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Welfare Reform on the Web (December 2003): Social Security - UK

HOUSING BENEFIT: SOCIAL SECURITY COMMISSIONER DECISIONS

Welfare Benefits Law and Practice, Issue No. 6, September 2003, p.6

Housing benefit can be backdated for up to twelve months from the date on which the claimant made the claim, providing there is a "good cause" for failing to make the claim earlier. Where a claimant suffers from proven mental illness, the Commissioner suggested that decision-makers should consider what would have been a typical reaction of a claimant with that mental illness.

(See also: Community Care Law and Practice, Issue No. 6, September 2003, p.19)

INJURY TO BENEFITS

S. Hurn

Community Care, Oct.23rd-29th 2003, p.40

Discusses the difficulties faced by people with brain injuries in claiming disability living allowance (DLA).

MAKING WORK PAY

B. Gordon

Working Brief, issue 149, 2003, p.18-19

A central plank of the government's welfare-to-work strategy has been to ensure that people are better off in work compared to remaining on benefits. Article looks at how government could improve work incentives through the tax credit system, by increasing childcare costs covered by the Working Tax Credit, by encouraging take up of credits, and by raising the minimum wage.

PROGRESS IN IMPROVING THE MEDICAL ASSESSMENT OF INCAPACITY AND DISABILITY BENEFITS

National Audit Office

London: TSO, 2003 (House of Commons paper, session 2002/03; HC1141)

Report finds that following significant changes to the original contract with Schlumberger, performance improvements in medical assessment of claimants have been achieved. Processing times for claims for both incapacity and disability benefits have improved. The standard of medical reports has improved, and steps are being taken to improve the range of other medical evidence used to assess benefit claims, but the number of appeals lost as a result of problems with medical evidence remains high. Most customers are satisfied with the service they receive from Schlumberger, but a small percentage continue to be sent home unseen due to overbooking of appointments.

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