independence payment appeals which over-turned the decision of her Department over the last two years.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 09 September 2019

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Q
(West Dunbartonshire)
Asked on: 04 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Asbestos: Diseases
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of people who have an asbestos-related disease other than mesothelioma who are unable to claim compensation due to the fact that a liable insurer cannot be identified.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 09 September 2019

The Department does not hold this information.

Q
(West Dunbartonshire)
Asked on: 04 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Asbestos: Diseases
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the report, Estimates of the impact of extending the scope of the payment scheme in the Mesothelioma Bill to include other asbestos related diseases and other non-asbestos work related diseases, published in June 2013, if she will review and update that report.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 09 September 2019

The Mesothelioma Act 2014 established the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS). The DMPS makes lump sum payments to people who contract diffuse mesothelioma from negligent exposure to asbestos in the workplace, but are unable to pursue a civil claim because their former employer no longer exists and their former employer’s insurer cannot be traced. The DMPS is funded by a levy paid by insurers who are active in the Employer’s Liability insurance market.


This Scheme makes payments to eligible sufferers of diffuse mesothelioma only. Since this disease is always fatal and always caused by asbestos, it has been possible to implement DMPS as a simple payment scheme. Other asbestos-related diseases and other non-asbestos work related diseases have more uncertainties regarding cause, severity and aggravation by other factors and this complexity is not compatible with a straightforward tariff-based scheme such as the DMPS. The report published on 6 December 2013 highlighted the adverse impact on the amount of the levy should the scope of the Scheme be widened, which would also require a re-designing of the scheme, the legislation, and the commercial requirements.

There are no plans to update the 2013 report or extend eligibility to the DMPS.

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