It is not for the Ombudsman to determine whether a person has a benefit entitlement and the extent of that entitlement. Those matters are for decision by AOs, and carry a right of appeal to a DAT and a SSC. It is not for the Ombudsman to question the decisions of appellate bodies.Such matters are referred to in this report only to place in context the administrative actions of BA, IST and SSC in their handling of Mr X’s case.
DSS operate a non-statutory compensation scheme, under which compensation can be paid to a claimant who has suffered delays in receiving Accumulated Depreciation benefit. The indicator of delay which triggers payment of compensation for loss of use of benefit in the case of payments of DLA is seven months. In cases where an appeal has been made to a DAT, a further twelve months are added. The indicator of delay for IS payments is two months. There is no set indicator of delay for appeals to a SSC.
Compensation issues in Mr X’s case were handled by BA as the agency responsible for administering the relevant benefits. Appendix A sets out the main events surrounding Mr X’s complaint, while Appendix B gives the meaning of the abbreviations used in the report. Mr X appealed to a DAT who on 20 January 1994 upheld the decision that he was not entitled to the care component of DLA. Mr X applied to have that decision set aside. On 19 July 1994 an AO maintained the decision that Mr X was not entitled to the care component of DLA.
BA told him that to ensure the full period was covered, he needed to appeal to a SSC against the DAT’s decision of 20 January 1994.Mr X did so. Meanwhile, in October 1994 a DAT had refused to set aside the earlier DAYs decision of 20 January 1994. On 28 April 1995 a DAT heard Mr X’s appeal against the AO’s decision of 19 July 1994. The DATE decided that Mr X was due the lowest rate of the care component of DLA from 19 May 1994 for life.