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Students

Volume 172: debated on Thursday 17 May 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what consultations he has had with organisations of and for deaf people regarding the proposed definition of disability contained in his proposals for the Social Security Benefits (Student Loans) Amendment Regulations: and if he will make a statement.

The Social Security Benefits (Student Loans) Amendment Regulations were referred to the Social Security Advisory Committee, which consulted a variety of organisations including those representing the interests of deaf people. The committee's report is now being given careful consideration and will be published, together with the Government's formal response, when the draft regulations are laid before Parliament.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will introduce changes to remedy the situation whereby young people undergoing a full-time course of study are not entitled to any benefit in their own right, but whose parents cannot claim for them as dependants when they become 19 years old nor receive child benefit.

In such a situation, as in others where a young person is not in the labour market by reason of undertaking studies, local education authorities have power to provide financial assistance. We do, however, keep the benefit rules under review.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what representations he has received regarding the proposed definition of disability contained in his proposals for the Social Security Benefits (Student Loans) Amendment Regulations; and if he will make a statement.

Representations have been received from a number of individuals and organisations, including the All Party Disablement Group, the Royal National Institute for the Deaf, and the British Dyslexia Association.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to ensure that deaf students and those with dsylexia retain entitlement to social security benefits while pursuing a course of higher education.

We propose that those deaf students and those with dyslexia who meet the criteria for the disability premium will continue to be eligible for income support and housing benefit. This will include any such student in receipt of attendance allowance, mobility allowance, invalidity pension or severe disablement allowance, and those who are also registered blind. Deaf students and those with dyslexia who face additional costs in connection with their course of study will continue to be eligible for the disabled students allowance under the mandatory award arrangements.