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Unemployment Benefit

Volume 14: debated on Monday 30 November 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what instructions have been issued by his Department with regard to the payment of unemployment benefit to those who give up employment in furtherance of occupational early retirement schemes before they reach the State pensionable age;

Department. Figures for offences relating to alcohol and drugs for the years 1970 to 1979 (the latest 10 years for which data are available) are given in the table following:

(2) whether it is assumed in proposing terms for early retirement from the public service that those accepting the Government's invitation to participate in such schemes will be entitled to unemployment benefit at the appropriate rate until they reach State pensionable age.

A person who leaves his employment of his own accord in order to take early retirement may be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefit for up to six weeks unless he had just cause for leaving; and if he is over age 60 and his occupational pension is more than £35 a week, his unemployment benefit is in any event reduced by the amount by which his pension exceeds that figure. Staff at unemployment benefit offices are instructed to refer all cases of this kind to the insurance officer who is responsible in the first instance for deciding entitlement to unemployment benefit. I understand that the terms for early retirement from the public service do not take into account eligibility for unemployment benefit.