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Income Support

Volume 176: debated on Friday 13 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what arrangements have been made for an adjudication officer from his Department to assess whether an income support claimant should receive reduced income support under the hardship rules following a doubt over actively seeking work or availability on the basis of papers received from the employment service.

A hardship claim is automatically considered by an adjudication officer of the Department of Social Security when income support is suspended because of doubts as to whether a claimant is available for and actively seeking work. Such a claim is assessed on the individual's circumstances at the time, taking into account any other income and capital he has and any other relevant factors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether an income support claimant appealing against a decision to suspend, disallow or disqualify on grounds of actively seeking work, refusal of employment or restricted availability, will have his or her case reviewed by his Department's or the Department of Employment's adjudication officers before submission to a social security appeals tribunal.

Any appeal received against an income support decision will lead to the case being re-examined by the income support adjudication officer before a submission is made to the social security appeals tribunal. However, a formal review will only be instigated if new information is provided which gives sufficient grounds for this course of action.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether income support claimants whose benefit has been suspended for two or more weeks as a result of actively seeking work or availability doubts who are in receipt of housing benefits are required to make a fresh claim for housing benefit.

Where benefit is suspended and the local adjudication officer decides that hardship payments of income support are not appropriate, the claimant would be invited to make a fresh claim for housing benefit in order that entitlement can be determined in the light of the new circumstances.