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Volume 114: debated on Wednesday 8 April 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether all pensioners whose sole income is the full national insurance pension are entitled to some supplementary benefit; and how the figures for the national insurance pension for a single person and married couple compare with the minimum they would be entitled to have their incomes increased to by supplementary benefit.

The amount of supplementary benefit payable, if any, is dependent upon the claimant's circumstances. Pensioners who have available capital in excess of £3,000 are not entitled to supplementary benefit. Unless they are entitled to special additions, pensioners in the following categories who are in receipt of standard rate basic retirement pension (in respect of couples, where their pensions are based on the contribution record of only one partner) would not be entitled to supplementary benefit:

  • (a) Single person living as member of someone else's household.
  • (b) Single resident in accommodation provided by a local authority under part III of the National Assistance Act 1948 (unless they have continuing housing requirements for example water rates).
  • (c) Single person or both partners of a couple in hospital.
  • (d) Exceptionally, a single woman householder aged under 65 or a married couple with very low net housing requirements (but they may be entitled to housing benefit supplement).
  • The relevant rates of retirement pension and supplementary benefit are as follows.

    Current rate £

    Rate from 6 April £

    Retirement pension
    On own insurance38·7039·50
    On spouse's insurance23·2523·75
    Supplementary pension
    Single aged under 65



    Single aged 65 and over

    l 239·10

    1 239·85


    1 261·85

    1 263·05







    Boarder personal expenses5
    Resident in Part III
    Hospital in-patient (personal expenses)7
    Couple (both in-patients)15·5015·80

    1 Housing requirements not covered by housing benefit (for example water rates) payable in addition.

    2 Figures include heating addition of £2·20 paid automatically to householders aged 65 and over, less £1 available scale margin.

    3 Where at least one of the couple is aged 65 or over.

    4 Figures include a housing addition of £3·90 (£4·05 from 6 April).

    5 Paid in addition to an amount for the board and lodging charge plus any meals not included in the charge (subject to certain limits).

    6 The rate for single persons coincides with the standard retirement pension rate. For married couples the figure is doubled.

    7 Continuing housing requirements paid in addition. Where only one of a couple are in hospital, the basic supplementary benefit is unchanged for eight weeks when it is reduced in line with the reduction in retirement pension.