§ Mr. Hanson
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security to what extent the services of civil service medical officers were made use of in clearing the recent backlog of applications for disability living allowance; and if he will make a statement on the role of civil service medical officers in this regard.
§ Mr. Scott
The administration of disability living allowance is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member and a copy will be placed in the Library.
Letter from M. Bichard to Mr. David Hanson, dated 3 February 1993:As Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency, it is my responsibility to answer questions about relevant operational matters. I am therefore replying to the points raised in your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security. You asked to what extent the services of Civil Service Medical Officers were made use of in clearing the recent backlog of applications for Disability Living Allowance (DLA); and on the role of Civil Service Medical Officers in this regard.When the backlog of DLA claims arose following the launch of the benefit a number of measures were taken which I described in my letter of 19 October 1992 to all MPs. In addition, as a temporary measure, the opinions of Civil Service Medical Officers were sought to clarify some of the comments on individual cases to enable adjudication officers to quickly reach a decision. This action was taken on approximately 56,000 claims. However, I must emphasise that the decision on entitlement to benefit is always made by the adjudication officer and at no time has this been altered.I hope you find this reply helpful. A copy of this reply will appear in the Official Report. A copy is also being placed in the Library.