The Countess of Mar tabled a question that asked the Government who has legal ownership of the contents of historic disability living allowance claimants’ files; and whether they will be destroyed in their entirety, destroyed after personal material is returned to claimants, retained in archives or maintained as continuing evidence for claimants who are migrated to personal independence payments from disability living allowance.
In his written answer on 30 January 2013, the Minister for Welfare Reform (Lord Freud) replied:
Disability living allowance (DLA) claimant files are owned by the DWP and stored in secure accommodation. Original documentation submitted in support of a claim, for example a birth certificate or passport, is copied and returned to the claimant and are not kept on file.
Documents that support the current decision on DLA are kept until the decision is changed. To support the requirements of the Data Protection Act, any documents which no longer support the decision, or the entire file where entitlement to DLA has ceased, are destroyed 14 months after the decision date unless there are outstanding issues such as an ongoing prosecution or appeal.
Once someone has been invited to claim personal independence payment (PIP), and a decision on their entitlement to PIP has been made, their entitlement to DLA will end. The DLA file will then be destroyed 14 months later following the decision or once outstanding issues have been cleared.