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Exceptional Payments Additions

Volume 932: debated on Thursday 26 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many persons in the last 12 months for which figures are available received payments as an exceptional payments addition; what were the five commonest reasons for an exceptional payments addition, what was the total cost to public funds in the last 12 month period; and what percentage of recipients of exceptional payments additions were: (a) pensioners and (b) in regular employment.

I assume that the hon. Member has in mind exceptional circumstances additions paid under paragraph 4(1)(a) of Schedule 1 to the Supplementary Benefits Act 1966. These additions are not made to persons in full-time work. In December 1975, 886,000 pensioners were receiving such additions as part of their weekly payments; and they represented 81 per cent. of those receiving such additions. The most common reasons for additions were heating, special diets and laundry. Other information requested is not available or could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.