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Supplementary Benefit

Volume 975: debated on Monday 3 December 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will pub- lish the estimated numbers of supplementary benefit claimants who will lose and those who will gain for each of the changes outlined in Cmnd. 7773; and if he will make a statement of the assumptions on which these estimates are based.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if any changes in the scale rates for children outlined in paragraph 16 of Cmnd. 7773 will result in a decrease of payment for any age group.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish the estimated maximum and minimum increases and decreases in staff numbers for each of the changes outlined in Cmnd. 7773; and if he will make a statement of the assumptions on which such estimates are based.

The information requested is as follows:—

Approximate staff cost or saving
Revised legal structure
Individual claims to be decided by local supplementary benefits officers
Future of the Supplementary Benefits Commission*
Written notices of assessment+100
Officers to help with cases of special difficulty+400
Bringing supplementary benefit and national insurance rates into line*
Qualifying period for long-term rates
More benefit for children*
Entitlement of people leaving full-time education under the age of 19-500
Standard contributions towards housing costs from non-dependants-150
Treatment of resources-130
Equal treatment for men and women+200
Other benefit changes*
These staffing implications are estimated on the basis of a detailed analysis of the changes which are proposed to existing procedures and an estimate of the volume of changes, based on statistical data on existing claimants and on local office work returns. They will also depend on the detailed provisions of the new regulations. Savings or costs of less than 50 staff units are indicated by an asterisk.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he expects to increase the numbers of home visits to supplementary benefit claimants as a result of the changes outlined in Cmnd. 7773.

There is nothing in Cmnd. 7773 affecting the criteria on which home visits are made.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what the maximum amount of benefit a pensioner could lose as a result of the changes outlined in the White Paper "Reform of the Supplementary Benefits Scheme" (Cmnd. 7773) would be.

The changes outlined in Cmnd. 7773 are planned to take place at the same time as next year's uprating of benefits, and there will be special transitional rules to prevent a loss of overall income. Thus, no pensioner would suffer such a loss unless he had capital in excess of £2,000 and was therefore no longer entitled to supplementary benefit. It is not possible to say what the maximum loss in such a case might be until the benefit rates for November 1980 have been determined and individual cases have been re-assessed next year.