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Benefit Claimants

Volume 987: debated on Friday 27 June 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list for each of the national insurance benefits the number of claimants (a) denied and (b)

Date*BenefitNumbers paid at a reduced rate
2 June 1979Sickness4,000
10 May 1979Unemployment19,800
31 March 1979Maternity Allowance5,800
30 November 1978Retirement Pension:—
(b)women on own insurance214,000
(c)women on husband's insurance40,000
(d)Widows on late husband's insurance (see also (g)below)76,000
30 November 1978Widows Benefits:-
(e)widows pension (see also (g) below)12,000
(f)Widowed Mother's allowance19,000
(g)Age-related widows retirement pension and widows pension9,000


1 per cent. sample of sickness benefit claimants.

Five per cent. sample of claimants to unemployment benefit or credits, 2·5 per cent. sample of maternity allowance awards in payment, 10 per cent. sample of beneficiaries of retirement and widows benefits.

* As at the same dates as given in the table. These are the latest available dates for each benefit.

†Widows' allowance, death grant and maternity grant are not payable at reduced rates because of a deficient contribution record.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the number of claimants denied unemployment benefit, sickness benefit and maternity benefit because they have exhausted their right to benefit at the latest available date.

On 14 February 1980, the latest available date, the number of claimants who had exhausted their right to unemployment benefit was 338,000. People making new claims to sickness benefit under the Social Security Act 1975 do not exhaust their title to benefit; they become entitled to invalidity benefit if they remain incapable of work for more than 28 weeks. Invalidity pension is payable up to age 70 (65 for women) or the date of retirement, if earlier.Prior to the introduction of the 1975 Act, entitlement to sickness benefit was receiving reduced benefit because of incomplete insurance records at the latest available date.

Information about claimants not receiving benefit because they failed to satisfy the contribution conditions is available only for sickness and unemployment benefit and the estimates for these benefits are 35,900* and 178,900* respectively. The estimated numbers of persons receiving benefit at a reduced rate because of a deficient contribution record are as shown in the table below:restricted to 312 days with no entitlement to invalidity benefit if insufficient contributions had been paid since the date of entry. Information as to the number of people who have not since requalified following such an exhaustion of sickness benefit is not readily available but there can be very few such cases. Maternity allowance is normally payable for a maximum of 18 weeks in respect of a confinement and the question of exhaustion of entitlement does not arise.