Skip to main content

Supplementary Benefit

Volume 78: debated on Friday 10 May 1985

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how much has been expended in supplementary benefit heating additions in the latest available period; and if he will break down the claimants by category.

Our most recent estimate is that some £400 million was spent in heating additions in the financial year 1984–85. A breakdown of the numbers of supplementary benefit claimants in different groups who receive a heating addition is only available at one point in a year. The latest figures are provisional estimates for December 1983.

Type of heating

Addition

All Supplementary Beneficiaries

All Pensioners

All Unemployed

Sick and Disabled

Lone Parents

Others

3. Central Heating Addition£2.05448202147195625
4. Central Heating Addition£4.105621332492412136
5. Age Related Heating Addition£2.054682581203852
6. Disabled Persons Heating Addition£5.051165484149
7. Estate Rate Heating Addition£4.101575111
8. Estate Rate Heating Addition£8.205122
9. Specified Heating Addition av.£3.6521
10. Other Heating Addition av.£2.51291411121
Totals*2,5871,441607138297105

* May not sum due to rounding.

† Less than 500.

Source: Annual Statistical Enquiry 1983 (provisional estimates).

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many supplementary benefit single payments in respect of draughtproofing or other named energy saving measures have been made in each of the last three years.

I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) on 28 November 1984 at column 525. I regret that comparable figures for 1983 and 1984 are still unavailable because they have been delayed by the recent strike at Newcastle central office.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many staff were responsible for dealing with supplementary benefit claims in each of the last five years for which statistics are available.

Returns of local office staff which sub divide those actually working on supplementary benefit from those on contributory benefit work have been kept only since May 1983. Additionally, it is not possible to give a separate figure for staff employed exclusively on claims work, as opposed to other tasks arising from supplementary benefits.However, the following figures for 1981 to 1983 relate to the number of staff allocated to do supplementary benefit work in local offices and the figures for 1984 and 1985 relate to the numbers of staff actually in post.

April of YearNumbers
198134,782
198234,220
198335,290
198437,639
198539,536

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services in what way attendance allowance will be accounted for in the assessment of costs under the Supplementary Benefit (Requirements and Resources) Miscellaneous Provisions Regulations 1985.

The Supplementary Benefit (Requirements and Resources) Miscellaneous Provisions Regulations 1985 amend regulation 11 of the Supplementary Benefit (Resources) Regulations 1981 to enable attendance allowance to be taken fully into account as a resource in assessing a person's entitlement to supplementary benefit, where that person is living in a residential care or nursing home.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what provision will be made under the Supplementary Benefit (Requirements and Resources) Miscellaneous Provisions Regulations 1985 for supplementary benefit payments to be paid in bulk to a home; and for what uses such supplementary benefit payments can be made.

The Supplementary Benefit (Requirements and Resources) Miscellaneous Provisions Regulations 1985 make no provisions for payments of supplementary benefit to be made in bulk to a home. Current legislation allows such payments to be made only in individual cases where the claimant has incurred serious debt.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services in respect of the Supplementary Benefit (Requirements and Resources) Miscellaneous Provisions Regulations 1985, which authority has a duty to ensure that assessment for care is made and provided for.

Supplementary benefit for people in all forms of board and lodging accommodation is paid on the basis of the accommodation in which the individual is resident and does not take account of any assessed need for that accommodation. The existing duties of both local authorities and health authorities in respect of those requiring residential or nursing home care remain unchanged. The local social service authorities and district health authorities also through the registration systems for residential care homes and nursing homes respectively ensure there are satisfactory standards in registered homes. A joint working party between this Department and the local authority associations has been considering the scope for improving collaboration between the Department and local authorities in relation to the support from public funds of those in residential care homes including the assessment of the resident's need for that type of care.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what duty is placed upon local authorities and health authorities to provide topping-up payments under the Supplementary Benefit (Requirements and Resources) Miscellaneous Provisions Regulations 1985.

The Supplementary Benefit (Requirements and Resources) Miscellaneous Provisions Regulations 1985 do not place any duty upon local authorities to provide "topping-up" payments but allow local authorities who wish to make such payments to do so in certain circumstances without affecting supplementary benefit entitlement. There are no provisions concerning "topping-up" payments by health authorities.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, under the Supplementary Benefit (Requirements and Resources) Miscellaneous Provisions Regulations 1985, local authorities have a responsibility for (a) social work input, (b) transfers and (c) attending case reviews.

The Supplementary Benefit (Requirements and Resources) Miscellaneous Provisions Regulations 1985 did not alter local authorities' statutory powers and duties with regard to people in need of residential care.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many unemployed persons aged between 20 and 25 years are in receipt of supplementary benefit; what is the average payment; and what is the total cost.

In December 1983, the latest date for which information is available, there were approximately 379,000 unemployed persons between 20 and 25 years (eg between their 20th and day before their 25th birthdays) in receipt of supplementary benefit. The average weekly payment was £23·75. Information on total cost is not available, as separate records of every payment to this age group are not maintained.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the total number of single payments made in 1983 to meet exceptional needs of those receiving supplementary benefit; what was the average amount paid; and if he will provide a breakdown of these totals into the major categories of payments.

The information is contained in table 19.2 of the DHSS Annual Statistical Enquiry, a copy of which is in the Library. The information relates to the December 1982 enquiry, the latest date for which figures are available.Figures from the "Annual Statistical Enquiry" relate to single payments made during the 12 months preceding the date of the inquiry to persons still in receipt of supplementary benefit at the time of the enquiry, and do not, therefore, record all the single payments made during the year.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish figures showing the total number of supplementary benefit claimants with additional requirements at the latest date for which figures are available, and the number in each of the following categories: (a) retirement pensioners and national insurance widows aged 60 years and over, (b) unemployed, (c) sick and disabled, (d) national insurance widows under 60 years and (e) one-parent families.

Provisional information at December 1983 is as follows:

Number of claimants 000's
Total number2,716
Retirement pensioners and National Insurance widows aged 60 and over1,446
Unemployed646
Sick and disabled150
National Insurance widows aged under 6013
One-parent families303

Source: Annual Statistical Enquiry 1983.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish figures showing the average amount and number of additional requirements to supplementary benefit by category of additional requirement.

Provisional information, December 1983, is as follows:

CategoryAverage amount*†Number of additional requirements 000's
All cases2·623,676
Heating additions
Standard rate*2·05563
Higher rate5·05379
Central heating: Lower rate2·05448
Higher rate4·10562
Age related2·05468
Disabled person5·05116
Estate Rate heating addition:
Lower rate4·1015
Higher rate8·205
Specified Heating Additions3·652
Others2·5129
Diet at lower rate1·45224
at higher rate3·35220
Haemodialysis rate9·601
Others5·961
Age addition·25417
Blind addition:
Claimant or wife1·25352
Claimant and wife2·501
Laundry1·56121
Domestic help3·592
Extra baths1·2713
Attendance expenses7·89
Clothing/Footwear1·4722
Furniture storage charges5·041
Hire Purchase additions2·582
Fares for visits to patients5·702
Anomaly additions2·741
Others11·7311
* A standard rate of additional requirement is laid down in regulations.
† Some claimants will receive more than one additional requirement.
‡ Less than 500.

Note: Some additional requirements given to supplementary pensioners and other claimants receiving the higher long term scale rate of supplementary benefit are subject to the available scale margin deduction (50p in 1983). The amounts shown do not take account of this deduction.

Source: Annual Statistical Enquiry 1983.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how much supplementary benefit went unclaimed in each of the last five financial years for which statistics are available.

The only information available is an estimate of £760 million derived from family expenditure survey data for the calendar year 1981.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what percentage of those eligible claimed (a) supplementary benefit, (b) family income supplement and (c) rent rebate, rate rebate or housing benefit in each of the last five financial years for which statistics are available.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many of those in receipt of unemployment benefit who have been unemployed for between six months and a year are also in receipt of supplementary benefit.

At November 1983 (the latest date for which figures are available) there were 82,500 persons in receipt of both unemployment and supplementary benefit who had been unemployed for between six months and a year.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many unemployed persons aged (a) between 16 and 19 years and (b) 20 and 25 years are in receipt of unemployment benefit; and how many have been receiving unemployment benefit for (i) up to six months and (ii) more than six months.

The information requested is:

Unemployment Benefit RecipientsAged 16–19Aged 20–25
Unemployed up to 6 months63,200147,100
Unemployed more than 6 months23,30063,100

Note The information relates to people between their 16th and the day before their 20th birthdays and between their 20th and the day before their 25th birthdays respectively.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many recipients of standard housing benefit he estimates currently have incomes above their supplementary benefit entitlement.

The majority of standard housing benefit cases will have incomes above their supplementary benefit entitlement. I regret that reliable information on which to base a more precise estimate will not be available until the end of this year, for the reasons I set out in my letter of 22 March to the hon. Member concerning take up estimates, a copy of which is in the Library.