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Benefits

Volume 31: debated on Friday 12 November 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what would be the cost of raising (a) the ordinary supplementary benefit scale rates to the long term rates and (b) the short term national insurance rates to the higher national insurance rates;(2) what would be the cost of increasing the rate of noncontributory invalidity benefit to the rate paid to claimants drawing the contributory invalidity benefit.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will estimate the cost of introducing a disaggregation between men and women claiming supplementary benefit on the assumption that no one is made worse off.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Pontypridd (Mr. John) on 4 May 1982,—[Vol. 23, c. 30.]

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the cost of raising the death grant by £20.

On the present basis of entitlement about £11·5 million in a full year.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what would be the cost of increasing by 25 per cent. the children's supplementary benefit rates.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what would be the cost of excluding the surrender value of insurance policies from the capital rate calculations for eligibility for supplementary benefits.

The information necessary to make a precise costing is not available. However, such information as we have suggests that the cost at the present time might be something under £250,000.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will estimate the cost of ensuring that no claimant is caught in the invalidity benefit trap.

The estimated benefit cost of removing the invalidity benefit trap is about £18½ million at 1982 benefit rates. In addition there would be administrative costs of about £2½ million.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what have been the savings in each year since 1979 from changes made in the rules governing the claims of students to supplementary benefit since 1979.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the criteria for payment of supplementary benefit by order book for (a) the long-term sick and (b) the long-term unemployed.

Combined payments of sickness benefit and supplementary benefit are normally paid by giro order for 168 date from the day of the claim to sickness benefit, and by order book thereafter, that is, from the date when invalidity benefit becomes payable. Where there is no title to sickness benefit, it will usually be possible to pay supplementary benefit by order book at an earlier stage. In the case of unemployed claimants, supplementary benefit is paid by order book to claimants who attend quarterly at the unemployment benefit office and to those over 60 who satisfy the conditions for the long-term scale rate.