asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, under the proposed Social Security and Housing Benefit Bill, a widow who is receiving a widow's pension will be entitled to receive sick pay for up to eight weeks when off sick but after more than eight weeks will not be entitled to sickness benefit.
All widows will be entitled to statutory sick pay, subject to the qualifying conditions. As statutory sick pay will be treated as occupational sick pay for all social security purposes, it will not therefore affect the payment of widow's benefit.Providing she has paid requisite contributions, a widow will be able to claim sickness benefit after exhausting her entitlement to statutory sick pay. Whether she will improve her benefit depends on the rate at which her widow's benefit is payable. If it is less than the amount of sickness benefit to which she is entitled, she will receive a balance of personal benefit and the full additional component of widowed mother's allowance or widow's pension on top. If she qualifies for invalidity pension, her entitlement to the two benefits is aggregated and she will be entitled to receive a basic component up to the standard rate of a category A retirement pension and additional component up to the current maximum payable on the contributions of a single contributor (£8·64). These rules operate currently and no change is contemplated.