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The Social Security Bill 1998

The Social Security Bill attracted considerable attention on its passage through Parliament over the issue of cuts in benefits for lone parents, but the Bill is probably more significant for the changes being made to the way in which decisions are made in social security cases. The whole system of tribunals will be overhauled and fundamental changes made to the process of decision making in social security and other cases. The role of the Adjudication Officer (AO) will disappear and there will be a new system of reviewing decisions. Most of these changes are expected in 1999.

1 May 1998

The Social Security Bill 1998

The Social Security Bill attracted considerable attention on its passage through Parliament over the issue of cuts in benefits for lone parents, but the Bill is probably more significant for the changes being made to the way in which decisions are made in social security cases. The whole system of tribunals will be overhauled and fundamental changes made to the process of decision making in social security and other cases. The role of the Adjudication Officer (AO) will disappear and there will be a new system of reviewing decisions. Most of these changes are expected in 1999.

Under the present system, a decision on a claim is in most cases made by an Adjudication Officer. There is a right of appeal against an AO's decision to a tribunal, which is normally a Social Security Appeal Tribunal (SSAT). Certain questions go to other tribunals. Disability Appeal Tribunals (DATs) hear appeals concerning disability question...

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